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Kerner Optical

From time to time, AMZ likes to showcase the special effects and 3D visual effects companies, Kerner Optical is a shining example, who played a role in contributing FX and stereo for Avatar. Kerner has a long list of film credits in their portfolio including Spiderwick Chronicles, Transformers, Star Wars, Pirates of the Caribbean, and many more.

Besides the impressive visual presentation their home site provides, there you can explore galleries, the company's roots, filmography, demo reels, slide shows, and more.

So take a tour of their online presence by clicking on their link above and you will soon see why Kerner Optical has grown to one of the premiere visual effects company in the film industry.

Here are a few of Kerner Optical's site features . . .

Company Roots:
"A long time a galaxy far, far away" a wizard named George Lucas created a fantastic visuale effects company called Industrial Light and Magic.

George assembled an all star team to design, build and photograph large and small scale miniatures and models with highly technical cameras and motion control rigs to create some of the most extraordinary visual effects anyone has ever seen.


The Kerner Optical site offers an entertaining tour of their mult-building complex including aerial views, schematic layouts, and optional pdf files for the main stage, the windward stage, shops, the exterior stage, and the virtual stage.

The virtual stage view allows you to take a 360 degree view of the main stage along with Stages A, B, and C.

Other site features include commercial credits, demo reels and other video, services offered along with pdf file info for the potential client, employment information, and more. So be sure to check out!

Slideshow Highlights: offers over 70 images of their behind-the-scene work, many from box office smash hit films. A couple samples below. . . .

'Avatar' house is motion-capture Giant

Steven Spielberg had just wrapped six weeks of motion-capture work on his passion project "The Adventures of Tintin: Secret of the Unicorn." Offering a toast to the production crew hired for the highly specialized shoots, the director raised a champagne glass and noted they had helped him squeeze in the most setups in the fewest days of any production in which he had been involved.

"So maybe that tells you how I feel about the experience of working with you all," a beaming Spielberg told the assembled employees of Giant Studios. The little-known company is tucked away in a commercial patch of West Los Angeles.

Avatar 3D: A Breakthrough in Special Effects with Nvidia
By Mariusz Koryszewski

Avatar, the latest cinematic James Cameron's movie - filmed in 3D - can certainly be called a breakthrough in the field of special effects. Special effects for the film is credited to the company Weta Digital, which had to take advantage of innovative solutions in order to bring breathtaking scenes to the screen from James Cameron's imagination.

Already in the first weekend after its release (December 18) Avatar earned $ 232 million U.S. dollars. The special effects for Avatar were developed in New Zealand by the company Weta Digital, which has developed new ways to create many complicated special effects that we can admire on the silver screen.

Avatar - a huge amount of special effects: Weta had to set up movie sequences containing up to 800 fully digitally generated characters moving in the computer sets which required very high computing power.

3D Film Factory Wraps Production On Two Innovative New 3D Extreme Shows

3D Film Factory, an innovative company specializing in the production of original 3D entertainment content and 2D-to-3D conversion, recently completed production on a pair of inventive new 3D pilots, the first Adrenaline 3D show with attitude; and Rip-It 3D, the world's first 3D extreme sports show.

The pilots were developed and produced by 3D Film Factory, in association with technology partner PassmoreLab, as part of a campaign to develop ground-breaking 3D entertainment content for a range of applications including home theatre, public exhibition, network broadcast and more.

Key to shooting A3D TV and Rip-It 3D was a custom-built split-beam camera rig. For shooting 3D, rigs support a pair of cameras angled to a specially designed mirrored glass. Cameras are angled at 90 degrees to shoot both in front of the glass as well as images reflected off the glass itself.

Two separate but identical images are captured using lightweight HD cameras and this gives the basis for 3D, which blends two stereoscopic images to give the perception of depth. Visit the company's web site at:


All of the articles on this page are excerpts, click on the source link for the complete article


Hybride Technologies, a division of Ubisoft Montreal, has produced 114 stereoscopic shots for James Cameron's AVATAR, released December 18, 2009. The creators at the Piedmont VFX studio, located in the Laurentians, also provided numerous graphic and technical elements used in a large number of shots produced by other vendors involved on the project. In concrete terms, Hybride's contribution include set extensions, animating on-screen computer data as well as designing and animating virtual characters mostly for the Link Room.

"We are very grateful to Director James Cameron and Producer John Landau for giving us the opportunity to be a part of the world of Pandora" said Daniel Leduc, VFX Producer at Hybride. "We feel extremely privileged to have played a part in the creation of one of the biggest movies of the decade, and by doing so, allowing us to put forward our creative team's talent and production team's efficiency. Once again, Quebec's 2D and 3D artists' expertise and knowhow are at the heart of a worldwide commercial success."

About Hybride

Hybride Technologies, division of Ubisoft, is a Quebec-based production company that specializes in digital visual effects for film and television visionaries from around the world. Founded in 1991, the company is comprised of a team of professionals divided into five specialized creative units offering a complete range of services including digital editing, 3D animation, compositing and DI colour grading.

BUF - Home site


Visual Effects company BUF recently posted these production notes of Avatar with technical explanations on the processes they used (some with deleted scenes!). BUF has been regarded as one of the most innovative visual effect companies in the world. The quality and originality of their work has earned them nearly 40 international awards. Apart from being one of the leading VFX company in Europe, BUF's involvement on US studio films has garnered us a global reputation of designing and delivering the most complex visuals.

The ground-breaking "bullet time" effect created for Matrix was directly inspired by BUF's research while working on Michel Gondry's "Like A Rolling Stone" music video. BUF also pioneered "camera mapping" and "stereo modeling" techniques, as well as many other technological advances awaiting their opportunity to be unveiled. In 2007, BUF's animated short Even Pigeon's Go To Heaven was nominated for an Oscar for Best Animated Short Film.

