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James Cameron's "Avatar" to Break New Ground in CGI Animation

An article in the New York Times details the innovations behind James Cameron’s upcoming movie Avatar (registration required), an ambitious project that will use a variety of new technologies and techniques to integrate computer-generated animation and live-action footage. The work will involve both motion-capture and traditional CGI effects work with innovations like a camera that will allow Cameron to observe virtual performances on the fly. The article also discusses how Cameron hopes to avoid the costly budget overruns that nearly scuttled his film Titanic before it was released.

The movie centers on a wounded space marine who can embody an alien version of himself. It is currently scheduled for release in Summer 2009.

In a related story, the title of Cameron’s movie (to be released by 20th Century Fox) is causing friction with Paramount, which just announced a trilogy of live-action movies based on Nickelodeon’s Avatar the Last Airbender cartoon.

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