by Noemi Bodino, Michela Pratola, Giulia Tasca

Original title: The Lord of the Rings
Country of production: New Zealand, USA
Genres: fantasy, adventure, epic
Directed by: Peter Jackson
Produced by: Peter Jackson, Barrie M. Osborne, Fran Walsh, Tim Sanders – New Line Cinema
Special Effects: Joe Letteri, Richard Taylor, Jim Reyel
Academy Award for Best Special Effects in 2002 – 2003 – 2004.

    The trilogy  consists of:

  • The Lord of the Rings – The Fellowship of the Ring (2001)
  • The Lord of the Rings – The Two Towers (2002)
  • The Lord of the Rings – The Return of the King (2003)

In The Lord of the Rings trilogy the creators often used Massive, a software that allows you to quickly and easily create thousands of individuals: creators used this software to reproduce horses, soldiers ready to fight and large crowds. We decided specifically to reproduce the bow of the immense army in the presence of the four hobbits that you can see in the third film of the trilogy.

    We tried different techniques that are present in the software After Effects noticing their peculiarities:

  • Trapcode Particular is an external plug-in for AE that provides the necessary tools required to generate and animate particle systems.
  • Trapcode Form is always an external plug-in and it is a 3D particle system placed in grid. Unlike Particular, particles generated from Form don’t have controlled duration and remain constant over time. The grid can also take the shape of any 3D object.

To replicate the crowd we shot the bow of six people in a wide open space which will be populated by the multitude of people in post-production. Once we applied the mask to each individual, they were placed in a new composition, and we decided to use the Trapcode Form because it allows an ordered multiplication with the Base Form Grid-Layered.
We also deleted some noise elements present into the scene with the tool Clone Stamp and we did some Color Correction.

The Lord of the Rings also does an extensive use of Matte Painting, which provides in large part to the use of digital painting techniques, 3D models and rendering CG with the use of layering and compositing techniques.
Also in this case we wanted to reproduce the scene present in the first film in which the company sails through Argonath’s doors.
The basic idea is to do a mix up between the shoot and still images. After doing some compositing, the material assembled was homogenized (especially the lights) using the tools Brightness & Contrast and Ramp to create the effect of the cloudy sky and the shadow of the mountain on the water. Final step was to insert the Motion Camera to recreate the swaying of the canoe.The mix of properties that you can add lets you hide the gap between the different elements.



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