From the moment the end credits rolled on the movie Rogue One, I knew that it would be one of my favorite movies of all time. I was captivated by the compelling characters and the themes of destiny and personal growth. The Star Wars trilogies follow the classic hero's journey; because of that, good and evil are very clearly defined in the original trilogy. What I love about Rogue One is the layers of depth the characters have. No character is purely good or evil, and they act on their own motivations, yet at the end of the day, they all rely on hope. 
From a visual standpoint too, Rogue One is a masterpiece. The sets are well designed, and each setting feels unique, like the protagonists truly are exploring the farthest reaches of what space has to offer. Because of the wide variety of scenes in the movie, I had a tough time narrowing them down to three that I liked in particular. I decided to stick with the theme of "technology mixed with nature" which can clearly be seen with the Star Destroyer hovering over Jedha city, or the X-Wings racing to the surface of Scarrif. Even the Death Star itself follows this theme, giving off the visual impression of a "moon made entirely of metal." 
For my renderings and recreations of these scenes, I plan on using a low-poly look to recreate the feelings evoked in each scene. I plan to spend the majority of my time working on creating detailed low-poly ships that stand out from the simple backgrounds. With the X-Wing scene, having these simplistic ships zooming towards the planet surface at a steep angle should create a sense of motion with the scene. The Death Star and the Star Destroyer are more static objects, but the motion will be created with the minuscule objects flying around them that also give a reference for scale.
Completion of the Death Star - Scene 1
I chose to use the Death Star as my starting scene due to the nature of how I was going to set my scenes up. I chose not to use three different cameras for each scene because I had designed these scenes to be visual "cinematic experiences." Instead, I opted to use one singular camera with dynamic fly throughs and other moving objects to create a more visually interesting render.   I knew that I wanted to rescale different copies of the Imperial Star Destroyers to give the illusion of depth in my 2D scene. Because of the scaling though, moving the camera around to other angles would distort the perspective, so I  kept one continuous camera angle for this scene. 
The Star Destroyers were shared with my Jedha scene, so I chose to model the ships in that scene before importing them into this one. The Death Star itself  was relatively easy to model, but the hardest part was determining what details to include on such a massive object. I ended up recreating the paneling in a more simplified way, but I think it fits in well with the iso-sphere surface. I was able to create the panels by making a larger outer sphere and using the 'Boolean' modifier to cut out a rectangular gutter, rotating the sphere with the gutter fixed in place to cut out different sized panels within the outer shell.  Although this scene may be simple in nature, the awe should come from the sheer scale of the metal moon. The added motion as the ships fly around helps finish this ominous scene, as the Empire's most-deadly weapon is finally completed. 
The Empire Over Jedha City - Scene 2
When I first saw the Imperial Star Destroyer hovering over Jedha city in theaters, I was in awe. It was breathtaking seeing such a large ship up close, being able to get an understanding of its true size when compared to an entire city. The shot is so packed with details in the movie that I chose to narrow the scene down to four key elements: the Star Destroyer, Jedha city, the Tie Fighters, and the surrounding terrain. Each of these elements was created with a different level of low-poly "resolution" depending on how much focus I wanted to be on that element. For example, the Tie Fighters are very simple models even though they appear in almost every frame. This is because the Tie Fighters are merely sub-attraction to the main focus, the ship as it departs from the city. 
When creating each of my models, my main goal was to create each shape using as little individual objects as possible. For example, the Star Destroyer is mainly one singular cube altered in "Edit" mode, which I turned into a pyramid before stretching into into that familiar pizza slice shape. When creating Jedha city, I did not think it was important to focus on perfectly recreating the layout of the city. Instead, I chose to create four sub-models of various collections of houses and buildings. I then randomly populated the empty city with those four models to be efficient while still maintaining an organically developed look.
X-Wings Diving Toward the Shield Generator - Scene 3
For my final scene, the main goal was to focus on the individual motion of the smaller ships. Previously, the Imperial Star Destroyers and the Tie Fighters were animated with linear and quadratic movements, almost as if they were following a track. With the X-Wings, I really wanted to make them feel like they were swooping into the action, and I wanted the camera to be flying with the ships to further that feeling. The camera starts by facing towards the sky, but ends facing the surface of the planet below. In order to create this smooth transition without other shots/cuts, I had the camera follow this steep arc after the second X-Wing, almost as if the camera were dive bombing with the fighters too.
The surface below is covered by a planet-wide shield, and the only access point is the hole through the shield generator. Because of the importance of this plot point to the scene, I wanted to draw attention to that hole in particular, making it clear that that reaching it is the goal of these fighters. To create that emphasis, I colored a plane a light transparent blue color and offset it from the ground below, so the part of the ground that is visible through the hole changes with the scene, drawing more attention to it. In order to get the transparent color to properly render, I had to edit some nodes in  the "Shading" tab. This was a similar process to how I created the backgrounds in all my scenes. They are simply background images behind the camera, but to get them to render I had to change some of the nodes in the "Compositing" tab as well.
Rogue One - Completed Scene Renders
I decided to use Blender's built in video editing software to stitch my individual renders together. This was my first time using Blender's video sequencer, and it took some learning to figure out, but because the Blender interface was already so familiar, it would've been more difficult to teach myself an entirely new program. I included a couple royalty free sound effects in each of the scenes. They only last a few seconds but having Star Wars sounds with Star Wars ships goes lengths to help complete the scenes. 
To further give the scenes depth, I chose a low, slightly sad orchestra as my background music. Since Rogue One is a movie mainly about death and the tyranny of the empire, I thought it was fitting. The choir at the end adds an element of brightness and hope to the somber music, which is a perfect ending, considering how the original movie also ended with... hope.
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