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'Avatar': Behind the scenes at Weta Digital

To celebrate the release of the Avatar Extended Collector's Edition, CNET Australia got to go behind the scenes at Weta studios to witness how the movie was made.

motion capture on Avatar
Instead of computer-animating the Na'vi, "Avatar" creators used a technique known as "motion capture," which helps to create more natural-looking characters. Click on the image for more pictures from the behind-the-scenes tour. Ty Pendlebury/CNET Australia

New Zealand may be known as the home of "Lord of the Rings," but you may not know that it's also the unofficial birthplace of "Avatar."

You see, Peter Jackson's Weta Workshop in Wellington is behind the special effects of films such as "Heavenly Creatures" and "Prince Caspian." But more famously, it has produced the effects in both the "Lord of the Rings" trilogy and "Avatar." In fact, the company was working up until July to finish work on the Extended Edition of the "Avatar" Blu-ray version.

To celebrate the release of the Avatar Extended Collector's Edition, CNET Australia got to go behind the scenes at Weta studios to witness how the movie was made. As this extensive photo gallery shows, we were taken through each step of the process--from motion capture through to the finished product.