Middle-earth is a fantastical world of imagined landscapes and many incredible digital creatures. We completed almost 2000 VFX shots for the film, encompassing hero digital performance work, large scale water and fire simulations, complex digital environments, digital doubles of a large cast, and extensive creature work. Take a glimpse at the invention, artistry and innovation that the artists at Weta Digital used to make it all come together in The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug.
On their quest to reclaim the dwarvish kingdom of Erebor from the dragon Smaug, Bilbo and the company of dwarves travel through the wilds of Middle-earth, from the cold and mysterious Lake-town to the wild rapids of the barrel escape and the sinister forest of Mirkwood. Weta Digital’s ‘real-world’ approach to virtual lighting and camera work helped sculpt the story of their incredible journey through Middle-earth. From initial previs to the final shot, see how virtual cinematography worked alongside traditional cameras and lighting in this exclusive making-of clip.
Bringing Smaug to Life
Smaug is a complex and enormous character, twice the size of a jumbo jet and covered in over a million unique scales. Featuring the voice of Benedict Cumberbatch whose performances also inspired his motion, we built Smaug layer by layer, from the shape of his skeleton to the way he moves to the texture of his skin. The result is an intimate and engaging portrayal of the iconic Tolkien moment where Bilbo confronts the Dragon. See how our artists bought this well known character to life.
Laketown: The Devil is in the Details
Travel through Middle-earth’s city on the lake as it evolves from early pencil sketches to the bustling streets seen in the film. See all the elements come together to bring stunning scale and detail to one of the film’s most important settings.
Animating the Barrel Sequence
Weta Digital presents a peek inside the world of the animation team as they work out how to solve one of the most complicated shots in Peter Jackson’s film, The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug. As part of an epic seven-minute action sequence, Bombur’s bouncing barrel shot required an elaborate approach. See how our animators suited up and used their own performances as part of the animation process.
Presented and directed by Dave Clayton; edited by Neil Mayo; camera work by Victor Huang; produced by Amy Minty.
Creating a Waterlogged Action Sequence-Design
Director Peter Jackson and FXguide’s Mike Seymour reveal how a pivotal seven-minute action sequence in The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug was created with a combined 98 hours of footage from aerial shots, green-screen sets, live-action shoots, and complex CG environments.
Changes & Outtakes between trailer & theater/bluray version