I was absolutely taken away by the quality of the other 3 Hobbit Chronicle books published by the WETA Workshop, and was interested to see what they would have to tell about Smaug that was not told in the Creatures and Characters. (There is very little on Smaug in that Chronicle book actually). I am not a computer graphics maniac or expert, but found this Chronicle Companion well worth buying. I now totally agree that designing and creating this one character for the film deserved it's own book like the Gollum book did written by Andy Serkins. This Smaug book is less a personal account rather than a compilation of very interesting comments made by all the contributors, shaders, texture artists, animators, sculptors, etc. all describing a little piece of their art that made this one amazing CGI character come to life. I am always humbled by the absolute maximalist approach of the WETA team, covered by Daniel Falconer. Beutifully illustrated with hundreds of original concept art, it is a true companion book to Weta's the Hobbit Chronicles series. If you like those, you can't possible miss this!
You love Dragons?... You Love Smaug?... Then scroll back up and click BUY!!! OMG!!!
I was looking for more information about Smaug, because lets face it, he's the best Dragon brought to life ever! With all the other books about the Hobbit, there has been very little, if anything at all about Smaug, I even waited for the small section in the extended edition of the DVD's to see more footage.. THIS book... every... EVERYTHING I wanted to see in all the other books out there. This is wall to wall Smaug! it makes my heart sing to flick through this thin, but glossy book. it's now going to sit with all my other dragon books. NOT disappointed one single bit!
Smaug is in my opinion the single greatest aspect of The Hobbit trilogy - not to mention one of the great achievements in visual effects history. This book looks at all the aspects of bringing the character to life: designing the dragon; concept art and previs; building models at Weta Workshop; complexities of the CGI animation; shading and textures; the voice/performance of Benedict Cumberbatch.
The book is meant to be a companion piece to the Hobbit Chronicles book series (which delved into the art and design of the entire trilogy). "Unleashing the Dragon" is smaller in size compared to those book, not to mention much shorter (coming in at just over 100 pages) - but its subject matter makes it every bit as interesting as the other books in the series.
Highly recommended for fans of the "Hobbit" trilogy, particularly if you enjoyed the character of Smaug.
This book gives in depth insight into the talents of Weta Workshops. In a world of painting and sculpture, these artists have created something exceptional in Smaug and are obviously very proud of him. I had no idea there was so much work involved. Amazing from concept to finished article.
This book is impressively detailed, covering all stages of development from initial concept sketches through all stages of computer design and animation. Would highly recommend to any fan of the film or modern films in general as an excellent guide to CGI use.