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CGI Yoda

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I’ve always been curious why in the prequels (excluding the theatrical cut of TPM) Yoda’s CGI model looks so completely different from his puppet. The best I could come up with is that they wanted to make him look younger but ended up making him look like a different alien instead. If this was their idea it would have instead made sense if Yoda looked more and more similar to ESB Yoda with each prequel

Of course that said, the design isn’t necessarily bad, it’s just very different! Does anyone have an explanation of why they decided to go with this design?

As an added point, it would be awesome to see a CGI version of puppet Yoda replace the original CGI in the prequels in a fan edit or something. Obviously that’s a huge undertaking that doesn’t really have any real incentives, but it’s a cool thought to me! If I had the skill I’d love to put together a scene or 2 just to demonstrate what we could have had.

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It’s my understanding that for the original TPM puppet (Creepy Puppet Yoda) they were trying to go for a younger look. When that didn’t play well for audiences they instead tried to return to the look of the ESB puppet in digital form. They tried their best (in 2002 CGI terms) but it still wasn’t nearly right.

So as far as I have been able to tell, the CGI was really their best attempt at replicating the ESB puppet.

What a grand and intoxicating innocence. How could you be so naive? There is no escape. Come, lay down your weapons. It is not too late for my mercy.
Episode 9 Rewrite THE SHATTERED SWORD (Complete!)
The Force Awakens Restructured (V3 Released!) and The Starlight Project (WORKPRINT RELEASED!)

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I love that creepy TPM Yoda! So trippy, he is.

“It is only through interaction, through decision and choice, through confrontation, physical or mental, that the Force can grow within you.”
-Kreia, Jedi Master and Sith Lord

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I also suspect it was just ease of convenience. Which of course, it is. Just look at the BTS of Empire. Most of the Dagobah set was Frank Oz walking beneath the platforms, obscured with the fog. Plus, it was difficult for Hamil to hear what Oz was saying from below and had to rely on, if I remember correctly, screens to show Oz speaking and then Hamil would know when to say his lines.
Now you’ve gotta use more Yoda, under the vision of Lucas, in the PT. He wants flippy Yoda? Gotta ditch the strings.

The Rise of Failures

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NeverarGreat said:

It’s my understanding that for the original TPM puppet (Creepy Puppet Yoda) they were trying to go for a younger look. When that didn’t play well for audiences they instead tried to return to the look of the ESB puppet in digital form. They tried their best (in 2002 CGI terms) but it still wasn’t nearly right.

So as far as I have been able to tell, the CGI was really their best attempt at replicating the ESB puppet.

That’s a fair point, CGI was still being pushed to its limits at the time so you are probably right. I would have thought Lucas would have wanted to go back and update it, but perhaps he grew to prefer the updated design? This is all conjecture of course

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TavorX said:

I also suspect it was just ease of convenience. Which of course, it is. Just look at the BTS of Empire. Most of the Dagobah set was Frank Oz walking beneath the platforms, obscured with the fog. Plus, it was difficult for Hamil to hear what Oz was saying from below and had to rely on, if I remember correctly, screens to show Oz speaking and then Hamil would know when to say his lines.
Now you’ve gotta use more Yoda, under the vision of Lucas, in the PT. He wants flippy Yoda? Gotta ditch the strings.

Definitely, CGI was the way to go for the things Lucas wanted to do, it just struck me as odd with how different the character looks from its puppet design

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 (Edited)

Keanine said:

NeverarGreat said:

It’s my understanding that for the original TPM puppet (Creepy Puppet Yoda) they were trying to go for a younger look. When that didn’t play well for audiences they instead tried to return to the look of the ESB puppet in digital form. They tried their best (in 2002 CGI terms) but it still wasn’t nearly right.

So as far as I have been able to tell, the CGI was really their best attempt at replicating the ESB puppet.

That’s a fair point, CGI was still being pushed to its limits at the time so you are probably right. I would have thought Lucas would have wanted to go back and update it, but perhaps he grew to prefer the updated design? This is all conjecture of course

This documentary actually delves into the creation of the CGI Yoda in great detail:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rh-5UhwcBW0

In the first few minutes they talk about how the ESB puppet was their reference.

JEDIT: If they used a CGI Yoda on TLJ, I wonder if they would have modeled him speficially as a puppet with a puppeteer hand inside manipulating the digital apparatus, and had this digital hand motion captured for authenticity. Sort of a recursive way of recreating the original feel.

What a grand and intoxicating innocence. How could you be so naive? There is no escape. Come, lay down your weapons. It is not too late for my mercy.
Episode 9 Rewrite THE SHATTERED SWORD (Complete!)
The Force Awakens Restructured (V3 Released!) and The Starlight Project (WORKPRINT RELEASED!)