GTC 2013 Sessions: GPGPU in Film Production at Pixar

Pixar GPU processing

Laurence Emms from Pixar looks at how the animation studio uses GPGPU acceleration to speed up its film production pipeline. They've always used GPUs for real-time previews, but with current GPU technology, they have extended it into other parts of the pipeline.

One example they use is LPics, their interactive relighting engine. They create a software render in Renderman, and Renderman shaders cache the rendered scene data in a format that is then loaded onto the GPU. The lighting simulation is then run on the GPU, allowing the user to get lighting results that are extremely close to what the final rendered output will be. Mr. Emms stressed that one of their difficulties with using GPGPU in their productions has been making the output as close as possible to what the final output would be, because even minor differences make the tools much less effective at accelerating their workflow.

Other portions of their workflow where GPU acceleration may be helpful include vegetation, hair, and physics.

Most of the rest of the presentation spends time talking about doing physics simulations under CUDA, and where their work will be going in the future.

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  • slomo4sho
    The advancements in animation have been profound over the last decade, lets see where the future takes us.
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  • A Bad Day
    slomo4shoThe advancements in animation have been profound over the last decade, lets see where the future takes us.


    One of my teachers has a DVD containing all of Pixar's early experimental animation short-films, done back in 1970s and 80s. At least one of them was rendered on a Cray supercomputer.
    1
  • anxiousinfusion
    A Bad DayOne of my teachers has a DVD containing all of Pixar's early experimental animation short-films, done back in 1970s and 80s. At least one of them was rendered on a Cray supercomputer.


    And if you watch some of Pixar's early shorts ( http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iZJymTKzGu4 ) you'll see that most of them only look about as good as most modern video game cutscenes which are done in real time! Digital technology is fascinating.
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