"When George Lucas needed to visualize the movement of the storyboards for the Death Star assault sequence in Star Wars, he used 16mm camera plane footage from World War II to show the effects team the speeds and shot compositions he desired.
This use of animatics, or "moving storyboards," enabled effects artists to only create what Lucas wanted and would edit into the film. With production on each new film, the level of animatic sophistication increased. Everything from animations of crude sketches and improvised video footage to entire sequences created from computer-generated animatics using 3-dimentional modeling programs help Lucas determine which elements work and which scenes end up on the cutting room floor.
The Episode III Animatics Team is lead by the Pre-visualization Effects Supervisor Dan Gregoire. As one of the leaders for the animatics team that worked on Attack of the Clones, his team provided more than 4,000 animatic sequences. Gregoire and his crew of computer artists were responsible for pre-visualizing Episode III in a video-resolution computer-animated form before filming began in Australia.
Even though many members of his team are highly specialized in one area or another, everyone offers a lending hand in tasks that simply need to get done. "At this point everybody's a jack of all trades," Gregoire says. "Everybody's expected to do some modeling, texturing, set-up, and actually animating and composing their own shots."