Father's Flicks
Movie Reviews
Film Links
About Us
Contact Us

Miles Bellas, Digital Artist

Miles Bellas
    Computer Animator


Miles Bellas, Computer Animator, has an impressive resume. He worked on all three Lord Of The Rings Movies while living in New Zealand. He also did computer effects for Titanic, The Fifth Element, Televisions Buffy The Vampire Slayer and the recent theatrical release of Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban.

Miles Bellas: IMDb Filmography

Answer This?
    Q&A with Miles Bellas
Film Addiction : What particular scenes did you help develop in LOTR: Return of the King?

Miles Bellas: I worked on the Gondorian and Orc massive agents among others. I also did foundation work on the Fell Beast, Gollum, the Troll Agent etc....  but most of that latest, final work being done belongs to newer people. I just help
develop those things.

FA: Are you at all interested in developing a total GC realistic movie such as a movie like Final Fantasy?

MB:CG brings an element of magic, and some of the most surreal moments in that film, are the strongest, I would certainly be interested if I connected with
the stories and designs.

FA: Besides the Harry Potter project, what other projects lie on the
horizon for you?

MB:Well I am developing an animated short film with a company called The Box in Manchester. I wrote the script, did the designs. I will be my directorial

FA: I asked earlier about the latest developments in your field. Are you personally involved in the creation of any of the new CG software?

MB: I do see and era where freeware could start to become so advanced as to eclipse some commercially available software. The fact that Colin Doncaster's Liquid and high quality renderers such as  Aqsis are available is revolutionary in the field. The previous price limitations on a professional graphics works station are gone.
FA: Back to Lord of the Rings; Did you begin CG work after principal photography or was that integrated throughout the shoot?

MB:It was integrated. I began before principal photography though, that was
quite a big day when the project officially started, everyone in the crew
went to a large hangar WETA was renting and the entire LOTR production
received a blessing from a local Maori tribal chief.

What we basically did was establish pipelines, creatures and methodologies
that were carried through until the end.  Guy Williams worked on advanced
lighting and rendering techniques and me and Mel James painted the first
massive agents, the first Gollum, the very first versions of a lot of
creatures. This CG work became assimilated into the live plates as the data
became available online.

FA: Did you live in New Zealand during the  shoot of LOTR? Where are you currently based?

MB:Yes, I lived in a nice house overlooking Miramar, I currently live in Kensington, London.

FA: How much does the live action director dictate what you do visually (using Alfonso Cuarón of Harry Potter as a point of reference).

MB:Its all about matching to that plate and we go to technical extremes to do
it.Framestore has an amazing system called Truelight that is probably one of
the most accurate in the world, so matching the creature to the plate has
been very sucessful.

FA: Comparing the upcoming Harry Potter and LOTR, what is the difference in the scale of these productions (in terms of the CG team).

MB:Framestore is a stable company that has built it's pipeline over many years.
What essentially happened at WETA is that the company was created around
this project.
The Prisoner of Azkaban work has been distributed between a few companies,
but Framestore is working on the central winged creature.

FA: What are the latest tools at your disposal in Computer Animation (what are the latest and greatest programs for CG)?

MB:We are using a custom feather system here called "splat" developed by
Stephan Deverly, Dave Lomax and Alex Parkinson that is doing one of the most
tricky CG tasks, feathers, to the maximum level currently avilable 
technology can handle.


Miles File: Titanic

 I worked on James Cameron's "Titanic" for about a year. I hand animated people on board the deck, walking, talking and sunbathing. These animated creatures were based off mocap data. These CG people were then carefully tracked onto the model and cg ship. The people were animated in Softimage under the supervision of Daniel Robichaud and Andre Bustanoby.

 They appear in many different places in many different shots throughout the movie. I learned a lot of techniques to replicate human behaviour digitally such as balance, secondary motion and offsetting motion curves to replicate genuine timing from Daniel Robichaud. I also was fortunate to have done a significant part in one of the most dramatic of the Titanic effects shots; TD35, later known as the "King of the World" shot, under the supervision of Howie Muzika. Jim Cameron termed this one of the "tent pole" shots; meaning they hold the movie up.

Here I did a intricate paint fix of the central two figures at the bow of the ship. You will notice on the green screen that Jack and Fabrizzio were behind a T-shaped bar, and many green wires crossed their hands and faces. This proved a very difficult task to eliminate in the composite, so I had to repaint the actors clothes and details in where the bar and wires intersected. This was quite difficult as I was creating fluid reality with film grain and minor motion blur...

....all painted seamlessly by hand to maintain correct pixel value.....

Images from Miles' Demo Reel for Titanic

This may be a tent pole shot, but it's also digital surgery ! TD35 starts when the camera zooms back revealing about 30 people involved in various activities on the deck of the ship. The camera continues past the billowing smokestacks and the ship sails off into a cg sea. It appears totally real yet isn't! The boat was a very large intricate model and the sky, water, wake, smoke and people are CG. There is a general consensus at DD that this is one of the most successful and groundbreaking effects shots in the entire movie. I'm delighted to have worked on such a prominent part. -Miles Bellas

*Miles File from Mr. Bellas' website: