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When the first Avatar movie hit theaters more than 10 years ago it blew audiences away. Never before had we seen a movie use motion capture technology in such a complete way. Nearly the entire film was created via CGI, not simply the environments, but so much of the characters themselves. And as the next two Avatar movies continue in various stages of production, we have a look at just how extensive the motion capture really is, with a look at some of the most majestic, and the most adorable, characters to become part of the process.
Avatar producer Jon Landau shared a pair of images recently to Instagram, showing the extremes to which the motion capture process is being used in the new movies. One is a collection of horses and riders, where every inch of all of them is covered in the familiar motion capture dots. The other is an incredibly cute little kid, who will likely be transformed into one of the Na'vi. check it out.
The adorable child is cute, to say the least, but they're also an important character in the movie. The little kid is labeled as Lo'ak, who is one of the children of Jake Sully and Neytiri who we will meet in Avatar 2. The role is being played primarily by actor Britain Dalton, who is much older than this little one, so this scene is likely part of an early sequence in Avatar 2, or perhaps a flashback later, where we see the kids as they're growing up.
The original Avatar movie is currently available on Disney+. You can use this link to sign up for the streaming service.
In the other image we see some horses, that are obviously playing the role of the pa'li, or direhorses, that we saw in the first movie. It's the native Pandora version of the horse and it's pretty cool because, due to the CGI focus of the Avatar films, there was certainly no need to bring in actual horses. The filmmakers could have presumably put their actors astride anything and created the animal underneath. It would have likely given them more freedom to create the creature underneath. But it seems clear that while the CGI is necessary for the Avatar films, there's also a desire to make the movie as "real" as possible.
Of course, the day all fans are waiting for is the day that we stop seeing the "before" pictures and start seeing the "after" images. Because of the nature of the Avatar films, nothing that actually gets shot gives us much of an idea what we'll actually see. We won't get that until every frame goes through the lengthy post-production process. And with Avatar 2 not set to hit theaters until December of next year, it's going to still be sometime before we see any of it.