Avatar didn't sweep the Oscar nominations just because of its amazing special effects — it captured the hearts and imaginations of Academy voters because of its world-building. Here's the complete history of the movie's intricate world, from the designers themselves.
We've also got some incredible original concept art, much of which hasn't been seen anywhere else yet.
The designers explain how the spaceship ISV VentureStar works, how the Na'Vi hair-braids connect to the planet, and much, much more. Check it out!
"The challenge was to make brightly colored creatures that didn't look like plastic toys," says designer Yuri Bartoli. Adds Robert Stromberg, "Obviously the danger is that it's going to look like a blacklight Elvis painting." Read more.
Cameron looked at it and said, "That's my movie. That's the first time I've actually seen my movie." And "that image became the first image of Pandora as it's seen in the movie," says Stromberg. Read more.
Once everything was sketched and designed, Weta Workshop and tons of other designers worked on creating physical props, including Na'Vi artifacts and tons of human tools. Learn more about the rationale behind every piece of Na'Vi design, and the weird in-jokes and logos on every bit of hardware. Read more.
This is the third installment of our irregular series of interviews with designers and artists who worked on James Cameron's Avatar. The first one is here, and the second one is here. After we did the first article, we kept hearing from more designers who worked on the film and were eager to talk to us, and then they put us in touch with other designers who'd worked on the film too. At this point, we've talked to 17 or 18 people who helped realize James Cameron's vision of Avatar.