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Sunday, May 30, 2004

Went to the LOTR exhibition today at science centre with a group of friends. Thinking that I actually made claims together with some of my NS friends that watching LOTR is a big big "NO". I only watched LOTR 1 prior to this exhibition and because of this outing, I actually went on to watch LOTR 1 again to refresh my usual poor short-term memory and LOTR 2. And as for LOTR 3, I never could find time for that. LOTR isn't that bad after all.

The exhibition hall is not big after all - smaller than the size of an exhibition hall of the Expo's. Almost all costumes of LOTR characters were on display and I noticed that they were all tailored by "Three Foot Six" - a costume company in New Zealand. Ornaments, swords, rings, shields, etc were also among the many items being displayed. Video excerpts of how costumes were tailored, make-up were done, 3D computer graphics (CG) were deployed, etc. I remembered watching an excerpt showing the 10 hours long tiring process required to do makeup on "Uruk-hai" (if my memory works for me). I cannot imagine how one can stand the 10 hour long makeup session.

The ticket costs me $16 and I believed the bulk of it goes to the approximately 3-hours long video clip "Making of LOTR". From the 3-hours extract, there are particularly 2 parts that interests me most. The first part is on how CG and AI are used to create "Massive Crowds" scenes. AI is used to generate random parameters for tens of thousands of armies to determine their physique built, expected next movement, etc. Everything just looked perfect. The second part that amazed me most is the making of Gollum / Smeagol. This character is a withered, piteous creature and does not in any way resembles a human. I bet little will know that many movements of this character actually mimicked by a human by the name of Andy Serkis. He is a choreographer with massive talent. He was actually called on to to focus on voicing Gollum but then the director of LOTR decided and wanted Gollum to be the most interactive digital character ever made for a movie, with a combination of live action and digital animation. This talented and gifted actor's abundance, extensive emotional depth and expressions really impressed me. Of course his face was never on the LOTR show but then he did say his spit (when he tried to imitate Gollum) did appear on the show. I got to add humourous to describe him.


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