Thursday, August 20, 2009

James Cameron's "Avatar" Teaser

Please read the new FXRant post, "'Avatar' and ILM" to learn more about ILM's work on the film.

Looking back at the last few posts, it seems like I nearly leapfrogged over an entire production on which I worked. It's almost as if "Transformers 2" didn't even happen, as if it is being erased from our collective consciousness. Huh. Imagine that.

Anywhoo, the highly anticipated teaser for James Cameron's "Avatar" is now available online. And the image above was chosen by the Randomizer 2009™ software, featuring ArbitraryBoost 3.0.

View the teaser here.


Matthew Scheuerman said...

so did ArbitraryBoost 3.0 select a shot you worked on?

Andrew Sibulsky said...

I was wondering that as well. Hum...

Either way, I'm going to try my best to catch this flick in IMAX 3D.

Anonymous said...

Hmm, not what I was expecting. The characters are not as photoreal as we were led to belive. Still looking forward to it though.

ILM are working on the end battle, I don't think this is a secret is it? Wonder if they are doing most of it or just a few shots. John Knoll is supervising.

TylerMirage said...

I agree with Anonymous. The visual effects look stylish and well-done (like a combination of "Star Wars" and "LotR"), in my opinion, but, I was expecting them to be more photo-real.

I didn't know that ILM was working on Avatar! (Even if it is ONLY the final battle). Now, don't take this in an accusatory tone, but, what proof do you have? If I recall, according to IMDB, Weta, Framestore, Buf and Hy*drau"lx are also working on it.

In any case, I think that the Academy Award for Visual Effects will be a difficult toss-up between "Star Trek", "Transformers: RotF" and "Avatar". I'd personally like to see "Transformers: RotF" win it after the travisty that was "The Golden Compass" stole it from the first film.(I'm bitter about that). But, it's not a big deal if ILM loses to "Avatar". That's a film that I can respect.

Anonymous said...

Proof is Gretchen Libby talking about it on an online video.

They're working on the end battle. They came in late in the schedule.

TylerMirage said...

Ooh! So it IS true! :D Thanks for letting me know, Anonymous@2:11pm!

It'll be nice to see ILM's name in the credits and to have it be associated with a work like this.

So what do you guys think? Will "Avatar" take the Oscar, only be nominated, or will it even get THAT far?

Anonymous said...

Who's that anonymous pretending to be me anonymous? I really should not be so lazy as to not type my name in.

I saw the Libby video, but ILM are also listed on the Cinefex site with the John Knoll info. What passes as late in the schedule these days? I get the impression ILM have been booked for Avatar for a while now.

I feel ILM may dip out on oscar recognition this year. My feeling is Avatar. 2012 and Watchmen. Would love Trek to get a nod though, loved that film and it's fx. Feel Transformers is not well liked enough to get any love.

Sorry to Todd and crew that TF2 isn't a project they care to remember. If you ever do feel like talking about it though would love some vfx info.

Anonymous said...

Hey Anonymous, I'm the other anonymous, not your anonymous.

If you watch the Libby vid(just do a Google search) she says they came in relatively late in the schedule to help get the film finished.

TylerMirage said...

I don't know...I'm not feelin' the "Watchmen" love for the VFX Oscar. I'm guessing that "2012" will make it to the 'Final 7', but not any further.

I hope "Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen" doesn't get overlooked due to the negative reviews. That's just wrong if they say " was such a bad movie, let's not even consider it!" In the category of "Best Visual Effects", shouldn't the negative reviews mean squat? What matters are the VFX!!!

If it doesn't get nominated, Michael Bay is giong start a riot! "HEY! I blew up a computer animating Devastator! That should count for something!!" But seriously, from what I've heard about the complexity of the visual effects for "Transformers 2", I think that a nomination is what it should receive at a minimum.

(Also, it seems that on every odd year [2001, 2003, 2005, 2007, etc.) ILM gets 2/3 nominations at the Oscar. This includes 2006 too. Now, let's see if 2009 follows this trend.)

Todd Vaziri said...

Anonymous wrote;  Sorry to Todd and crew that TF2 isn't a project they care to remember. 

I didn't want to write anything other than what I've already written, but here goes:  I speak only for myself, never for any company or production. Transformers 2 was an extraordinary visual effects achievement for all those involved.  The reason the film earned a bajilliom dollars at the box office is because of the action and our characters. 

And that's all I'm going to say about that. 

- Todd

Anonymous said...

Now I'm confused!! Which anonymous am I ?

What I meant by the late in schedule comment was how long a time is late? 3 months? 5 months? I only ask because this period of the working year for ILM seems to have been free from other projects since last year, suggesting that Avatar had been on the books for a while. Not that it's important really, Im just a nerd for this stuff.

I agree with you Tyler, TF2 should be judged on the work alone, but it doesn't seem to go like that. Also agree with you Todd, and happy to leave it to rest now.

TylerMirage said...

Todd's explanation of "Revenge of the Fallen"'s success: Exactly. And you know what, that's what I wanted from the movie (action and robots) and that's what I got! :D

In regards to "RotF" being overlooked because of it's ... 'crappiness', well, "Pearl Harbor" and "Poseidon" and "Pirates of the Caribbean 3" got similarly low reviews, yet still managed to get nominated, so "RotF" may have a chance.

What films do you guys think will be nominated/win?

Also, Todd, do you know if ILM is working on the entire end sequence for "Avatar", or just a select amount of shots?

Anonymous said...

Anonymous, this is Anonymous2. :P

Todd, RotF proves once again how good you guys are. Now if only someone like producers and directors can write a script to equal.

