“The Phil Tippett Legacy” will include numerous pieces from Mr. Tippett’s illustrious 40-year career. To appreciate where we’re headed with Phil, let’s take a look at where he’s been.
In 1975, Phil was hired by George Lucas to create a stop-motion scene for Star Wars® that would change the course of film history. The miniature chess scene set a benchmark for every VFX-laden blockbuster that followed, for decades.
By 1978, Phil led the animation team for Industrial Light & Magic, where he breathed life into the sinister Imperial Walkers and Tauntauns for The Empire Strikes Back®.
Building upon insights from Empire, the same ILM Team developed a stop-motion process, referred to as “Go Motion”. This produced a startlingly realistic creature for Dragonslayer® (1981), which also earned Phil an Academy Award® nomination.
Phil resumed his duties with Lucas in 1983, as head of the ILM creature shop, where he began work on Return of the Jedi®. In addition to designing Jabba the Hutt, Phil presided over the design of numerous creatures that populated Jabba’s palace, including the Rancor Pit Monster. “Go Motion” was also used for animating the AT-ST two-legged walkers.
In 1984, Phil formed his own Tippett Studio. His first project was the ten-minute animated short, Prehistoric Beast®. Phil operated out of his garage, drawing on his wealth of experience with stop motion, anatomical modeling, and rigging. The realism of the dinosaurs led to his work on the 1985 documentary, Dinosaur®. That project won Phil his second Emmy®.
In 1985, Jon Davison approached Phil with RoboCop™. Phil’s studio designed and animated key sequences with a miniature ED-209, the gigantic lumbering robot that goes berserk in the office tower.
In 1991, thanks to expertise in dinosaur movement and behavior, Steven Spielberg selected Phil to supervise dinosaur animation for Jurassic Park®, a project that later earned Phil his second Oscar®. Phil’s work on Jurassic Park® signaled Tippett Studio’s transition from stop-motion to computer-generated work.
Facilitating the transition from stop-motion to CG, members of Tippett’s team created the “Dinosaur Input Device” , invented so that traditional stop-motion puppeteers could animate the film’s dinosaurs without learning the arcana of computer animation software. The “D.I.D.” was awarded a Technical Achievement Award from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.
Tippett Studio solidified its digital studio work through the ’90′s, with such blockbusters as Starship Troopers®. Phil is currently working as Dinosaur Supervisor on Jurassic World® for Universal Pictures and Amblin Entertainment.
Our partnership with Phil is the beginning of a new chapter. We’re making every conceivable effort at Chronicle to create something special. We are a company of collectors and prop makers.
We plan to bring our customers on this adventure, along with us. As we go further into our Legacy series, we’ll be sharing updates and insights with you, so you can truly appreciate all that goes into making these pieces possible.