JoeLetteriThere is a lot to write about and our staff is spread pretty thin these days, but this article about Weta Digital and what some of the processes were for “The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies,” is just too good to miss.

Here is a taste:

The new tools implemented for the film included the real-time lighting software Gazebo, technology in development two years ago (see “Shaping Middle-earth,” January/February 2013), new rendering software called Manuka, and a new virtual production pipeline. The scale of shots with the armies made their implementation necessary.

“Gazebo came first because we were trying to do a real-time renderer for the stage,” [Joe] Letteri (pictured) says. “It grew out of thinking how to improve virtual production post-Avatar. The thing that was missing was a lighting tool that mimicked the result we’d get with our existing production-renderer, RenderMan. We wanted to know if we could render equivalent lights and shaders in hardware that would approximate a final render. Gazebo gave us that and speed optimization. It was robust for the virtual stage.”

You can, and we think should, read the whole thing RIGHT HERE.

IN OTHER NEWS: “The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies,” has now earned $939 million. This is about $252 million US, with fewer theaters all the time, and $686 million around the rest of the world. If anybody is concerned, it may earn more than the $960 million the second Hobbit film tallied but fall a bit short of $1 billion mark and only be the second biggest flick released in 2014. It could have been worse though. It could have opened like “Jupiter Ascending,” did this weekend and been crushed by the newest Spongebob Squarepants movie.

We haven’t seen either film but unlike the last flick about the guy who lives in a pineapple under the sea, this one doesn’t even feature David Hasselhoff.