Weta also made ‘She-Hulk’: the incredible world created by James Cameron in the ‘Avatar’ saga is beyond what visual effects artists can achieve

There was not a single doubt that the arrival of ‘Avatar: The Sense of Water’ to movie theaters around the world was going to heat up the many debates that began after the announcement of its production. In addition to the question of the box office, in which the numbers have already removed any hint of reason from the doomsayers who predicted a resounding failure, one of the most controversial issues has revolved around the visual effects of the feature film.

Since it was made public teaser, there were many voices that questioned the finish of the film, stating that the sequel looked exactly the same as the first part and taking credit away from the VFX team at the helm; sentences that I can label as authentic nonsense after having been able to enjoy in 3D-HFR of a show hard to match.

However, from my point of view, you need to look beyond Weta Digital’s offices and employees to understand artistic success —as far as plastic is concerned— from ‘Avatar 2’. And it is that, to shape a milestone of these dimensions, much more is needed than an absolute mastery over pixels, particles, textures, shaders, ones and zeros.

The triangle of success

To honor the truth, I must emphasize that, despite having basic notions, the ins and outs of the complex world of VFX continue to be a mystery to me —I’m one of those people who collapse when you take them out of the tangible—, but I have enough experience in audiovisual issues and, above all, dealing with clients to find out what what differentiates ‘El sentido del agua’ from some of Weta’s recent work is hidden in what I like to label as the “triangle of success”.

Whenever you’re working on a project for “difficult” clients, it’s a good idea to bring up this holy trinity of productivity. To create a piece there are three variables: time, money and quality. If the client wants a quality and economic work, time is needed. If, on the contrary, he needs something fast and cheap, it is impossible for him to have quality. James Cameron, in this case, has had it all.

To begin with, the filmmaker has had the time factor in his favor. Cameron confirmed the development of ‘Avatar 2’ —and its continuation— in 2010, which translates into a twelve-year process of development, pre-production, principal photography and post-production; more than enough time to, sticking to the technical, refine down to the millimeter workflows Y pipelines to get the best possible results.


On the other side is the crematistic aspect, in which the feature film has also had a great advantage. Officially, ‘The Sense of Water’ is budgeted at 250 million dollars, although according to media such as The Hollywood Reporter, insiders of the production stated that the real amount would be around 350 and 400 million, reaching a maximum of 480 million dollars; little more than double that of the original ‘Avatar’, whose budget was 237 million.

But having time, money, and probably the most prestigious visual effects company in the industry on the table it does not ensure quality instantly; bringing into play the creative and artistic foundations on which to build the digital miracle. These have their own names and begin with that of the veteran cinematographer Russell Carpenter; Oscar winner for Titanic and responsible for titles such as ‘Risky Lies’, ‘Jobs’ or ‘Ant-Man’.

Besides, the heads of the production design department seem essential in shaping an attractive universe rich in nuancesand Cameron has counted on the duo made up of Dylan Cole and Ben Procter, who already worked on the first ‘Avatar’ and who have credits to their credit —as visual artists or as art directors— on films like ‘The Matrix Reloaded ‘ and ‘Revolutions’, the latest installments of ‘Transformers’, ‘The Road’ or ‘Speed ​​Racer’.


Everything exposed so far can explain how can there be such disparate results within Weta’s recent filmography. The New Zealanders, remember, are regular collaborators of Marvel Studios, and have worked on products as criticized as ‘She-Hulk: Lawyer She-Hulk’; series that, on the other hand, aired dirty laundry from the studio with regard to working conditions, marathon days and a crunch which is the order of the day.

As we have seen, the key to success is none other than the combination of time, money and a team to match the circumstances; and of all this, ‘Avatar: The sense of water’, has been more than enough.

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Weta also made ‘She-Hulk’: the incredible world created by James Cameron in the ‘Avatar’ saga is beyond what visual effects artists can achieve

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