Originally Posted by chadbang
Gee, I remember seeing Lord of the Rings about 8 YEARS AGO and I still think Gollum was far more realistic than any character in Avatar.
Sorry for not making it clear- I should have said “This is the first time motion captured characters can act and move convincingly”.
ALL the good and realistic looking scenes of Gollum were 100% hand animated and not motion captured. In Avatar, the realistic and convincing movement of the CG characters is more the result of advanced motion capture technology, meaning that the movement of the actors can be transferred to a computer generated character directly(almost). Although the facial expressions still need a lot of work done by hand, on the whole it is a big step forward. Peter Jackson’s Weta digital is the main force behind both Lord of the Rings and Avatar.
I got some of the above info about Gollum from my colleague, Jason Schleifer, who was the lead animator of the character. If it is wrong I’ll blame him.