Avatar is a 2009 science fiction film by James Cameron. Putting aside the terrific story, plot, and concept, the movie is a visual treat. It is a next generation film using the most innovative forms of technology. The movie was delayed since 1990 as Cameron was waiting for the techniques to advance so that he could use the best ones to portray his vision. Thus, in 2009 Cameron released his masterpiece using technologies that were never seen before. He used the photorealistic computer-generated characters which were created with the motion-capture animation technique.
Other innovations included the advanced structure of lighting for areas as huge as Pandora’s jungle. There was also a motion-capture stage used which was about six times bigger than any other previously used volume. There was also a technology used which captured facial expressions in an improved way that enabled full performance capture. This technology involved face capturing of the actors who wore skull caps which were made for them according to their facial structure. These skull caps were fitted along with a small camera positioned in the front of the actor’s faces. These skull caps captured information about the facial expressions of the actors and were transmitted to the computers.
Through this technique, the filmmakers were able to capture and transfer all the actor’s expressions and performances to their digital devices. This enabled the filmmakers to use the actual physical performance and expressions of the actors making the film extremely attractive and essential for the visual effects. Besides this technique, there were several reference cameras which gave multiple angles to the digital artists for each of their performance (Bimber 15). The film was not only made using new and innovative technologies, but it was also released in 3D which was a whole different experience for the viewers.
Another example of the ways digital effects have entered our mass media