Book Review: The Art of Avatar: James Cameron's Epic Adventure

The Art of Avatar: James Cameron's Epic Adventure

If you're blown away by the visual quality of the Pandora, as shown in the trailers, you'll be glad to see that majority of the art in this book are on the environments. There are also designs for the plants, animals, vehicles and the Pandora inhabitants, the Na'vi. Weta Workshop is also roped in to provide some models and help in designing the Na'vi. The creativity behind the design and the scale of work is of course amazing.

The downside is there are only 108 pages, which is underwhelming considering that every set and prop in the movie is made totally from imagination. They certainly could have packed more pages but the price is also lower for that matter.

This book didn't include as much preliminary designs as I hoped, like the iterations they had to do to get to the final designs. The only area where there are iterations are the character designs for the Na'vi. The rest, like the flora, fauna, vehicles and sets look pretty close to the finalized designs.

Most of the art in this book look computer generated (not that it's a bad thing) and there are very few pencil sketches. Quite a few pieces created with mixed medium are a bit jarring to me, like mixing photos with digital painting for backgrounds. Again, nothing wrong with mixing medium but some of the styles just clash and calls for attention in the wrong way.

The writeup talks mainly about the design concepts and very little on the production. Stereocopy, which James Cameron is an advocate of, is used, but it's only briefly mentioned.

I'm intrigued that James Cameron actually wrote the script in 1995. But he had to wait until 2006 before technology was (deemed) advanced enough (for him) to make the film. I thought technology was already available when Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within was released in 2001. So what technology are we really talking about here? It's not mentioned but, well, this isn't a making-of book. I'll definitely be getting the disc when it comes out.

Overall, this book looks like a rush job. Page 82-83 has an image of the flying Ikrans printed upside down. I can't imagine how it's possible to place an picture on a page (on the software) without looking at the picture. There are very slight pixelation with the really big pictures, something I don't normally see with other movie books.

It's a nice book but more for Avatar fans. But be prepared to be underwhelmed, especially after you've watched the movie.

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20 Comments

Guauh! I really was expecting

Guauh!

I really was expecting a full review of this book, and you gave to us.

To be honest, I'd have liked more artistics paintings - planet 51 kind of - but 'll buy it anyway.

Thanks a lot!

Another thing I wanted to add

Another thing I wanted to add is that although in nature animals tends to adopt colors that allows them to camouflage and blend into their environment, lets not forget this is first and foremost a sci-fi flick and not a nature documentary. If the color design for the creatures resembles their environment too much, it will make it harder for the audience to register and to separate the creatures from their background- especially in the fast action sequences.

I purchased the book and

I purchased the book and absolutely loved the quality of the art in it. It is definitely short at only 108 pages though...

I am hoping they are saving material for a possible commercial release of the 350 page "pandorapedia" that Cameron created for the movie.

This sounds like a great

This sounds like a great book, the movie was amazing so I will buy this book.

Parka, I have two art books that might be worth you reviewing, they are great books:

Thunderbirds: The making of the movie - It's quite an old book but includes, on-set movie pictures, designs and sketches. It is available from Amazon UK - URL-
http://www.amazon.co.uk/Thunderbirds-Making-Movie-Andrew-Darling/dp/1903...

Also, Thunderbirds Cross-Sections - Includes pictures, designs and art: URL-
http://www.amazon.co.uk/Thunderbirds-X-ray-Cross-sections-Cross-Sections...

Thanks

U know, Parka, I have seen da

U know, Parka, I have seen da movie, James Cameron's Avatar, with my mom, my brother Scott McKenzie (I also have a younger brother, Billy) and my Aunt Tina in Maryland, from late thursday night December 17 to early Friday morning December 18, at AMC Leows White Marsh theatre, and in IMAX 3D and oh boy what a movie it is! Not only it's awesome, but also, in the words of Jake Sulley (in his avatar body, to say the least), this is great! As for this book, I'm planning to get it for Christmas or so. If ya haven't seen James Cameron's Avatar or so, you must. And if so, then, U All Will Come Face 2 Face With Da Na'vi! Hail Da Thanator! I love James Cameron's Avatar, do you?

I agree with you on the

I agree with you on the amount of content in the book. It looks too short; it's not enough to at least cover a good deal of the work done on Avatar.

I also wished the book had more pencil sketches/preliminary drawings as well as more pages on the design of the Na'vi.

This is a beautiful book, but

This is a beautiful book, but too short as you mention.

The other disappointing thing is the foldouts. There's nothing on the foldouts that could have just been printed on a regular page. Now, instead of just turning the pages to look at all the art, I have to fold something out in order to see it, and it makes it harder to see it. In my opinion, there's very few cases where you should actually use a foldout. When designing the layout of the book, you could place a landscape image on the page and turn it by 90 degrees if you wanted to, like the Lord of the Rings artbooks do. It's actually harder to look at a large picture in a foldout, because it's so large, and because of the creases.

I have seen the film and yes,

I have seen the film and yes, it was awsome.
The book itself is nice, though I too agree that it really did not show that much as expected.

It has nice photos, but to be honest I was expecting more...

After getting and reading

After getting and reading this, my first question was, This is it?! This book is too short and it's not about the making of the movie. There is another better book, The Makinf of Avatar, by Jody Duncan, chief editor of visual effects magazine Cinefex. Get this book for the pretty pictures, and get the "The Making of..." one to really understand how a masterpiece is created.

I wish I could see the pic of

I wish I could see the pic of the Valkyrie that got cutoff. The shuttle was the thing that captivated me the most out of everything else in Avatar. Beautiful, beautiful machine.

I could never ditch the humans.

Hi,

Hi,
Having recently purchased a copy of this book, I was wondering if it would be possible to determine whether this art book comes with a dust jacket. Thanks in advance for taking the time to answer my question.

Hamilton

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