Luca Fascione, Head of Rendering Research at Weta Digital, describes how Weta Digital’s physically-based production renderer Manuka was used in a number on key shots on the recent Dawn of the Planet of the Apes and as the full production renderer on the last The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies.
Luca Fascione is Head of Rendering Research at Weta Digital, where he leads the activity of research around rendering algorithms and material modeling. He joined Weta in 2004 and has also worked at Pixar Animation Studios. The rendering group's software, including PantaRay and Manuka, has been supporting the realization of large scale productions such as Avatar, The Adventures of Tintin, the Planet of the Apes films and The Hobbit trilogy.
Weta Digital is one of the world’s premier visual effects companies. Led by Senior Visual Effects Supervisor Joe Letteri, the studio is known for uncompromising creativity and a commitment to developing innovative technology. Groundbreaking performance-driven digital characters like Smaug, Gollum, Kong, Neytiri and Caesar from Dawn of the Planet of the Apes are widely acknowledged as some of the best digital characters ever put on screen. Weta's development of revolutionary virtual production workflows for Avatar, The Adventures of Tintin and the The Hobbit trilogy of films has firmly integrated digital production techniques into the film production paradigm.
Weta Digital established its reputation for cutting edge visual effects with work on blockbusters like The Lord of the Rings trilogy and King Kong and has five Visual Effects Oscars to its credit. The company began work in 1993 on co-founder Peter Jackson’s film Heavenly Creatures and is based in Wellington, New Zealand.