Have you watched the feature animation film “Turbo” shown recently? If you haven’t, try to catch it on cinemas if they’re still showing. If not, buy it when it becomes available on DVD. It’s one of the inspiring animation movie I’ve seen and its worth watching by kids and adults alike. But one interesting thing that I learned was that DreamWorks’ animation on “Turbo” was rendered on HP.
I have to admit that when we talk about film production and animation, I would always think it was done on a Mac. To know that HP technology was used on cutting-edge animation like Turbo was surprising. Not that HP is lesser than any other tech companies, but primarily because HP has been synonymous to business use having used HP workstations at work and having seen bosses using HP laptops.
But come to think of it, HP is one of the pioneers of computers and has been involved in the advancement of technology. Apparently, DreamWorks Animation processed massive amounts of data to create imagery and computer graphics using HP Converged Infrastructure technology which includes servers, storage, networking, services and management software along with HP Converged Cloud, HP Workstations and printers. These technology helped the animation company render awesome images and innovative animated movie-making techniques. According to HP Philippines General Manager for Printing and Personal Systems Mr. Albert Mateo Jr., “DreamWorks Animation’s strategic alliance with HP ensured that we had the high-performance computing, continuous availability and streamlined management capabilities needed to accurately depict Turbo’s dream of becoming the world’s fastest racer.”
DreamWorks Animation used the power of HP Z Workstations to recreate the thrill of the Indy 500, with a snail traveling 220 miles per hour and more than 500,000 crowd characters filling a replica of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. The event is dubbed as The Greatest Spectacle in Racing and included in one of the most prestigious motorsports events in the world. In the animated film, one can see the excitement of the crowd while watching the race. Check out this Indy 500 Featurette video of Turbo to fully appreciate what I’m talking about.
Powered by Intel® Sandy Bridge Xeon® E5 processors, HP Z800 and Z820 Workstations enabled artists to execute the repetitive process in animation 50 percent faster than previously used workstations and develop increasingly complex camera angles and special effects needed to give the the audience the best cinematic experience. When not in use by creative teams, workstation processing power was used to run nighttime rendering jobs, contributing to the millions of compute hours needed to produce the movie.
Along with HP Workstations, HP Workstation tool called HP Remote Graphics Software was used that enabled animators to work together more efficiently across geographies by viewing ideas and assets on a single display. This helped make the creation of the movie faster as more people are able to work on the project round-the-clock. I was thinking such a demanding task of animation needed a stable network. DreamWorks used HP FlexNetwork architecture solutions to increase performance, reduce latency between global studio locations and provide constant availability to support faster rendering and review times while boosting animator productivity.
HP Networking provided animators with access to a central repository of assets, allowing artists to easily share and retrieve resources from all locations. This simplified the collaboration efforts. In addition, the highly reliable network infrastructure allows creative teams to work anytime from anywhere, with production spread across studios from Glendale and Redwood City, California to Bangalore, India. The production of “Turbo” required 75 million render hours to create fully realized images, including 32 Indy 500 race cars and 32 million crowd character instances, considered the most of any DreamWorks Animation film to date. The animation film company utilized HP Enterprise Cloud Services to provide a stable, scalable, cloud-based infrastructure that offers the additional computing power needed to render the 10 CG films that are in production at any given time. Part of the HP Converged Cloud portfolio, HP Enterprise Cloud Services enables DreamWorks Animation to meet growing business needs while remaining within its existing data center footprint.
To handle the rendering demands of “Turbo,” the high-performance computing capabilities of HP ProLiant Generation 8 (Gen8) servers was used. HP ProLiant Gen8 servers increased render throughput by approximately 40 percent and performance per watt by approximately 42 percent,(1) allowing DreamWorks Animation to render an average of 500,000 jobs a day to ensure that the studio had the compute power to complete the production on time.
Other HP technology portfolio that DreamWorks utilized for film production included HP 3PAR StoreServ Storage for creating a storage infrastructure for critical production pipeline tools. HP StoreAll 9730 Storage was also used for secured backup and archiving. The HP Intelligent Resilient Framework (IRF), a simplified network management, enabled the studio to manage multiple article network switches and configure redundancy to avoid downtime. Lastly, the company used HP DreamColor displays and HP Managed Print Services improved color accuracy and consistency across workstations and printers and simplified creative decision making without the need for specially designed color rooms.
Apparently, DreamWorks Animation is not foreign to using HP Technology in their animation processes. Aside from Turbo, both companies have collaborated in quite a number of projects before. And HP is also not new to film making with 14 years of award winning collaboration with Autodesk. Seeing that DreamWorks’ animation on “Turbo” was rendered on HP, I’m looking forward to more exciting animation feature films from the company.