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The Art of Avatar: James Cameron's Epic Adventure Hardcover – November 30, 2009

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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Lisa Fitzpatrick has been a writer and editor for over 15 years. She has created illustrated books for a wide variety of films and television shows including Kung Fu Panda, 24, Star Wars, Shrek, Madagascar, and The X-Files, as well as anniversary editions for Sony Pictures Imageworks and the USC School of Cinematic Arts. She lives in San Francisco.
Peter Jackson is a three-time Academy Award-winning director, producer, and screenwriter, best known for The Lord of the Rings trilogy.
Jon Landau is an Academy Award-winning producer and former executive vice president at Twentieth Century Fox, and is currently a partner in James Cameron's Lightstorm Entertainment.

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 108 pages
  • Publisher: Harry N. Abrams; Media tie-in edition (November 30, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0810982862
  • ISBN-13: 978-0810982864
  • Product Dimensions: 11.9 x 0.6 x 10 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (74 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #120,875 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

81 of 88 people found the following review helpful By Parka TOP 50 REVIEWER on December 7, 2009
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Length: 0:25 Mins
(I've updated this review a bit after watching the movie.)

If you're blown away by the visual quality of the Pandora, as shown in the trailers, you'll be glad to see that majority of the art in this book are on the environments. There are also designs for the plants, animals, vehicles and the Pandora inhabitants, the Na'vi. Weta Workshop is also roped in to provide some models and help in designing the Na'vi. The creativity behind the design and the scale of work is of course amazing.

The downside is there are only 108 pages, which is underwhelming considering that every set and prop in the movie is made totally from imagination. They certainly could have packed more pages but the price is also lower for that matter.

This book didn't include as much preliminary designs as I hoped, like the iterations they had to do to get to the final designs. The only area where there are iterations are the character designs for the Na'vi. The rest, like the flora, fauna, vehicles and sets look pretty close to the finalized designs.

Most of the art in this book look computer generated (not that it's a bad thing) and there are very few pencil sketches. Quite a few pieces created with mixed medium are a bit jarring to me, like mixing photos with digital painting for backgrounds. Again, nothing wrong with mixing medium but some of the styles just clash and calls for attention in the wrong way.

The writeup talks mainly about the design concepts and very little on the production. Stereocopy, which James Cameron is an advocate of, is used, but it's only briefly mentioned.

I'm intrigued that James Cameron actually wrote the script in 1995. But he had to wait until 2006 before technology was (deemed) advanced enough (for him) to make the film.
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53 of 56 people found the following review helpful By R. Sardrena on December 4, 2009
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Have you ever eaten at a fancy restaurant? A massive plate arrives, with a tiny morsel of exquisitely-prepared food, sitting in a puddle of sauce. The Art of Avatar is similar. It's a lavishly-made tie-in for James Cameron's fantasy film. The brief bits of text mention that this film required an army of concept artists over a decade to create. Looking at the beautiful paintings within, one can appreciate that artistry. The problem is that this large hardcover book is so thin! It's barely one-hundred pages long, and feels like fifty.

It is a nice addition to one's "Art of" collection, but there are so many rival books that offer better value. The Art of Halo, a stylistically-similar book, is one example. Recent offerings by Design Studio Press might also appeal to the reader.
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38 of 40 people found the following review helpful By Night owl on December 10, 2009
Format: Hardcover
Sure, the art that's there is impressive, but there not much of it. Overblown single images spanning two pages that would have been better as a half page, little text, and barely over 100 pages. Sorry, but compared to most "art of" books out that this is a paltry little rip-off that should have been sold as a magazine. Where is the REST of the art? That can't be more than 10% (at best) of what was produced. Did the author only want to feature a handful of images from her favorite artists and ignore everyone else that had input into the film? Was it laziness, just rushed to the presses, favoritism or some absurd studio politics that made this volume so weak?
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By David Schleifer on January 3, 2010
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
It is really a shame. One of the best movies I've seen, and one of the best collection of art from that movie is in this book, great details and descriptions and it gives you a general touch of the imagination of James Cameron... that's the good news.

James Cameron and his crew should get in touch with the publisher immediately!!!! So far I have two copies of this book, and both of them have bad binding. The pages literally fell apart in the second week. I bought a second copy, but one of the centerfold spreads was sliced instead of folded, and again the pages are popping out of the book. Also the book cover jacket was not folded correctly. Being a published Science Fiction writer myself and noticing some problems with my own works, I was able to correct with my publisher on any problems... This book has major binding problems. Both copies were bought with three weeks in between so as not to get the same batch.

If not for the pages falling out, this review would have been a full five stars.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful By no on January 16, 2010
Format: Hardcover
There were a fleet of concept artists who worked on this film, and my hope was that this book would contain a lush group of sketches, matte paintings, concept designs and 3d models along with a commentary on the creative process and perhaps some insight into the process of translating acting directly into character movement and expression. Instead, low resolution images fill two page spreads, as do incomplete digital collages clearly created to sketch out lighting for a scene and not to illustrate a landscape itself. Dialogue is largely fawning over Cameron's creative genius and focuses very little on the process by which images were created by the artists, whose names are mentioned en-masse in the opening pages and sparingly if at all for the remainder. Everything you see in the book, you will already have noticed upon first viewing the movie. Binding started coming apart from the first opening and upon flipping through for the fourth time since buying the book, four page segments have fallen straight out. I really really wish they had taken advantage of all this book could have been. The placement and sizing of images is beyond amateur.

If you are interested in concept design elements of this movie, buy "Avatar, an activist survival guide". Many more images, including those of earth. Better presentation and softback binding that doesnt fall to bits. Whilst the text is entirely fictional and presents no insight into the creative process, nor does The Art Of Avatar.
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