Rey’s instant bread from The Force Awakens was a practical effect, but how did the special effects team do it?
Yesterday, we reported Rey’s instant bread was not a CGI effect. What we didn’t know then was exactly how the special effects team at Lucasfilm made it happen practically.
Recently, Peter Sciretta of /Film interviewed special effects supervisor Chris Corbould and creature and droid effects creative supervisor Neal Scanlin, and asked them what effects in The Force Awakens people assumed were CG but are in fact real. Corbould proceeded to tell him about the bread and how they managed to pull it off.
"We had a little bowl of liquid. At the bottom of that bowl you had a bread molded inflatable bladder. And as we inflated that, we sucked all the liquid out. So that as that was coming up, the liquid was disappearing by using a vacuum dump. A very simple procedure, but quite effective."
A simple procedure, which Corbould told MTV took three months to perfect.
"I mean, what took a lot longer time was actually finalizing the design of what the bread looked like. Whether she’d have cracks in it, what color should it be. That took a lot longer than the actual mechanics of it."
So, it’s less of an eatable bread and more of a prop. That’s a bit disappointing, but it’s still a clever bit of engineering and may turn into something more consumable in the future.
In the same interview, Neal Scanlan talked about how Maz Kanata started out as a puppet. As her role expanded over time, however, it became apparent she needed the freedom only CGI could provide.
"And at that time, we decided that to give the freedom to allow her to be developed in J.J.’s mind and also developed within the film, if we went to CG it would be a fabulous, that would be the by far the smartest move. Also as well, generally speaking, animatronic puppets and other things obviously don’t have the freedom a CG character has. And Maz was one character that needed a lot of freedom to be able to move around her own world. And for that reason, CG was chosen."
Scanlan also noted that, by contrast, the Luggabeast, the Happabore, and the red droid walking away from Maz’s castle as Han Solo, Rey, and Finn are walking towards it were completely practical effects. I figured the Luggabeast and the Happabore were, but the red droid is a bit of a surprise to me, as it looks CG in my memory. Never doubt the team at Lucasfilm!