Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring (2001)

Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring (2001) 


First CGI forced perspective, First true crowd AI ("MASSIVE" technology)

Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring
Original Poster

Video (4K HDR)

CGI making of video


1) "MASSIVE" technology allowed thousands of individual animated "characters" in the program to act independently. This helped give the illusion of realism to the battle sequences. The "Making of" Lord of the Rings DVD reports some interesting initial problems: in the first execution of a battle between groups of characters, the wrong groups attacked each other. In another early demo, some of the warriors at the edge of the field could be seen running away. They were initially moving in the wrong direction, and had been programmed to keep running until they encountered an enemy.

2) The digital creatures were important due to Jackson's requirement of biological plausibility. Their surface was scanned from large maquettes before numerous digital details of their skeletons and muscles were added.

3) "MASSIVE" made armies of CG orcs, elves, and humans. These digital creations could "think" and battle independently - identifying friend or foe - thanks to individual fields of vision. Peter Jackson's team could click on one creature in a crowd scene of 20,000 and see through his "eyes". Different species even boast unique fighting styles. 

4) It's common practice with a high budget feature film to have more than one unit shooting at any one time, usually two or three. With "The Lord of the Rings", there were occasions when there would be between five and seven units shooting at any given time.

5) Before production began, it had to be determined whether computer effects could convincingly create battle scenes featuring thousands and thousands of warriors. Peter Jackson invested his own money in the pursuit of this software. 

6) Forced perspective is a technique which employs optical illusion to make an object appear farther away, closer, larger or smaller than it actually is. It manipulates human visual perception through the use of scaled objects and the correlation between them and the vantage point of the spectator or camera. This movie used forced perspective mixed with CGI to present actors interacting in the shot.