Render farms; was: Re: Playing can you top that

Subject: Render farms; was: Re: Playing can you top that
From: David Neeley <dbneeley -at- gmail -dot- com>
To: techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com
Date: Mon, 19 Oct 2009 12:46:41 +0400


I could easily be mistaken, but I was under the impression that
Pixar's render farm contains 1024 machines, each with multiple
multi-core chips.

I do know it is a Linux cluster, by the way. Those have become
ubiquitous in Hollywood these days, often running proprietary software
created by the effects house itself. The first major movie I am aware
of that relied upon that sort of setup extensively was Titanic--all
the CGI effects were created on such a cluster.

As it happens, I lived in when some of the early movies came out using
digital effects. I met a few of the effects folks from Disney at the
time, I remember discussing how they did the computer-generated
effects on some animated films. Their first was "Beauty and the
Beast"--and that was mostly for one scene--where "Beauty" and "Beast"
were dancing. The "painted" ceiling and the lighting--ostensiby from
wall sconce lights around the room--were all done with computer
techniques. Next, "Aladdin" used much more--the audience's favorite
"character" -- the magic carpet -- was all done as wireframe with the
"rug" design applied as a surface texture. Very cool stuff...


> From: "Gene Kim-Eng" <techwr -at- genek -dot- com>
> To: "Technical Writing" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com>
> Date: Sat, 17 Oct 2009 09:00:30 -0700
> Subject: Re: Playing can you top that (was Re: #5 on the list of Low StressJobs)
> It still takes a long time, because the complexity of the rendered frames has increased as the capabilities of the rendering tools and systems have.  But the big guns use rendering farms.  A master system sends individual frames to networked slaves that render multiple frames simultaneously, so that a 100-frame animation is rendered in the time required to render a single frame.  Then the master combines all the frames.  The rendering farm at Pixar Studios contains 1024 rackmounted 2.8 GHz processors.
> Gene Kim-Eng

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