The visual effects that help make films such as “Avatar” and “The Hobbit” trilogy come to life took center stage on May 3 when four-time Academy Award winner Joe Letteri visited Clemson University.

Letteri, the senior VFX supervisor at Weta Digital, has been at the forefront of many modern techniques and specializes in the creation of realistic characters, ranging from the dinosaurs of “Jurassic Park” to Caesar in “Rise of the Planet of the Apes.”

Joe Letteri

Joe Letteri

His talk, “Bringing the Virtual to Reality: Creating the VFX Image,” was in 119 McAdams Hall.

Letteri has won Academy Awards for Best Visual Effects on “Avatar,” “The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers,” “The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King” and “King Kong.”

He also received the Academy’s Technical Achievement Award for co-developing the subsurface scattering technique that brought the character Gollum to life in “The Hobbit.”

At Clemson, Letteri discussed the changing landscape of visual effects creation and the integration of virtual tools into the film production process.

Most recently, Letteri has been focused on Steven Spielberg’s adaptation of the Roald Dahl book “The BFG” and Luc Besson’s new sci-fi epic, “Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets.”

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