The insider guide to the art and tech of ‘Avatar: The Way of Water’

A new VFX Notes breaks down the big ticket VFX items in the film.

With Avatar: The Way of Water, James Cameron and his collaborating filmmakers stunned audiences with easily the best performance captured digital acting we’ve ever seen, the best CG water and probably the best compositing crafted for a movie.

Wētā FX wrote new tools, especially relating to facial animation and water simulation, that have changed the game in VFX. In this VFX Notes episode, Hugo Guerra and Ian Failes break down the big ticket VFX items in the new James Cameron film, including stunning work by Lightstorm Entertainment, The Third Floor and ILM.

This podcast is sponsored by:

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00:00:00 – intro
00:00:40 – sponsors
00:01:49 – podcast starts
00:04:04 – How big is this film?
00:05:47 – first reactions to this film
00:10:35 – please watch this film on the biggest screen possible!
00:14:14 – a few negatives
00:19:46 – ecological message
00:22:46 – that High Frame Rate version!
00:28:14 – never underestimate James Cameron
00:33:00 – the shoot and physical production
00:36:20 – wave pool
00:40:05 – stuffies on the set
00:41:40 – eye line system
00:47:23 – realtime depth compositing onset
00:55:38 – Spider is the most impressive VFX of the film
00:58:53 – weta’s goal: physically plausible
01:02:14 – new facial animation system
01:07:13 – Sigourney Weaver
01:11:24 – amazing performances all around
01:12:47 – the water pipeline
01:24:41 – DEEP data and compositing
01:29:30 – give them the Oscar now!
01:32:20 – that apocalyptic intro
01:36:09 – the sea dragon build
01:40:17 – the Oscars bake off
01:43:51 – the strap shot (real hands)
01:52:39 – Patreon and members credits

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