‘Avatar’ changed performance capture, 3D and virtual production

“You are on Pandora.”

Hugo Guerra from Hugo’s Desk and Ian Failes from befores & afters go back to 2009 and the release of James Cameron’s Avatar, which changed the game in movie making in several ways.

This included in stereo, virtual production and performance capture. Wētā FX made leaps and bounds in CG characters and rendering, and several other VFX studios contributed to this groundbreaking film.

Read Ian’s Masters of FX for several interviews with supervisors who worked on Avatar, plus a foreword from James Cameron himself.

A big thanks to our sponsors:

Buy Me A Coffee

The Black Friday sale from ActionVFX is now live! Get up to 55% off high-quality assets, and double the monthly credits on Annual Subscription Plans. Plus, check out all the new additions to the most extensive VFX library in the world. Hurry over to ActionVFX.com before the sale ends.

ftrack is an Academy Award-winning project management, production tracking, and media review platform for the creative industry. Please visit ftrack’s website to know more.

If you like our podcast consider supporting the show on Patreon and get the show 3 days before everyone else. You can support us here:



00:00:00 – start
00:00:13 – sponsors
00:01:26 – the Podcast begnis
00:02:35 – a short review of Avatar
00:06:40 – the genius of James Cameron
00:09:25 – the realism and engineering approach
00:10:36 – ecological message and Cameron in Brazil
00:12:24 – Master of FX Book from Ian Failes
00:14:21 – Tech Noir book
00:16:37 – our reaction at the time in 2009
00:19:40 – the rise and fall of 3D stereo films
00:20:17 – Cameron’s Pace Fusion rig
00:25:10 – performance capture volume
00:28:48 – the creative approch
00:43:45 – Weta Digital’s work
00:47:31 – Weta’s Pipelines
00:51:13 – lack of VFX coverage on the DVD
00:54:01 – Mari and the Render engine
01:00:05 – Water in Avatar
01:05:12 – other VFX partners
01:06:49 – wrap up
01:08:05 – Patreon and YouTube credits
01:08:15 – bloopers

Need After Effects and other VFX plugins? Find them at Toolfarm.

Leave a Reply