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Avatar 2's CGI & Underwater Tech Is Even Better Than You Realize    Date:2022-05-10

BY AUTUMN CEJER

The CGI and underwater technology for Avatar: The Way of Water will be even better than viewers realize. Director James Cameron broke numerous box office records for Avatar thanks to the new technology invented for the movie that helped bring the world of Pandora to life. Based on the Avatar 2 trailer, his ambitious plans are on track to repeat that success.

Having moved past regular motion capture and 3D technology, which granted Avatar its fame, Avatar 2 employs new underwater mo-cap that Cameron invented for the sequel. Instead of mimicking underwater scenes by suspending people from cables, the actors for Avatar 2 are submerged in a 900,000-gallon water tank designed to imitate ocean currents. The trailer provides the first real look at this new method, but the final product likely won't even compare.

Avatar 2's CGI, and the underwater scenes in particular, already look stunning, but the movie is still a long way out from release. It's not uncommon for visual effects to be worked on — and improved — up until a movie's premiere, especially for anything that relies as much on CGI as the Avatar franchise. There's surely still a fair bit of post-production work to do on the sequel. The trailer only revealed a few snippets of select scenes that were likely deemed most ready for the public eye, preserving the remainder of the film for more editing. Even the clips that were shown may still be subjected to last-minute touch-ups to ensure that the entire movie satisfies Cameron's high standards of perfection. His determination to break new filmmaking ground and try a new, much more difficult, and costly method for underwater scenes just proves how far he will go to deliver the best possible shot. So if it looks this good now in the trailer, the finished version that audiences will see in theaters will likely be that much more spectacular, especially if they watch the movie in IMAX.

Avatar 2 has some clear hurdles to overcome for it to have the same kind of success as the first movie, mainly the large gap between the two films' releases. Avatar came out 13 years earlier, and hype for that movie has long since fizzled. Such a concern obviously did not rush Cameron's plans, however, since the director waited until the technology he wanted was ready to use. He admitted that it also cost a great deal more to use this new method for filming underwater scenes, instead of the traditional "dry" method, but Avatar 2's first trailer is a good sign that the long wait and expensive price tag were worth it. Despite the difficulties it might face making that money back, there's a good chance that Avatar 2 will draw in viewers simply out of a curiosity to see these underwater scenes in all their splendor.

The CGI and underwater motion capture technology for Avatar: The Way of Water will likely look even better by the time the movie comes out in December 2022. The first Avatar faced similar skepticism before its release, but it later became one of the highest-grossing movies of all time. Just as it enticed viewers with new 3D technology, Avatar: The Way of Water will hopefully bring in crowds wanting to see the next step in filmmaking.


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