Book Review: The Making of Avatar

The Making of Avatar

Since I have the The Art of Avatar as well, I'll start by saying that this is major step-up from the art book, in terms of visuals, writeup and construction.

It's a thick 272-page hardcover filled commentary and huge pictures. Yup, the pictures are in high resolution so there's no more of that pixelation you see in the art book. The film stills, even though you know it's computer generated, is less jarring, more natural. There are a lot of behind-the-scenes photos as well as concept art sketches of the creatures on Pandora.

The writeup is extensive. It really provides an in-depth look at the technical aspect of making the movie, from the conceptualisation stage down to mixing of life-action and 3D footage. There's plenty to read about the concepts behind everything has to be visually created, like the creatures, the sculptures, environments, weapons, props, etc. It's all really detailed and carefully explained, even the captions are informative. Stuff like creating characters are broken down into several steps, such as the creation of clay sculptures (handled by Stan Winston Studio) and the actually modeling of 3D models (handled by Weta).

And then you have the motion performance part where they show how action is mapped into the movie, and all the little production tricks that are used. There are actually horses in the studios to capture the part where the Navi ride the Direhorses. And those horses are also had their bodies pasted with the little beads for motion capture.

This book is a very satisfying read. Highly recommended if you like movie production books.

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11 Comments

Hey Parka! I have that book!

Hey Parka!

I have that book! You know, the one with 'The Two Faces of Zoe Saldana' on its front cover. I love reading The Making of Avatar book which I got from Barnes and Noble via free shipping and handling. I think The Making of Avatar is one of, if not, the best movie book ever (of the non-fictional kind)!

Oh! BTW, Parka, James Cameron's AVATAR is my all-time favorite movie, while my all-time favorite TV show of all time is the Cartoon Network show, Dexter's Laboratory which, along with James Cameron's AVATAR, would also inspire me to one day do Dexter's Odyssey, which is a twelve-part, big screen, big budget, live action/animated The Lord of the Rings-style epic fantasy interpretation of the Cartoon Network show, Dexter's Laboratory and that show's characters, as well as those from another Cartoon Network show, The Powerpuff GIrls.

Dexter's Odyssey will combine 2D Traditional Animation, CGI, Animatronics, and even innovative practical and digital special and visual effects wizardries, technologies, and techniques both old and new, with the 2D animated Dexter's Lab and Powerpuff Girls Characters moving around and interacting within a patchwork world fabricated from physical live action sets, real-life location photography, practical miniature models and sets and sometimes virtual CG environments.

If it's a complex story of such epic length and scale, Dexter's Odyssey should be released in twelve parts or so, each running to a duration of three hours or more or so, but filmed, made, produced and even shot back-to-back as a single narrative and with digital 3-D, IMAX 3-D digital, 2D 24-P HD Digital video cameras , and also, as one of the last movie projects to be shot on real celluloid motion picture film, 35mm Anamorphic, Panavision 65mm, VistaVision and 15/70mm IMAX motion picture film cameras or so, which together would create the most immersive cinematic experience since AVATAR.

I think Skywalker Sound should be responsible for the sound of Dexter's Odyssey or so, and Dexter's Odyssey should be mixed in Dolby Surround 7.1 or so, and the music for Dexter's Odyssey should be a combination of traditional orchestra, electronic sounds, ethereal choirs, ethnic and exotic intstruments and vocals and ethnic and exotic woodwinds and percussions. Also, I think a special effects house like Peter Jackson's Weta Digital and/or the like should handle the compositing of the 2D animated Dexter's Laboratory characters into their live action/miniature/digital surroundings, while George Lucas' Industrial Light and Magic and/or the like should handle the same thing with the 2D animated Powerpuff Girls characters.

Dexter's Odyssey is gonna be one of, if not, the biggest, and most ambitious film project the world should ever see since James Cameron's AVATAR and Peter Jackson's The Lord of the Rings movie trilogy.

Just kidding. Sorry it is a long comment, and sorry I'm being off topic and rambling on, Parka, but it's gonna be great.

P.S. I love The Making of AVATAR book, and James Cameron's AVATAR is my all-time favorite movie and Dexter's Lab my all time favorite TV show.

Tim

Is that second post just a

Is that second post just a self-imposed advertisement for something the post creator plans to do some day? It really seems to contribute nothing at all to the topic of this blog entry.

Side note, thanks Parka for all of these great book reviews! Truly great stuff you're doing here for your fellow artists.

Oh! I have a question

Oh! I have a question regarding a character played by Michelle Rodriguez (which you guys can also see in Machete (2010)) in Avatar: Who killed Trudy Chacon? And is she really 'Trudy the Martyr'?

Hey Parka, I just received my

Hey Parka, I just received my copy from Amazon, however, I found the big photos (full page ones) quite blur, is that normal? Say page 144-145. I'm just wondering if I was being too anal and tried to look at the images too closely.

Still, it's an amazing book packed full with more than just nice photos, (: a good read!

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