The Avatar Plug-in List
Prime Focus used the full version of it proprietary particle system Krakatoa, available as a plug-in for 3ds Max, to generate the film’s holotable imagery, notably the 3D terrain of the Home Tree. Krakatoa was used to enhance the images with scan lines and LIDAR-like results, as if the footage had been captured by satellites scanning the planet’s atmosphere. Krakatoa was also used to treat images brought up on the Holotables by military personnel in the Ops Center scenes.
For 3D Composites: The Foundry’s Ocula, Keylight and Furnace
In London, Framestore used The Foundry’s Ocula, as well as Keylight and Furnace, to coax along an otherwise punishing compositing schedule. Says Jonathan Fawkner, the shop’s VFX supervisor, “On Avatar, we had an optical stereo image to deal with, so, in essence, double the usual workload. It involved a hideous number of man hours. We simply don’t do conventional working days.” Ocula has evolved into a set of plug-ins and now ships in version 2.
For Glows, Flares and Refractions: Knoll Light Factory and GenArts Sapphire
Though Weta Digital and Cameron’s own Lightstorm Entertainment created the majority of the film’s CGI, ILM was brought in about one year ago to help with critical scenes, in particular, the many specialized vehicles and fiery explosions seen in close-up. John Knoll, VFX supervisor for Avatar at ILM and a co-creator of the eponymous lens flare plug-in, confirms that Red Giant Software’s Knoll Light Factory was used throughout the film. ILM, long-time users of Sapphire Sparks on its SABRE-ized Inferno systems, also dipped heavily into the GenArts plug-in suite.
*Updated*For Particle, Blur and Warp Effects within After Effects: Trapcode Particular and Form, Red Giant Warp and RE:Vision Effects ReelSmart Motion Blur
Stephen Lawes, Creative Director for the Pixel Liberation Front (PLF) in LA used these popular plug-ins within After Effects to composite shots and create motion graphics.
For Simulating Depth of Field Effects and Color Correction: Frischluft Lenscare and Curves
PLF’s Lawes also used these two plug-ins to generate depth-of-field effects during the post process, color correct and minimize 3D render times.