Friday, August 7, 2015

Visit to Weta Workshop, Wellington, NZ

My visit to NZ included a stop at Weta Workshop, the amazing design & fabrication studio for the entertainment industry. Most people know them for their work on the Lord of the Rings trilogy, or The Hobbit movies, but they have done so much more - go look at their site!!

While I couldn't take photos on the Weta Cave tour, I shot a few of things they have on display in their gallery and gift shop - originals from the movie as well as versions for sale (if you have significant resources to invest in such things).

They are using Maya to model things, then 3D printing or CNC milling to create models, then they refine it, get approval, cast it and then make injection molds for rapid production in the volume they need for a movie. The painting department work was amazing - everything that looks "aged" and worn is just a patina created from layers and layers of paint. The "rock wall" example was painted by our tour guide (experienced in "non-commissioned public artworks" prior to joining Weta), and he painted it in an hour. I think about the hours slaving over making rocks look like rocks for the theater tech work I've done, and my jaw dropped. He'd done it in an hour. Super close up, it still read "rock face".

While I was really impressed and excited by the tangibles made in the workshop - digital beginnings or hand forged metal - the CG aspects were touched on too. The creativity involved when writing the software to generate the visual effects desired is another part of the Weta genius.  Check them out.

Hobbit feet prosthetics

King Kong (it's not only Tolkien!)

Trolls from the Hobbit

 details . . .. all hand painted

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