Animators, listen up: You can now use Star Wars 3D models for free

9 May 2016

If you’re an animator, and Star Wars: The Force Awakens had you giddy for green screen wizardry, then you might want to make use of 3D models from the film being made free to use.

It’s certainly a case of ‘the force awakens’ for Star Wars, with last December’s film smashing records and the next few years set to be chock-a-block full of sequels, prequels and spinoffs, with the demand for all things BB-8 and R2D2 remaining strong.

But, behind every adorable robot character in the franchise is an animation software provider that slaved over each and every bump and crevice on them, which, in this case, is Video Copilot.

To mark the recent Star Wars celebration of 4 May (May the fourth be with you), which saw even US President Barack Obama get involved with some cringey dance moves, the studio has announced that, as of now, a number of its 3D models are free to download from its site.

BB-8 and co

Explaining that its goal is to give tips to animators for lighting and rigging, models, including BB-8, the lightsaber, Tie Fighter and X-Wing, are available in 4K quality and can be put into any scene to play around with.

You can also get a plug-in to let you mess around with lightsaber swipes and laser blasts, but you might need to do your own distinctive sound effects.

There are some caveats, however, as, while the models are free, their resolution and quality mean that they won’t work on your run-of-the-mill program, but specifically the studio’s own Element 3D V2, which will set you back $200.

Here are some rather pretty examples Video Copilot has provided of what these models look like when finished.




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Colm Gorey was a senior journalist with Silicon Republic