Peter "Ring Lord" Jackson recruits hair expert

The director of the Lord of the Rings, Peter Jackson has found a bloke to sort out his hair problems.

Jackson’s Weta Studios is doing the computer animation for the remake of the Rise of the Apes, which is the back story to 1968 movie Planet Of The Apes. The only problem is getting the computers at Weta studios in Wellington to render hair correctly.

According to TVNZ he has beaten a path to the door of the interestingly named Eitan Grinspun who is Columbia University’s computer graphics group director.

Out of all the jobs in the universe to be an expert in, Grinspun is apparently the world’s expert when it comes to making computers deal with hair.

Jackson’s computer outfit Weta Digital, sent its software development team head Alasdair Coull out to offer him a job. Coull said not a lot of people can make hair or fur look convincingly real when it is twisted, clumped, matted, coiled, soaked, wind-swept, or singed and Grinspun is apparently the man.

Coull contacted Grinspun after reading about his inventions in hair simulation and fur grooming.

Weta created screen images for both Avatar and The Lord Of The Rings trilogy is having a bad hair day with a number of its projects. The computer-generated apes who take over the world in Rise Of The Apes have a lot of hair to play with. Then there is Steven Spielberg’s forthcoming version of the adventures of Tintin. His dog Snowy’s hair needs constant attention.

Grinspun uses precise mathematical equations based on physics, rather than jury-rigged computer models that had to be forced to simulate both curly hair and straight hair.

The software uses discrete differential geometry which is so new that the first textbook on the subject was published only two years ago. The same tools are also being used for computer simulations to predict how needles move through human flesh, so that doctors can train to surgery on “virtual” bodies instead of the real thing. Or stick swords into bodies in Fantasy flicks.

We would have thought it would be easier to hire good actors who don’t have much hair. I am ready for my cameo, Peter.