Apple’s Shake credited with helping Lord of the Rings grab ‘Best Visual Effects’ Oscar

Last night’s 76th Annual Academy Awards presentation marked the seventh consecutive year Apple’s Shake compositing software has played a crucial role in the film winning the Academy Award for Best Visual Effects. The 2004 winners in this category from Weta Digital credited Shake as a key element in the creation of “The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King.”

“We’re thrilled that for seven years in a row, movies created with Shake have won the Oscar for best visual effects,” said Steve Jobs, Apple’s CEO in the press release. “Shake is helping Hollywood film editors communicate their vision and deliver their art at an Academy Award winning level. We couldn’t be happier.”

“We could not have done ‘The Lord of the Rings’ trilogy without Shake’s fast compositing speed, quality and extensibility,” said Joe Letteri, Weta Digital’s Academy Award winning visual effects supervisor in the press release. “Shake was the cornerstone of our visual compositing pipeline.”

Weta Digital used Shake to blend numerous visual effects components in “The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King,” including live action set passes, digital characters and creatures, set extensions and digital environments. Shake rendered incredibly huge shots and was key in fine-tuning the overall look and feel of every aspect of a shot including colors, composition and camera movement.

More info about Apple’s Shake here.


  1. “I wonder if they used Mac OSX or Linux with Shake …”

    I’d say OS X because of the iPods they used on the sets. There could also be many other reasons why they may have used Apple, all speculation on my part, such as the use of Final Cut Pro, does anyone know what other Apps were used in The Lord of The Rings?

  2. Interesting stuff on Shake and LoTR from Apples site:

    Don’t see them mention OS X so I’m thinking it was probably done with Shake running on Linux. Remember, the G5’s didn’t come out till last fall and there is no way the G4’s could keep up with PC’s for rendering.

    Another older article on it. This one mentions 52 GUI licenses and 100 render-only licenses.

  3. Try both platforms: �Because Shake works seamlessly on multi-platforms, we could cater to the needs and comfort zones of compositors who came to the production from all over the world, especially towards the end of post-production, when we hired on additional freelance staff. Some compositors would be working on two workstations side-by-side running Shake on different platforms.�

  4. Didn’t apple buy shake in 2002? So, I guess it’s not really thier own. But I guess that’s what apple does well, OSX (bsd) Final Cut (macromedia) Logic (some other doesn’t come to mind right now.)

Reader Feedback

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.