Anonymous said...

guys wich film do you think will be nominated?

my list:



star trek

don't get me wrong, i love most of the work done on transformers 2 but there are a bunch of shots i found dubious: many of the scenes involving the twins( expecially when they fight in the hangar), the sequence with megatron and strascream on the alien planet and megatron and strascream on the top of the pyramid, to write a few. all and all i think the effects on star trek are more consistent through the whole movie. but if 2012 work will turn to be nothing memorable , i think transformers 2 will be nominated.

Anonymous said...

todd, i don't know if you can tell it, but at the beginning of transformers 2, we see the black pick-up entering in shangai and transforming into ironhide, without any cut: is the pickup cg in the whole sequence? thanks.

just curious.

Todd Vaziri said...

the most recent Anonymous commenter wrote:
todd, i don't know if you can tell it, but at the beginning of transformers 2, we see the black pick-up entering in shangai and transforming into ironhide, without any cut: is the pickup cg in the whole sequence? thanks.

That's an amazing shot, isn't it? And it would have been one of the harder shots on "Trans 1," just two years ago, rather of being one of the 'easier,' more-straightforward shots on "Trans 2." Which gives you an idea as to the staggering volume and complexity of work that was in "Trans 2."

Unfortunately, all I can reveal about the shot is that it's made of movie magic.

TylerMirage said...

To the anonymous who asked the question about Ironhide transforming:

I think I have an idea about how it was done,(Granted, I don't work for ILM...[yet]...and obviously don't know for certain how it was achieved,) but I can venture a guess:

The beginning of the shot has the real, live-action GMC Topkick driving forward as the camera pans across (if I recall), where soldiers get out. [Meanwhile, only the hood of the truck is now visible in frame] Lennox gets out, delivers his line and pats Ironhide on the hood. The hood then folds up and Ironhide transforms (in what can only be described as pure 100% AWESOME!) THAT is probably where the transition to a CG truck occured. Because when only the top of the hood of the truck is visible, that would be relatively easy to transition between live-action and ILM's CG version. It would be more difficult if it was the entire truck, so that's why they had only the hood visible.

Hope that helps, and it was merely a specualation, and let me know if anyone else has any other ideas. :)

TylerMirage said...

Todd, I’m sorry if I violated some rule on your blog by posting this. My apologies if I did, I meant no harm.

This is NOT MY VIDEO, I do NOT support illegal downloading, pirating of movies/DVD’s in any way, etc., and the rights belong to Paramount, Dreamworks, Michael Bay, and everyone else that I need to list.

BUT…here is the clip of Ironhide transforming if anyone wants to view it and make their own guesses.. (~1:05)

Anonymous said...

thanks for the answers todd and tyler mirage. it could be like tyler said, but when the transition from real hood to digital one occurred? since there isn't any cut...i don't want to say a stupid thing, but they could have "greenscrened" the hood of the real GMC topkick, like often happens with digital make-up with human actors, and in post production they replaced it with the cg counterpart. just speculation:)

Anonymous said...

and yes, like todd said, it's really an amazing shot.

Anonymous said...

The new Cinefex is out with an article on TF2. Can't access my digital edition though which I am not happy about. Looking forward to some info on the films vfx aswell as Potter, District 9 (great work) and GI Joe.

Anonymous said...

Is there an embargo on ILM's vfx for Transformers 2? The new Cinefex article, as well as online articles, is very sketchy on any details, whilst Digital Domains work for the film is much more fleshed out. It basically reads as, " these guys worked on this sequence, there was some new software, it was hard. Imax needs lots of resolution cause it's big" Very dissapointing.

Would love to have known who did the Paris shot of the building being hit, was it cg or Kerner minature? Why can't we know this stuff? So much great work and hard graft deserves more public acknowledgement.

swtcurran said...

i saw the imax 3d trailer in front of cloudy with a chance of meatballs last night. i'm afraid i'm even less interested in avatar if that's possible. the amazing advances in 3D? i'm sorry but most of it was just as hard to watch, strobing and ghosting as any other live action 3D film has in the past.

cloudy on the other hand looked great in 3D. but it would look good flat too as the designs are fun. avatar still looks like the clone wars.

Anonymous said...

Sean. Ouch.

Anonymous said...

Hi,Mr Todd:

A few minutes ago,I entered,and saw your name in James Cameron's new film Avatar, as a digital artist from ILM.Looking forward to your fantastic job in this movie and wanting to know which shots were done by ILM after the film release in Dec 18th^_^

Also,this summer ILM's job like Star Trek,Transformers:Revenge of the Fallen were amazing.Thank you,Todd and other ILMer who let us feel these movies' magic,your efforts are worth of awarding the Academy Award.Even if academy will not give it,our fans still and always support you, :)

A Chinese ILMFan who inspired by your fantastic works:)

Todd Vaziri said...

Anonymous wrote:
"Looking forward to your fantastic job in this movie and wanting to know which shots were done by ILM after the film release in Dec 18th."

Hi, Anonymous. Thanks for your kind words! Unfortunately, I won't be able to talk about any work ILM may have done on the movie. I'll have to direct you to or for more information.


Anonymous said...

ILM is a rapacious, soul-sucking greed machine. Just as I got worked up about seeing Avatar, news that ILM worked on it has made me reconsider.

Todd Vaziri said...

Anonymous #534 wrote:
>ILM is a rapacious, soul-sucking greed machine.

Ha ha ha ha! I didn't know this was turning into a comedy forum! Hilarious!

Okay, now that I've wiped the tears from my eyes, I'll ask: What on earth are you talking about?