Tuesday, July 21, 2009

MONSTER PCs


During the making of THE MATRIX there were few IT companies which went bust as they underestimated the ‘render time’ for the million of Agent Smith fighting Neo. I told myself ‘so much for render time’ in disbelief. The stark truth is that it is true and as we today move onto more monster render time with the release of Dreamworks Animation new flick Mosters vs. Aliens it nothing but draws us to today’s post on Monster PCs. Read in more details in Digital Studio’s May issue.
The liquid like monsters in Monsters vs. Aliens with their transparent bodies and arms and mouths that disappear would have continued to remain a figment of the artist’s imagination without the power of IT system that helped to render them.
More importantly, this film has been designed for 3D viewing and this bought a whole new set of challenges to the team at Dreamworks Animation.


In the case of Monsters Vs Aliens, it meant the film required more than 4o million computing hours to make – more than eight times as many as the original Shrek and nearly double what it took to create Kung Fu Panda
Stereoscopic images literally double the number of images to be processed because you have to use two cameras – one representing the left eye and one representing the right eye. The processing power to render a 3D scene, therefore, demands even more horsepower from the CPU and graphic cards.
In Monsters vs. Alien, DreamWorks Animation artist rendered nearly 100 terabytes of disk storage; it rendered more than 30 sequences in the movie that would have taken more than 1000 years to render on a single workstation, created one of the most technically challenging sequences of the film involving a flyover of a town, including houses, hills and trees; and also staged an explosion in one of the battle scenes, which required more than three terabytes of disk space alone and bridged 300 physical miles.


Such Monster PCs for this animation film was provided by HP –
Several hundred HP xw8600 workstations were used on site for simultaneous processing. Xeon Quad Core processors while graphic acceleration is provided Nvidea and ATI. Some of the scenes were so complex in details, shades and camera movements that a single scene could use 100 of gigabytes in storage space. This is where the super fast SAS HDDs 15 krpm comes very handy, as well as large RAM memory capacity features on the xw8600.
The war with render time is raging on….

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