Azog and white warg at the climax of An Unexpected Journey. Three Weta Digital artists have won one of 21 scientific and technical achievements awards that the The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences announced yesterday for their work on innovative hair manipulation software known as Barbershop.

Barbershop is hair-grooming software that enables digital artists to literally comb, brush and blow-dry CG hair. Its unique architecture allows direct manipulation of full-density hair using an intuitive, interactive and procedural toolset, resulting in greatly enhanced productivity with finer-grained artistic control than is possible with other existing systems.

Marco Revelant is being recognised for the original concepts and artistic vision, while Alasdair Coull and Shane Cooper are being honoured for the architectural and engineering design of the Barbershop hair-grooming system.

“We no longer model our hair as individual strands and have modelers go and individually move them around,” Visual Effects Supervisor Eric Saindon told FX Guide, describing its use on The Hobbit’s Wargs. “We have a set of tools that work a lot like on set. We essentially have a blow drier and combs and brushes that we actually groom our hair within a 3D system to basically groom the Warg in 3D space.”

It was even modified to allow for stiffer bristles on the hedgehogs cared for by Radagast.

The trio will be honored at the annual Scientific and Technical Awards Presentation on Saturday, February 7, at the Beverly Wilshire in Beverly Hills.

All the awards are listed here.’s One Last Party campaign soars past $180,000!

We hit our goal overnight and we, now officially, 100% have a party happening at the American Legion Hall in Hollywood on Saturday February 21!

You are all absolutely amazing.

In the last 24 hours we received more than $25,000 in pledges to push The One Last Party campaign well past our $180,000 goal. We are humbled and grateful, and we’re really looking forward to making this a super night for everyone.

If you’ve been thinking of attending, tickets are still available through our Indiegogo campaign until this Sunday night (January 18) at 11.59 PST.

one last party botfa poster Pledges are still open and you could win this signed Battle of the Five Armies poster

One amazing TORn supporter has donated this Battle of the Five Armies poster (see the picture below) signed at San Diego ComicCon by:

  • Dwalin — Graham McTavish
  • Gollum — Andy Serkis
  • Tauriel — Evangeline Lilly
  • Thranduil — Lee Pace
  • Legolas — Orlando Bloom
  • Bard — Luke Evans
  • Smaug — Benedict Cumberbatch
  • Frodo — Elijah Wood
  • Galadriel — Cate Blanchett

The poster (measuring 13′ by 20′), together with the holographic wristband that was needed to get it at SDCC, will be given away to one lucky supporter, chosen at random from all the pledges of $10 and above that we receive THIS WEEK (Monday 12th to Sunday 18th January). Each new pledge of $10 or higher during this final week will receive a separate entry into the draw. That’s right: the more times you pledge, the more chances you have to win!