Worlds Oldest University (湖南大学) & Avatar Hallelujah Mountains (阿凡达-哈利路亚山)


xRez’s Eric Hanson was invited to give a workshop on Digital Set and Visual Effects Techniques at Hunan University in Changsha, China. Hunan University is one of the oldest universities in the world, established in 976 AD. At the conclusion of the workshop the university generously offered Eric an honorary professorship. In over a thousand years of operation Eric was the first Westerner granted this honor at Hunan University.

After the workshop Eric had the opportunity to visit Wulingyuan National Park. The park was designated a UNESCO Scenic and Historic site in 1992. In addition to the striking beauty of the 3000 stone columns staggered across the landscape, the region is home to a number of endangered plants and animals.

His visit pre-dated the release of the landmark film “Avatar”. He shot the following gigapixel image of the 150 meter quartz-sandstone formation called “Pillar between Heaven and Earth” (乾坤柱).

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This stunning geological park inspired the design of the floating mountains on planet “Pandora” in the film. After it was released and became a worldwide success, the Tourism Bureau of Zhangjiajie renamed the mountain range to the “Avatar Hallelujah Mountains” (阿凡达-哈利路亚山) in honor of their use in the film.

We will be showing a 5 x 7 foot version of this image as a gigapixel print at our upcoming show at the G2 Gallery in Venice California in April 2011.

You can also read about another xRez trip to China here.

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