The newly released “Avatar” Three-Disc Extended Collector’s Edition DVD and Blu-ray from 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment, features a special documentary titled, “Capturing Avatar.” Included, is Rob Powers, vice president of 3D development at NewTek and member of the original “Malibu Five,” the first five individuals to join James Cameron’s team in the production of “Avatar.” The documentary shows the earliest six-legged creature animation test Powers created for “Avatar,” using LightWave 3D, and Powers discusses the film’s Virtual Art Department (VAD). While working on “Avatar,” Powers founded the first ever VAD, using LightWave in the creation of virtual environmental assets for the world of Pandora in the blockbuster film.
Six-legged creature concept animation by Rob Powers displayed here in the new LightWave 10 interface
As the first concept-animation artist working on the film, Powers used LightWave to generate the original creature rigs and test animations in his initial role as animation technical director.
“From the earliest period of ‘Avatar’ development, LightWave enabled me to model, texture, rig, and render quality concept animation tests, very quickly,” explained Powers. “LightWave also proved to be an efficient tool for the virtual production process, as well. I wouldn't have been able to create such great imagery over the length of the project without LightWave in the production pipeline.”
Early Epiphyte concept creature animation by Powers for “Avatar” in LightWave
Powers is currently working with NewTek’s software development team to produce innovative tools and new, interactive functions that will be incorporated into future versions of LightWave. The next major release—LightWave 10—is expected to ship Q4 2010.