Autodesk Software Core to Realization of James Cameron’s Creative Vision for “Avatar”
From start to finish, software from Autodesk, Inc. , played a pivotal role in helping James Cameron and Lightstorm Entertainment pioneer new methods of virtual moviemaking, for Cameron’s history-making motion picture “Avatar“.
“When James Cameron conceived the idea for Avatar 15 years ago, the technology wasn’t available to make it,” said Nolan Murtha, digital effects supervisor at Lightstorm Entertainment. “Over the past few years, with the help of Autodesk software, we were able to bring his vision to life. On set, we essentially created a live video game of each scene; we could see what the movie was going to look like and make adjustments right away, rather than waiting until post-production. This was in large part due to the powerful real-time interactive capabilities of Autodesk MotionBuilder.
“The filmmakers re-created the live-action shooting experience by using Autodesk MotionBuilder performance capture software on set. Performances by live actors were applied onto digital characters and viewed in real time. The digital characters were seen within virtual environments, which were prebuilt with MotionBuilder and Autodesk Maya visual effects, animation and rendering software. In addition, Autodesk Mudbox digital sculpting software was used for asset creation, and then Maya was again used for final scene creation and finishing.
Autodesk CEO Carl Bass said, “Congratulations to James Cameron, Lightstorm Entertainment and all the visionaries who have made Avatar one of the most successful movies in history. They literally changed the way movies are made by using digital technology in a way that was impossible just a few years ago. We are honored that Autodesk software was used to help deliver a truly immersive experience, advancing virtual moviemaking and taking storytelling to new heights.”
Murtha added, “What we were able to do with the Autodesk software is to make technology an enabler and we were able to do a movie that we could not otherwise do.”