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Droidmaker: George Lucas And the Digital Revolution Hardcover – October 24, 2005

ISBN-13: 978-0937404676 ISBN-10: 0937404675 Edition: 1st

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Droidmaker: George Lucas And the Digital Revolution + George Lucas: Interviews (Conversations with Filmmakers) + Skywalking: The Life And Films Of George Lucas, Updated Edition
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 518 pages
  • Publisher: Triad Pub Co; 1 edition (October 24, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0937404675
  • ISBN-13: 978-0937404676
  • Product Dimensions: 9.3 x 7.2 x 1.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (35 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,075,085 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews


"...what the evolution of technology means for our culture, and the human story of how we got here." -- Steve Silberman, Contributing Editor, WIRED magazine

"Brilliant... a detailed glimpse under the hood of Lucas’ digital skunkworks." -- Thomas Dolby, Musican & Technology Entrepreneur

"The ultimate insider guide to the making of cinema’s greatest saga…" -- Dan Dubno, Producer, CBS News

"This is a compelling introduction to a revolution in visual communication and story telling." -- Andries van Dam, Chairman, Brown University Computer Science Dept.

"Wow. I love Rubin’s ability to interweave a story about business, technology and movies—three of my favorite things!" -- Reed Hastings, CEO & Founder, NETFLIX

From the Publisher

This book ventures in territory never explored, as Rubin-a former member of the Lucasfilm Computer Division-reconstructs the events in Hollywood, in Silicon Valley, and at Lucas' private realm in Marin County, California, to track the genesis of modern media. With unprecedented access to images and key participants from Lucasfilm, Pixar and Zoetrope-from George Lucas and the executives who ran his company, to the small team of scientists who made the technological leaps, Rubin weaves a tale of friendships, a love of movies, and the incessant forward movement of technology. This is a compelling story that takes the reader into an era of technological innovation almost completely unknown.

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Customer Reviews

4.7 out of 5 stars
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See all 35 customer reviews
In fact, reading this book felt much like taking a college class.
Lou Tambone
If you have a passing interest in modern movie making, the history of Pixar, or are a fan of Star Wars/George Lucas, you really have to read Droidmaker.
Brian Brown
I'm just going to recommend this book to anyone interested in learning about how digital animation and the use of computers in film came about.
Celeste Thoms

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

144 of 145 people found the following review helpful By Alvy Ray Smith on November 14, 2005
Format: Hardcover
I am the Co-founder of Pixar, with Ed Catmull. After years of reading mangled "histories" of Lucasfilm/Pixar, I am extremely pleased to read one by a guy who gets it right, including the arts, the technologies, the businesses, and the personalities. Michael Rubin not only gets the gist correctly imparted, but also those pesky details. I watched Michael as he carefully reconstructed our history, never quite believing all the stories we fed him, checking and double-checking the stories of the participants against one another and against the written record. Often he caught us (me anyway) having unconsciously edited out boring bits of the truth, and he put those bits back in. His book has allowed me to celebrate again a wonderful time of my life and, surprisingly, to teach me new things. For example, I came away from my first read of his book better appreciating exactly what George Lucas and Steve Jobs (and Francis Coppola) contributed to our part of the digital revolution, it not being in either case what is often claimed for them.
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37 of 37 people found the following review helpful By Ben Burtt on March 9, 2006
Format: Hardcover
I was there to witness a great deal of the story. The book captures in great detail a story, a time, and place that was of great significance to me. (Now I don't have to try and remember it all!) Rubin's narrative rounded out parts of the saga I knew nothing about. It is really a strange feeling of destiny as I look back over the passion and inventiveness of those years and connect it all to the tools I use daily in my moviemaking today. The book is a unique historic document of a unique subject.
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21 of 22 people found the following review helpful By Lou Tambone on March 11, 2006
Format: Hardcover
There are countless books out there about George Lucas and his rise from film school know-it-all to cultural icon and even more books about how Lucasfilm came to be and how it changed the world of filmmaking. I've read a good number of these books and then essentially stopped reading them because they seemed to paint the same picture with a different brush. All the main points were there and while some of the small details were different, something was always missing from these books. I could never quite figure out what it was, but they left me with more questions than answers more times than not.

I think it might have been the fact that they focused so much on Lucas himself and that all the bit players who made things happen never got their due. The importance of the smaller guys in the company cannot be understated. Without each and every Lucasfilm employee, especially in the beginning, they would not be where they are today.

DROIDMAKER by Michael Rubin fills the void present in those Lucasfilm biographies by letting us know that Lucas wasn't the only brain in the company. He was more like the Wizard of Oz himself - the idea man who made films and started a business while hoping others would bring the technology forward enough to meet his vision, which was way ahead of its time.

Most of the other "Lucasographies" I came across, while interesting, were flat at best. I wouldn't call them books that I read with enthusiasm and excitement. They were what they were and according to Lucasfilm and other sources, including Rubin, they're not all entirely factual.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Michael Scroggins on December 17, 2005
Format: Hardcover
Michael Rubin has done an excellent job of tracing the interdependent weave of threads that make up the history of digital cinema. He teases apart the fabric of this history in a way that brings us directly into the living world of the personalities responsible for inventing and developing the concepts and techniques many of us now take for granted.

In teaching my courses at CalArts and USC, I have always tried to impress upon the students that the tools we are learning are the result of prolonged intellectual struggle and flashes of inspiration. I believe that some knowledge of the driving forces behind the creation of the tools forms an integrated understanding that yields a more sustainable recollection. I was familiar with some of the stories of pivotal moments told in "Droidmaker" (such as Ed Catmull and Alvy Ray Smith's initial conception of the alpha channel) and I have used them for years in my teaching, however many other stories were unknown to me and the retelling of them will now enrich my lectures.

In addition to serving as a great academic resource for me, "Droidmaker" was a fascinating and compelling read. I found it difficult to put down in order to attend to my routine responsibilities. So many friends and family have become interested in the book while visiting that I have purchased copies as gifts so that I may hang onto my treasured copy --this book invites repeated rereading and I do not want to be without it!
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Midwest Book Review on December 9, 2005
Format: Hardcover
Droid Maker: George Lucas And The Digital Revolution by writer, educator, entrepreneur Michael Rubin (who joined "The Droid Works" at Lucasfilm in 1985 to introduce new sound and film editing technologies to the filmmakers) offers readers the inside story of George Lucas, his intensely private company, and their revolutionary work in filmmaking. Here is the story of how Lucasfilm's Computer Division make film and computer history, as well as Lucas' uneasy role in combining business, filmmaking, and technology. Providing an informed and informative, candid and revealing portrait that cuts through the mythology of George Lucas, here is the chronicled history of his vision made possible by the Star Wars films. Given unprecedented access to company records, personnel files, and photographs, Droid Maker is a definitive biography that is "must reader" for the legions of Lucas fans, as well as a privileged and seminal contribution to cinematic and filmmaking history.
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