Weta Digital
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Weta Digital
IndustryVisual effects, CGI animation
Founded1993; 28 years ago (1993)
HeadquartersWellington, New Zealand
Key people
Peter Jackson, Prem Akkaraju (CEO), Richard Taylor, Joe Letteri, Wes Takahashi, Eileen Moran, David Conley

Weta Digital is a digital visual effects company based in Wellington, New Zealand. It was founded by Peter Jackson, Richard Taylor, and Jamie Selkirk in 1993 to produce the digital special effects for Heavenly Creatures. Weta Digital has won several Academy Awards and BAFTAs.[1]

Weta Digital is part of a number of Peter Jackson's co-owned companies in Wellington which includes Weta Workshop, Weta Productions, Weta Collectibles and Park Road Post Production.

The company is named after the New Zealand w?t?, one of the world's largest insects, which is also featured in the logo.


As of 2017, Weta Digital has won six Academy Awards for Best Visual Effects: 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), King Kong (2005), Avatar (2009), and The Jungle Book (2016). Weta Digital has developed several proprietary software packages to achieve groundbreaking visual effects. The scale of the battles required for The Lord of the Rings film trilogy led to the creation of MASSIVE, a program which can animate huge numbers of agents: independent characters acting according to pre-set rules.[2] To recreate 1933 New York for King Kong, Weta created CityBot, an application which could "build" the city on a shot by shot basis.[3]

Kong's fur also required the development of new simulation and modeling software. A set of tools that combined procedural and interactive techniques added wind to the 460 billion individual strands of fur and modeled interaction with other surfaces. New shaders were written that accounted for the scattering of light from within each hair that added to the volumetric quality of the fur. Large chunks of fur were ripped out and filled in with scars, blood, and the mud of Skull Island. Each frame of fur took 2 gigabytes of data.[4]

For James Cameron's Avatar, Weta modified MASSIVE to give life to the flora and fauna on Pandora, for which the company did most of the visual effects with the four-time Academy Award winner visual effects expert, Joe Letteri,[5] under a team led by executive and producer Eileen Moran.[6] Recently the company has developed their motion capture technique to be able to leave studio for shooting on location, as utilized on the film Rise of the Planet of the Apes and its sequel Dawn of the Planet of the Apes.[7][8]

On 19 June 2020, Weta Digital announced that it would be producing original animation content under the name Weta Animated, was getting a Muti-year Production Deal with Sony Pictures Animation. The company also announced a new chief executive Prem Akkaraju, who comes from Los Angeles.[9]

In mid-September 2020, Weta Digital announced that it had commissioned a Queen's Counsel to carry out an independent review of the company following allegations of alleged bullying, harassment, and a "toxic" workplace culture.[10][11]

In December 2020, Weta Digital CEO Prem Akkaraju announced additional board members including Tom Staggs, Jeff Huber and Ken Kamins. They join current board members Peter Jackson, Fran Walsh, Sean Parker, Prem Akkaraju and Joe Letteri.[12] In late December 2020, an independent review by Miriam Dean QC uncovered 80 complaints of bullying, 120 complaints of poor conduct, and 19 complaints of sexual harassment. Dean recommended internal reforms to address these issues along with misogyny and the gender pay gap.[13][14]

Film and television visual effects filmography

CG depiction of Gollum created by Weta Digital for the Lord of the Rings film trilogy.

See also


  1. ^ "Another visual effects Oscar for Weta Digital?". Wellington.scoop. Retrieved 2010.
  2. ^ "Massive Software". Massive Software. Retrieved 2010.
  3. ^ "Interview with Chris White on King Kong". cgarchitect. Retrieved 2010.
  4. ^ "Bigger and Badder: How Weta Digital Bulked Up for King Kong". Studio Daily. Retrieved 2010.
  5. ^ Alex Ben Block (10 December 2009). "The creatures of 'Avatar' were 15 years in the making". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved 2010.
  6. ^ Barnes, Mike (3 December 2012). "Top Visual Effects Producer Eileen Moran Dies in New Zealand; Worked on 'Avatar,' 'The Hobbit'". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved 2012.
  7. ^ Staskiewicz, Keith. "'Dawn of the Planet of the Apes': See Andy Serkis and others go ape in this side-by-side special-effects video -- EXCLUSIVE". Entertainment Weekly. Entertainment Weekly Inc. Retrieved 2014.
  8. ^ Danny Allen (5 August 2011). "Giz Interviews Weta Digital's Effects Guru, Joe Letteri". Gizmondo. Retrieved 2011.
  9. ^ Wiltshire, Laura (19 June 2020). "Weta Digital will create original content for the first time in 25 year histor". Stuff. Archived from the original on 19 June 2020. Retrieved 2020.
  10. ^ Witton, Bridie (18 September 2020). "Weta Digital calls in QC after sexual harassment allegations". Stuff. Archived from the original on 18 September 2020. Retrieved 2020.
  11. ^ "Weta Digital commissions independent review". Radio New Zealand. 17 September 2020. Archived from the original on 18 September 2020. Retrieved 2020.
  12. ^ Flint, Joe. "Peter Jackson's Special-Effects Firm Looks to Become a Content Producer". Wall Street Journal.
  13. ^ "Weta Digital review shows company had misogynist culture, union boss says". Radio New Zealand. 24 December 2020. Archived from the original on 23 December 2020. Retrieved 2021.
  14. ^ "Independent review of Weta Digital uncovers dozens of complaints". The New Zealand Herald. 23 December 2020. Archived from the original on 4 January 2021. Retrieved 2021.
  15. ^ "The Birth of Weta", 1994, "The Edge" TV series, S2E7
  16. ^ Gilchrist, Todd (17 December 2011). "Effects Supremo Joe Letteri Says Zack Snyder Is Placing Emphasis On In-Camera Effects In 'Man of Steel' | The Playlist". IndieWire. Washington, DC, USA: SnagFilms. Retrieved 2012.
  17. ^ COHEN, DAVID. "Marvel's Alonso to studios: Support Digital Domain". Variety. Retrieved 2012.
  18. ^ "Weta Digital". Retrieved 2015.
  19. ^ Murphy, Mekado (31 July 2017). "Inside Avatar, the Theme Park Version". The New York Times. Retrieved 2017.

External links

  This article uses material from the Wikipedia page available here. It is released under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share-Alike License 3.0.



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