“Making “Avatar”” by Letteri, Rosenbaum and Baneham

  • ©Joe Letteri, Stephen Rosenbaum, and Richard Baneham




    Making "Avatar"


Project Affiliation:

    Weta Digital Ltd.


    “Avatar” is the first predominately digitally created film, shot and directed as a live-action film. The director’s vision required photo-realistic, believable digital characters and environments that fit seamlessly with live action. To accomplish this, Weta Digital, led by Joe Letteri, developed innovations that enabled the director and actors to work as if they were in a conventional live-action movie, even when filming sequences that were entirely computer-generated.
    For the audience to connect with the blue-skinned, 10-foot-tall ‘Na’vi’, they had to see the actor’s soul shine through the character’s eyes. This required increased realism, especially in facial animation. The emotional performances of the characters in “Avatar” are significant achievements because the digital characters are portrayed at a new level of believability that enhances storytelling.

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