For filmmakers on the cutting edge, moviemaking has become a technological dance on an increasingly virtual stage, Wired reports. Producers now have virtual worlds built before shooting starts and routinely blur the difference between animation and live action. And though glasses are still required, 3-D cartoons are rapidly advancing from throw-away gimmick to the future of movies, advocates say.
“Every technological advance in filmmaking points directly to something like Star Trek's holodeck, where you don't go in and watch the stories—you are actually in there,” says the man who did the 3-D work on Monsters vs. Aliens, a movie filmed entirely in 3-D. The next big leap could come from James Cameron’s much-anticipated Avatar, which promises an unprecedented, photorealistic blend of 3-D and live action.