War for the Planet of the Apes is the third film in the critically acclaimed Planet of the Apes series. While the story centers around an epic battle of the species, the heart of the film lies with the ape leader Caesar as he battles with his inner demons and quest for revenge.  

As the apes’ level of sentience has developed over three installments, so too has Weta Digital’s techniques and toolsets for translating human performances into digital apes. In particular, Weta Digital’s experienced team of facial animators have mastered the art of creating nuanced emotional performances. Their skill is on full display with the returning original CG cast, as well as unique new-comers Bad Ape, Red and Winter.  

“We’re constantly evolving new strategies, new techniques, new technologies, to raise the bar of what’s possible.”

Anders Langlands - Weta Digital Visual Effects Supervisor

“This movie contains some of the finest facial performance for Caesar that we have ever done on a digital character. He goes places that he hasn’t gone before emotionally"

Dan Lemmon - Weta Digital Visual Effects Supervisor

Weta Digital has pushed their onset performance capture technology further than ever before, using it in extreme conditions including mud, rain and snow.  Along with the captured motion onset, their new lighting pipeline tools were able to take full advantage of the lighting reference onset.  Using their proprietary path-tracer Manuka, and a new suite of tools called PhysLight, they were able to accurately model light energy at each wavelength and propagate it throughout the virtual scene, matching the exact response of the live action camera.  This understanding of the physics of lighting captured on set, allowed for natural integration between live-action and rendered elements and a much greater level of realism.

“There is some fantastic acting that the performers did on-set and the animators at Weta Digital were able to carry across onto the digital characters.”

Dan Lemmon - Weta Digital Visual Effects Supervisor

Improvements to the lighting pipeline were also beneficial when it came to interactive snow on skin and fur.  The level of detail put into the fur grooms, particularly when it came to the interaction of the elements, was far greater than previous films, allowing for the complicated clumping and distribution of snow throughout the fur that visually anchored the CG apes in shot.

“When we did Rise of the Planet of the Apes, the techniques that we had for lighting fur were approximate. Now we have pushed that all into the software, which behaves as if you were outside in the real world photographing nature.”

Joe Letteri - Weta Digital Senior Visual Effects Supervisor.

We had a huge variety of work to cover in this one, from huge full-CG environments to incredibly detailed FX simulations, but the core of the work was on the apes themselves. As with the previous installments, the whole movie revolves around them, and the audience's ability to identify with them as real, breathing characters.”

Anders Langlands - Weta Digital Visual Effects Supervisor

Weta Digital is one of the world’s premier visual effects companies.

Led by Senior Visual Effects Supervisor Joe Letteri, Weta Digital is known for its culture of creativity and innovation. From Gollum to Caesar, Middle-earth to Pandora, the studio has created some of the most memorable characters and worlds of the last twenty years.

War for the Planet of the Apes Official Trailer

The official trailer for War for the Planet of the Apes.

In War for the Planet of the Apes, the third chapter of the critically acclaimed blockbuster franchise, Caesar and his apes are forced into a deadly conflict with an army of humans led by a ruthless Colonel. After the apes suffer unimaginable losses, Caesar wrestles with his darker instincts and begins his own mythic quest to avenge his kind. As the journey finally brings them face to face, Caesar and the Colonel are pitted against each other in an epic battle that will determine the fate of both their species and the future of the planet.

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