The Innovative New 3D Tech Behind James Cameron's Avatar

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The Innovative New 3D Tech Behind James Cameron's Avatar

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The Innovative New 3D Tech Behind James Cameron's Avatar
Director James Cameron is known for innovations in movie technology. How does he make the blue aliens in Avatar look real on the big screen?
by Anne Thompson

The 280,000-square-foot studio in Playa Vista, Calif., has a curious history as a launching pad for big, risky ideas. In the 1940s, Howard Hughes used the huge wooden airplane hangar to construct the massive plywood H-4 Hercules seaplane—famously known as the Spruce Goose.

Two years ago, movie director James Cameron was in the Playa Vista studio at a crucial stage in his own big, risky project. He was viewing early footage from Avatar, the sci-fi epic he had been dreaming about since his early 20s. Cameron's studio partner, Twentieth Century Fox, had already committed to a budget of $200 million (the final cost is reportedly closer to $300 million) on what promised to be the most technologically advanced work of cinema ever undertaken. But as Cameron looked into his computer monitor, he knew something had gone terribly wrong.

The film—although "film" seems to be an anachronistic term for such a digitally intense production—takes place on a moon called Pandora, which circles a distant planet. Jake Sully, a former Marine paralyzed from the waist down during battle on Earth, has traveled to this lush, green world teeming with exotic, bioluminescent life to take part in the military's Avatar program. The human settlers are interested in mining Pandora's resources but can't breathe its toxic atmosphere, so to help explore the moon and meet with the native Na'vi who live there, Sully has his consciousness linked with a genetically engineered 9-foot-tall human–alien hybrid.
Read the whole story here: http://www.foxnews.com/scitech/2009/12/ ... ns-avatar/" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;
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