Some of my Favorite Movies:
Cameron pioneered a specially designed camera built into a 6-inch boom that allowed the facial expressions of the actors to be captured and digitally recorded for the animators to use later.
A number of revolutionary visual effects techniques were used in the production of Avatar. According to Cameron, work on the film had been delayed since the 1990s to allow the techniques to reach the necessary degree of advancement to adequately portray his vision of the film.The director planned to make use of photorealistic computer-generated characters, created using new motion-capture animation technologies he had been developing in the 14 months leading up to December 2006.
Innovations include a new system for lighting massive areas like Pandora’s jungle,a motion-capture stage or “volume” six times larger than any previously used, and an improved method of capturing facial expressions, enabling full performance capture. To achieve the face capturing, actors wore individually made skull caps fitted with a tiny camera positioned in front of the actors’ faces; the information collected about their facial expressions and eyes is then transmitted to computers.According to Cameron, the method allows the filmmakers to transfer 100% of the actors’ physical performances to their digital counterparts.Besides the performance capture data which were transferred directly to the computers, numerous reference cameras gave the digital artists multiple angles of each performance.A technically challenging scene was near the end of the film when the computer-generated Neytiri held the live action Jake in human form, and attention was given to the details of the shadows and reflected light between them.
The lead visual effects company was Weta Digital in Wellington, New Zealand, at one point employing 900 people to work on the film.Because of the huge amount of data which needed to be stored, cataloged and available for everybody involved, even on the other side of the world, a new cloud computing and Digital Asset Management (DAM) system named Gaia was created by Microsoft especially for Avatar, which allowed the crews to keep track of and coordinate all stages in the digital processing.To render Avatar, Weta invented a new system called Mari, and used a 10,000 sq ft (930 m2) server farm making use of 4,000 Hewlett-Packard servers with 35,000 processor cores running Ubuntu Linux and the Grid Engine cluster manager.The render farm occupies the 193rd to 197th spots in the TOP500 list of the world’s most powerful supercomputers. Creating the Na’vi characters and the virtual world of Pandora required over a petabyte of digital storage,and each minute of the final footage for Avatar occupies 17.28 gigabytes of storage.To help finish preparing the special effects sequences on time, a number of other companies were brought on board, including Industrial Light & Magic, which worked alongside Weta Digital to create the battle sequences. ILM was responsible for the visual effects for many of the film’s specialized vehicles and devised a new way to make CGI explosions.Joe Letteri was the film’s visual effects general supervisor.