I attended the Storm FX and Alias Wavefront “Maya Animation Frenzy 3” showing of LOTR:FOTR last night (Wednesday February 13th) at Greater Union Cinema, George street, Sydney. The free night was titled ‘Behind the Scenes of “Lord of the Rings”‘ and featured a fascinating hour-long talk by Weta Digital Lead Digital Model Supervisor Matt Aitken. Mr Aitken swapped between loops of footage showing test shots, pre-compositing layers, test animations etc, and the Maya interface where he showed in particular the highly detailed ‘digital doubles’ of the Fellowship.
Among the subjects examined were the ‘ruined Elven castle’ helicopter shot, Dwarrowdelf model and sequence, the Fellowship’s digital doubles, the Cave Troll model and sequence, and finally the Balrog model and sequence. Some amazing insights into the skill of Weta technicians and artists.
This was followed by a free showing of the film. The theatre was full and Mark Sylvester, ‘Ambassador’ for Alias Wavefront, USA, was full of praise for the strength of the 3D community in Sydney and the quality of work from this part of the world. A great night, though after five hours in the theatre I was a little bleary eyed when I emerged at midnight after what was my third viewing of the film.