[sldev] Check out the technology James Cameron, creator of "The Avatar" movie - is making!!!

Fire in Korea fire at eslteacherlink.co.kr
Sun Aug 10 22:56:57 PDT 2008

Hi everyone, I've been on holidays for two weeks, but now I'm back - to
revel in wonderful SLED contributions, and keep up on DIGG on an hourly

While reading Digg.com today, I came up with a delicious article about James
Cameron's "Avatar" movie that he is creating.
After reading about the very interesting 3d technology he has created this
film, one must sit and ponder the wonderful
goodies that will follow for us virtual worlders

Seams to me a full Snow-crash realization is innevitable

I've highlighted some amazing news below from the article,
but to sum up, I see the following resulting from his acheivements:
*Consider adding this to our wonderful secondlife client:*
- Real-Time video capture of your facial expressions - and automatic
projection into the virtual world
- A portable monitor / camera you could hold in your hands, point it at
something, and instantly translate its contents immediately into the Virtual

anyhow, here's a snippet from the

"The way we developed the performance capture workflow on 'Avatar" is we
have our virtual camera, which allows me to, in real time, hold a camera --
it's really a monitor -- in my hands and point it at the actors and see them
as their CG chartacters," Cameron said.

The actors wear leotards and a "head rig" with a tiny standard-definition
camera that takes an image of an actor's face. "That is going though facial
algorithms and going back into the camera as a real-time CG face of the
character," the helmer said. "You see it talk; you see the eyes move. It is
pretty phenomenal.

"Once we've laid down a take, the take exists in the digital asset
management system," he said. "It an be accessed at any time. Long after the
actors have gone home, I'm still out there with the virtual camera, shooting
coverage on the scene. I just have to play the take back. I can do the close
up, the wide shot. ... I can even move them around on a limited basis. We
relight it. We do all kinds of things.

"It's this amazing ability to quickly conjure scenes and images and great
fantasyscapes that is very visual. We call it 'director centric' because I
can use the camera to block the actors," Cameron related. "When you are
doing performance capture, creatively it's very daunting. It's very hard to
imagine what it will look like. But if you can see it, if you can have a
virtual image of what is it going to be like, then you are there. As the
processing power goes up our models get more sophisticated and our lighting
tools get more sophisticated, even while we are making this movie. I'm still
doing a lot of virtual camera work on the film ... on stuff that was shot
six months ago."

Cameron also used what he calls FPR, or Facial Performance Replacement,
which he likens to the film sound technique of ADR (Automated Dialogue

To describe the process, the director relates that he recently wanted to
redo a line spoken by actor Laz Alonzo. "We changed the words and he redid
the dialogue. We didn't have to recapture (his body performance) and he
didn't have to put the performance capture suit on again. We were just
creating new words, and we were creating a new face."

On the cinematography, Cameron related that his goal was to create "one
movie where the aesthetics of physical production and the aesthetics of
virtual production are, to the extent that we could do it, pretty much it

Reaching this goal involved development of what Cameron calls the
'Simulcam,' which essentially treats a real camera like the virtual camera
and in turn helps to remove guesswork. "We're taking our virtual production
toolset and superimposing it on physical production," Cameron said. "We
turned the set on the soundstage into a capture volume and turned the
physical camera into a capture virtual camera, so we were able to integrate
CG characters and environments into our live action."

As an example of how this works, he explained: "We have people in flying
vehicles, and I can see what is outside the window, fed in, in real time."

On 3-D, both Cameron and Pace are looking ahead.

"The real question is 'where does all this go?" Cameron said. "Are we
looking at a situation maybe 10-15 years out where most laptops are sold
with 3-D stereoscopic screens, most montors are stereo compatible, most DVD
players can run stereo content? ... I can see this becoming much more
pervasive that we are thinking now."

He and Pace believe content is the key.

Paul Preibisch
Creative Director

B3D Media Labs Ltd.
Seoul, South Korea
Facebook Second Life Link Application:
Skype: eslteacherlink.com
Second Life Id: Fire Centaur
English Village SLURL:

Facebook Groups:
Second Life for Educators:
Profile Page: http://www.f8.facebook.com/profile.php?id=627331676
-------------- next part --------------
An HTML attachment was scrubbed...
URL: http://lists.secondlife.com/pipermail/sldev/attachments/20080811/4f532b39/attachment.htm

More information about the SLDev mailing list