top 10 2022

The X-Wing pilots of Wraith Squadron rush into the fray to add support….

After its defeat at Endor, the Empire struggles to maintain control over a fractured galaxy.

Seizing the opportunity, the New Republic launches a desperate assault to liberate the galactic capital.

The X-Wing pilots of Wraith Squadron rush into the fray to add support….

‘Star Wars: X-Wing’ is a passion project that took 3D animator Christopher Parks 4 years to make. Being a big fan of the X-Wing PC games, the Michael Stackpole’s X-Wing book series and having a keen interest in the New Republic adventures, is the reason why Christopher decided to create this project. The primary software and workflow consisted of an animation pipeline in Blender that would be exported and rendered in Houdini using the GPU renderer Redshift. Final compositing was finished in After Effects. Apart from a few kitbash sets, all assets were modeled and textured (Substance Painter) from scratch since the making of the spaceships is part of the fun. We spoke with Christopher who told us a little more on the film.

> Watch more Star Wars Fan Films

Can you tell us what inspired you to bring this story to life?

I wanted to see if it was possible to make a long continuous shot following two or three rebel pilots. It started out with simpler moves where I would strategically shoot plates of physicals actors on green screen. Once I decided to the whole thing cgi than it really became how do I make these camera movements as dynamic as possible. After that was decided, I figured the most dynamic place to have a battle would be during the retaking of Coruscant from Michael Stackpole’s book The Krytos Trap.

Did you have any fears or hesitations in dealing with the massive lore and even bigger fandom of Star Wars?

Not necessarily, I was worried that no one would recognize or remember the scene where the Lusankya rises up from underneath Coruscant but there’s a lot more fans of the old Xwing books than I realized. That was real exciting to see other people geek out over that sequence.

What was the most challenging element in this project?

One of the most challenging things was getting the enormity of the project to even render on my computer rigs. My short doesnt have any cuts which makes it very hard to cheat. Because of that, it means I have many, many production quality assets needing to be rendered in the same scene at the same time. This was very hard to figure out, especially when you throw in a massive destruction scene in the final moments of the short film.

What has this film taught you about filmmaking?

That most elements of a film need incredible detail to work. For instance, I updated my Xwing model several times thinking that it was good enough for the short only to realize that the quality was not holding up in key moments. I would add it is still barely functional. Maybe for youtube it is fine but for a theatre experience I think it would break down instantly.

I think the mentality of that really applies for everything. Every aspect needs the right amount of detail. The ship animation, the camera movement, the sound design… if it’s not hitting the bare minimum acceptable register than it’s not going to work in the story.

Do you have any tips or advice to offer fellow filmmakers?

Previs is a great tool. Plan out your shorts where it doesn’t cost too much to shoot. Previsualizing a scene can help out a lot with making decisions. If you make mistakes in previs it may only cost you hundreds instead of thousands. Besides that, approach problems from every possible point of view you can and do it in rapid succession. It may get you through a complicated sequence. However, always go back later and assess if the scene is too whimsical because it’s common to go too far and lose the tone you were originally were inspired by.

Do you know (without checking) how many space crafts there are on screen in this battle?

In my mind’s eye it must be around hundred high quality ship assets and several thousand lower quality assets for some of the deep background ships.

What are your favorite short films?

Skyforge and Cinematic Captures make some pretty cool stuff.

There’s this YouTuber Joel Haver who makes comedic shorts who is probably a living genius.

What come next for you, what are you working on now?

I’m working on one other Star Wars fan film at the moment that I’ve actually been working on for longer than Xwing. Lets just say that one is also high paced. However, I have many other non franchise related projects of similar scope that I am constantly working on. I’m also producing a sketch comedy series called Aliens and Traffic which will be coming out very soon. That will release episodically on youtube. Imagine Curb Your Enthusiasm but in space.