The Mandalorian - S3

by Narwhal Studios

As long-time contributors to The Mandalorian series, the Narwhal crew is thrilled to see the third installment of this epic adventure come to life. We extend our congratulations to the entire production team for their incredible work.

Our Virtual Art Department team of 22, led by VAD Consultant Safari Sosebee and VAD Supervisor Matan Abel, collaborated closely with Lucasfilm's production designer Andrew Jones and co-producer/virtual production supervisor Clint Spillers to create the stunning sets that fans have come to expect from this vast universe. Our scope of work spanned virtual set design in Unreal Engine to photogrammetry asset capture and processing. We are excited to share our work, done in collaboration with ILM and The Third Floor.

As we reflect on our experience working on this season, we want to share some valuable insights that may help you and your team. Here’s a behind-the-scenes glimpse of our VAD processes discussing the importance of communication, organization, adaptability, embracing new workflows, and cultivating curiosity. Stay tuned for more insights and upcoming visuals that we’ll be sharing soon!!

Catch The Mandalorian, Season 3, streaming now only on Disney+!

We’ve learned a lot by being on this project for all 3 seasons and we’d like to share 5 key takeaways that help us streamline our process:

  • Prioritize communication: Make sure you keep the conversation flowing between all team members, including key creatives, art department, VFX, visualization team and your VAD. Establish clear channels and regular check-ins to collaborate efficiently and keep everyone in the loop. On Lucasfilm projects we used a program called Mattermost, which is a locally hosted Slack alternative accessible through the VPN. This way we could have all forms of imagery and video, both WIP and Final, for everyone to view and comment in a secure way.

  • Value organization: It's not fun, we hear ya! And in the heat of creating environments the last thing on the team’s mind is setting up proper naming conventions and folder structures. However, regular organizing throughout the project will help the team handle the complexity of pulling up previous layouts, passing off renders to other departments, and turning over the sets to the ICVFX vendors. Even with the use of tools to import assets properly or create Levels in the correct folder structure, setting aside an hour a week to keep structures in order goes a long way, especially with how many unique sets or lighting scenarios the team is dealing with, which could be in the hundreds!

  • Stay adaptable: Be prepared to face evolving requirements, technical challenges, and tight deadlines. The VAD Design team is meant to be nimble, to be flexible and proficient in problem-solving. The aim is to have many reviews and keep it simple, so that virtual stage walks, virtual prelights, and virtual location scouts can be as successful as they can be.

  • Embrace new workflows: A process or workflow that was established at the beginning of a project may be obsolete 4 months later. Encourage your team to seek out new software tools and keep up to date with the latest techniques. The aim is always to be faster and more efficient while maintaining or increasing quality, and though new workflows can be a disruption, make sure to take time to review.

  • Cultivate curiosity: In the ever-evolving landscape of virtual art departments and visualization, inspire your team members to engage in continuous learning, professional development, and knowledge-sharing. This positive approach will help foster a culture of growth, nurture leaders in the team, and expand the team’s capabilities. With our VADs we started using the internal title ‘Set Owner’ which essentially means they are responsible for that set and the tasks associated with it.


  • VAD Supervisor - Matan Abel  
  • Lead Network Systems Developer - Joey Wittmann
  • VAD Manager - Alissa Steinert
  • VAD Consultant - Safari Sosebee
  • VAD Lead - Kyle Sarvas  
  • VAD Artist - Brian Bellamy  
  • VAD Artist - Colleen Craige
  • VAD Artist - Dallas Drapeau
  • VAD Artist - David Martinez
  • VAD Artist - Nate Propp
  • VAD Artist - Tyler Reed
  • VAD Artist - Gio Shull  
  • VAD Artist - Erick Villarreal
  • VAD Lighting Lead - Steven Hensley
  • VAD Lighter - Christy Page  
  • Tech Artist - Bryan Mentock
  • Tech Artist - Skye Terran Stevenson
  • Photogrammetry Lead - Fabio Marzo
  • Photogrammetry Artist - Stephen Haddock-Weiler
  • Photogrammetry Artist - Madi Lenhart
  • Photogrammetry Artist - Larry Robey
  • VAD Associate Producer - Leysan Khabibullina

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