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26 Images of STAR WARS Matte Paintings With Their Creators

Harrison Ellenshaw painting Slave-1 for The Empire Strikes BackSource: Lucasfilm
The special effects in the original Star Wars trilogy broke new ground, and ushered in a new age of movie making. The model makers got a lot of publicity for their work on spaceships and sets, but another group of unseen heroes were the matte painters. You may be surprised how many of the most dazzling scenes were made, not by miniatures, actors, and construction crews, but with panes of glass, paint, and hard work. Here are some of the matte paintings used in The Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi with some of their creators.

What did you think? Did you recognize all these paintings?

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  1. Stunning! I worry that matte painting will become a lost art.

  2. it could get boring painting all those stormtroopers.

  3. These are so cool. I didn't know this was done for the backgrounds.


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