Development of Avatar commenced in 1994 by Cameron, who wrote an 80-page script for the film. Filming was supposed to take place after the completion of Titanic, and the film would have been released in 1999, but according to Cameron, “technology needed to catch up” with his vision of the film. In early 2006, Cameron developed the script, the language, and the culture of Pandora. He has stated that if Avatar is successful, two sequels to the film are planned.
In terms of cutting edge technologies used, Avatar marks the coming of age of both CGI (Computer-Generated Imagery) and 3-D cinema with its art house special effects and its shock and awe treatment. Performance capture technology, which creates computerized images from real human action, was used in this movie so that every action is more real and palpable. The cast had motion-capture suits that carried sensors, which enabled the computers to store the movements of the body showing performance capture.
According to a report, the makers of the movie had designed an exclusive hi-def 3D camera ensemble which weighs around 50 pounds and used a mix of two Sony HDC-F950 HD cameras at a distance of 2.5 inches from face in order to capture the stereoscopic separation of human eyes. It means that the system has two camera lenses that converge on a focal point with the help of a computer and helps in smooth camera moves and action sequences.
Also the information from the cameras produced a digital framework, or rig, of an actor’s face. “The rig was then given a set of rules that applied the muscle movements of each actor’s face to that of the Avatar. To make a computer-generated character express the same emotion as a human actor, the rig had to translate every arch of a human eyebrow directly to the digital character’s face.”