Avatar Production Notes:

When his twin brother is killed, disabled ex-Marine Jake Sully is recruited to aid a mining expedition on the distant jungle moon of Pandora as only his DNA will bond with the alien hybrid body, known as an Avatar, that allows humans to breathe the toxic air. With orders to infiltrate the Na’vi, Jake finds himself falling in love with native girl, Neytiri, and complications soon ensue…


BUF's work consisted of researching the perfect design and dynamics for the mental transfer of a human being leaving his body to incarnate his Avatar. The shots were to be delivered in stereo, and needed to envelop the audience as they travel through the tunnel with the characters so allot of effort was put into layering tunnels of different diameters. These layers consist of many different elements, some are made of organic materials such as networks of neurons or veins, others were pictured as energy fluxes such as rings and rays of light or flashes of lightning.

The main challenge was to make the images legible despite the very high speed of the camera move, and the motion blur involved. The various tunnels were set up independently, computed according to the trajectory chosen for the camera, then composited together. Lights were automatically generated to precede the camera through the tunnel in order to light the end of the tunnel, and give the impression to the audience that they are following the light.


The Earth Shots (one shot for the Pedestrian Crossing and 13 for the Alley) were Set Extensions that were designed specifically for 3D screening. Only the foreground was actually shot - against green screen. BUF created and integrated the background set according to the references provided by the production, adapting them to the filmed shots (aerial train, holographic commercials and surrounding buildings).


For this scene, only two medium close passes of the crowd were shot. The only visible part of the set includes the street in the foreground and the changing of the traffic light. To simulate the strip lighting, the extras were lit by blinking colored lights.

Taking into account the initial camera move on the foreground crowd plates, the shot features a wide introductory view on the crowded futuristic city. Because the stereoscopic view is more demanding than in 2D films, the depth and placement of the buildings has to be very precise and coherent. Once the main buildings were placed and the overall architecture defined, the crowd was created, thus matching the live takes and perfectly integrating them into the 3D environment ambiance.

Sony Pictures Imageworks

Sony Pictures Imageworks is an Academy Award®-winning, state-of-the-art visual effects and character animation company dedicated to the artistry of digital production and character creation.

Since 1992, Imageworks continually raises the bar in the visual effects and character animation industry by providing leading-edge technology to world-class artists.

Imageworks has been creating outstanding visual effects and digital character animation, beginning with seamless invisible effects and fashioning an expertise in emotive CG characters and creatures for live action, all CG-animated, and hybrid live-action/animation productions.

Imageworks prides itself as a community of artists supporting the imagination and expression of visual storytellers. Starting with STUART LITTLE, the first photorealistic CG animated star in a live action movie, Imageworks pioneered groundbreaking moviemaking that stressed traditional character performance with exacting production standards.

These innovations set the stage for what is now widely regarded as blended-cinema, where techniques from animation, visual effects and live-action combine to produce a wide-range of including the Spider-Man movies, The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe, Superman Returns, Monster House and Beowulf.

The company's pioneering work has been recognized with numerous awards and nominations, including the Academy Award® for Best Visual Effects for Spider-Man™ 2.

The Imageworks Professional Academic Excellence program (IPAX), designed by Imageworks, is intended to build stronger relationships with established academic programs and to nurture and grow future generations of digital talent. IPAX is the first program of its kind, focusing on IPAX member faculty development and exposure to real-time production issues and development of standards for training future digital artists.

Framestore Visual Effects

From Framestore: "Framestore has been working in digital film for over twenty years now, creating original and astonishing work that has helped make it the largest visual effects and computer animation studio in Europe.

Our teams have built up a formidable reputation across every imaginable digital discipline, from creatures to environments, from fur to feathers, from particles to characters.

2008 saw the Framestore recognised at the film industry's highest levels, as our work on The Golden Compass won both the Academy Award and the BAFTA for Achievement in Special Effects."

THE DARK KNIGHT - Framestore was one of only a handful of digital effects studios chosen to work on the film by Christopher Nolan, who notoriously prefers to work in-camera and practically as much as possible, turning to digital effects only when they offer him otherwise unachievable and unimprovable results.

Framestore's shots for the film encompassed matte paintings, digital doubles (including a CG Batman), vehicles, crowds, and the highly sensitive Harvey Two-Face CG work. Overall VFX Supervision for the project was handled by Nick Davis.

Digital Domain
Award-winning visual effects, innovative technology, and new approaches to content creation.

Since its founding in 1993 by film industry icons, Digital Domain has been a force and a change agent in the world of creative content.

The digital production studio has built a legacy of achievement in visusal effects, receiving six Academy Awards and listing Titanic, The Day After Tomorrow, and The Curious Case of Benjamin Button among its 65+ film credits.

Digital Domain has earned scores of Clio, AICP, and Cannes Lion awards for some of the industry's most memorable spots.

A-list directors work with Digital Domain on features, advertising and projects that cross traditional media boundaries.

Digital Domain continues to push into new territory. The company is being recognized for its pioneering work in photo-real digital humans and productions that bring the worlds of films, advertising, games and the web closer together.

Other films in Digital Domain's showcase of filmography includes Gran Torino, The Mummy 3, Speed Racer, The Golden Compass, The Dark Rising, Transformers, Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End, Meet the Robinsons, The Hitcher, Letters From Iwo Jima, Flags of our Fathers, Roving Mars, Cinderella Man, Flight of the Phoenix, I, Robot, Peter Pan, Looney Tunes, We Were Soldiers, Star Trek: Nemesis, Aeon Flux, Stealth, and many, many more.

Be sure to click on their link above to explore their official site for many more features, videos, and projects.

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