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Rogue One’s visual effects studio shows how it blows up planets

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Destroying a planet is easy if you’ve got a Death Star (and even easier with Starkiller Base), but here on Earth we have a slightly tougher time. In our case, it’s up to the visual effects team at Industrial Light and Magic to destroy entire worlds, building cities and mountains up inside their computers, before knocking them down with humongous lasers.

ILM’s latest video shows how it did exactly this for Scarif and Jedha, two of the planets featured in last December’s Rogue One. The famed visual effects studio’s techniques are shown in layers, starting with a mesh that builds the basic shape of a CGI scene, before structures, textures, and effects like water are added on top. From there, ILM unleashes hell, adding explosions, clouds of roiling gas, and chunks of debris as they blow their creation to smithereens using Star Wars’ best-known superweapon.