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Weta's Animation Boss Talks About The CGI Of The Hobbit: Desolation Of Smaug

As animation supervisor at Weta Digital, Dave Clayton knows a thing or two about creating virtual worlds. To celebrate the launch of The Hobbit: Desolation of Smaug on DVD and Blu-ray, we had a quick chat with Dave about some of the work he’s done with Weta.

How Weta Digital Studios Delivers Middle Earth To Your Multiplex

We’ve come a long way since the days of Cool World and Who Framed Roger Rabbit? I mean, just look at last December’s blockbuster, The Hobbit. Peter Jackson’s Weta Studios (the same group that created Looper’s skylines and District 9’s extra terrestrial tech) leverages cutting-edge CGI techniques to meld live action and digital animation so seamlessly you’d swear those giant eagles were real.

How The Hobbit's Special Effects Made Sir Ian McKellen Cry

It’s no secret that Peter Jackson, WETA and New Line Cinema are all trying to justify the special effects and frame rate of The Hobbit before its release in a few weeks. It’s now emerging that Sir Ian McKellen, the seemingly-unflappable Gandalf The Grey, was reduced to tears by the effects on the shoot of the film.

Watch: Air New Zealand Hires LOTR Effects Wizards For Flight Safety Video

If you’re ever lucky enough to fly Air New Zealand, you might want to actually pay attention to the safety video that plays before takeoff. The airline hired WETA, the effects shop responsible for The Lord Of the Rings films, to punch up the video.

Wellington Airport's Wicked Gollum Sculpture Must Be Seen To Be Believed

New Zealand, you’re getting cooler by the day! Just look at this wonderful, massive Gollum sculpture, which now hovers playfully over the food court at Wellington Airport. Built by the folks at the Weta Workshop and installed in a brutal, three-day hoisting marathon, the installation is part cultural enrichment and part (you guessed it) promotion for Peter Jackson’s upcoming flick The Hobbit.

Can Video Games Ever Be As Realistic As Movies?

How many times have you read on a game box or skimmed an interview and saw these words come out of a game studio’s mouth: “we’re going for absolute realism in our game”? You might wander into a store and pick up a copy, only to pop it into your console or PC and be utterly disappointed by another unrealistic FPS or RPG that completely misses the mark. Should we just abandon all hope that video games will ever look as good as the movies do? Not necessarily. Meet Guy Williams. You may remember him as the visual effects supervisor (read: FX boss) on a little project called The Avengers.

Bilbo's Sting Has A Painful Price Tag

Anyone know where I could find, say, a dragon’s hoard of gold? I’m going to need one in order to afford the authentic movie prop of The Hobbit’s sword.

First Full Tintin Trailer: Maybe This Motion Capture Thing Is OK After All

When the teaser trailer for Steven Spielberg’s Tintin trailer came out, I had reservations. The post, the styling, the action, they all looked terrific. But why couldn’t we see anyone talking? As the new full-length trailer mercifully reveals, turns out they had nothing to hide.

Microsoft Has Sold More Than A Million Xbox 360s In AU And NZ

And yet only one of them looks like this. To celebrate the fact that Microsoft has sold over a million Xbox 360 consoles in Australia and New Zealand since launch, they’ve paired up with a heap of celebrities to auction off individualised and signed custom 360s for the David Peachey foundation.

Avatars Are Starting To Look Normal To Me

Maybe it’s just because I’ve seen every photo and film released regarding Avatar to date, but those blue aliens, the Na’vi, the ones that looked so strange and hyperreal the first time I saw them? Totally normal now.

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