What it's like to animate Gollum....
Tehanu @ 12:37 am EST
There's just been a conference in Wellington on movie SFX and of course one of the invited speakers was Adam Valdez, Animation Supervisor.

Helpful correspondent MN emailed us instantly it seems with this report:

He gave a talk based "around" Lord of the Rings. I mean "around" because he was unable to really give any details whatsoever on his work, and couldn't show us any clips or footage, which was a little disappointing.

He gave one or two interesting snippets:

- He said that working on the project was 'intimidating' because of the worldwide love for the book
- The flavour of the animations would be very 'unique', unlike what would be seen in standard Hollywood studios
- One of the interesting visual treatments that falls under his unit is to portray the 'wraith-world' that Frodo enters when he puts on the Ring. He couldn't be very specific but mentioned that it was full of 'weird stuff'
- He went on to mention some of the CG creatures: giant octopus,(The Watcher in the Water? - Tehanu) digital doubles for Frodo, trolls, Balrog, Uruk-hai, Treebeard, Shelob, oliphaunt, and of course Gollum.
- He said that Gollum would be the greatest challenge of the movie for him.
- A lot of work had been done on Gollum, but 'he's not there yet'
- Their crowd work, using 'Massive', would raise the bar to new heights for crowd scenes.
- One of the most important things to take into consideration when animating is what music you're listening to at the time.

Many thanks to MN for that.
So, Shelob and Treebeard are in (I've heard people complaining that they weren't)and we have a hint about how they'll show the Ring or its effects when Frodo has it on.