The world’s best animators focus on Weta A top American software developer calls working on The Lord Of The Rings “the plum job on the whole of the planet” for computer graphics gurus. “It’s the absolute talk of animation news groups on the Internet,” says Mark Sylvester of Alias leading provider of open solutions for film & video. “There’s a cult following around The Lord Of The Rings, around computer animation, ” he told Onfilm after visiting Peter Jackson’s Weta animation & graphics factory in Wellington. “I think people feel they have no chance of working on Star Wars – that’s the dream – but they have a chance of working at Weta on The Lord Of The Rings, and The Lord Of The Rings will make the facility internationally famous.” Sylvester says Weta is challenging Alias involved in the new Star Wars trilogy, to “make sure we can deliver the level of realism they’ll require” for The Lord Of The Rings. “We’ve had to show them, and they’ve had to be able to prove to themselves, that they can do what they want to do with the software we have available today. “Quality is very important to them. They want to do this right – they don’t want to be known for having mucked up an amazing book. “It’s a tall order but I walked away with a sense of confidence that the amount of work I’m going to put into this personally É is going to be worth the energy.” Sylvester reckons the environment that Weta is providing computer animators could only be match by four other places in the world. “Guys who run animation production companies in the United States are at Weta for The Lord Of The Rings,” he points out. “Animators aren’t driven by the money, although it is good money, as they are by an environment that is technically challenging, and has interesting projects to work on and people savvy to their tools. “Weta is gearing up infrastructure-wise and talent-wise to realize a great vision.” Sylvester says when he re-read The Lord Of The Rings, “I asked myself, ‘How the heck are they going to do these various pieces?’ “I have to say they have not shared that with us. “They feel that’s going to detract from the film; that what’s important is the film – not how the film was made. “They really want to keep the movie magic.”