Avatar: Way Of Water VFX Team Reveal The Only 2 Shots Without Any CGI
Key figures in Avatar: The Way of Water’s expansive visual effects team reveal the only two shots in the movie that are entirely live-action with no CGI. After James Cameron’s original Avatar dazzled audiences with its groundbreaking visual effects back in 2009, the director’s long-awaited sequel has done much the same. The sequel features a number of significant leaps forward in terms of its visual presentation, using advanced technology to continue the story of Jake (Sam Worthington), Neytiri (Zoe Saldaña), and their new children.
In a recent interview with Metro at the 2023 Baftas, at which they won the award for Special Visual Effects, Avatar: The Way of Water VFX artists and supervisors Joe Letteri, Daniel Barrett, and Eric Saindon reveal that the film only has two shots with no CGI. While the movie features plenty of shots with live-action elements, the vast majority of these shots are enhanced or complemented with VFX in post-production. Check out Saindon’s full comment below regarding the two live-action-only shots in question:
“There’s one of Spider’s [Jack Champion] eyeball and there’s one of the bottom of the ocean and just some ripples in the bottom of the water. There’s lots of live action, lots of characters with CG but every other scene, VFX shots were touched.”
How Future Avatar Movies Can Continue To Push VFX Forward
Some of the biggest challenges heading into Avatar: The Way of Water were limitations in terms of creating such rich aquatic environments using CGI. The franchise’s performance capture technology was also pushed forward, with actors’ emotions and movements coming to life like never before. With Avatar 3 and two additional sequels now moving forward, the franchise can continue to push the envelope in some exciting new ways.
In addition to just continuing to make improvements to performance capture in terms of the subtleties of actors’ performances coming across in their CGI characters, the franchise can use Pandora to continue to dazzle in terms of its visual effects. Water was the biggest nut to crack for Avatar: The Way of Water to work, but Avatar 3 and its inclusion of a new volcano-based, fire-worshiping clan of Na’vi called the Ash People could represent a new challenge. Like water, fire is often difficult to bring to life using CGI, something that the upcoming sequel could improve upon as technology continues to advance.
After the fire and volcanoes of the third film, Avatar 4 and 5 can continue to expand the world of the story, bringing to life snowy environments, deciduous forests, or mountain ranges. Like the rainforest of the first film and the ocean environments of the second, each of these new biomes would be a new challenge for the team to overcome, thus pushing the entire visual effects industry forward. It remains to be seen what will come next in the franchise in the years ahead, but Avatar: The Way of Water has already proven that Cameron has assembled the best in the business to bring his vision to life.