Wednesday Nvidia said (opens in new tab) that Industrial Light and Magic (ILM) used Quadro GPUs to help render Rango, the just-released CGI-animated movie from Paramount Pictures and Nickelodeon. Approximately 450 ILM Quadro workstations were used in both the San Francisco and Singapore studios to help overcome production demands and timeline challenges.
"Whenever you're approaching a film of this scale you need to make your production pipeline operate as efficiently as possible -- especially when it comes to character animation work," said Tim Alexander, VFX supervisor for Rango. "By using Nvidia Quadro processors and building GPU-accelerated processes into our workflow, we saved a huge amount of rendering time."
In addition to using commercialized animation tools like Autodesk's Maya, the Rango team used a wide range of ILM's in-house applications including "Plume," a GPU-accelerated fluid solver/renderer that has been used on previous films like The Last Airbender and Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince. For Rango, the team added new shadow and lighting features into Plume for more realistic fire and dust effects.
"If we have a character standing in the key light, he'll actually cast a shadow into the dust, smoke or fire. In the past we would fake those biometric ray-type effects or any sort of shading in the composite phase," Alexander said. "By using the GPU to bake shadows and lighting into the simulation, we saved a tremendous amount of time and achieved a more realistic effect by having all of the detail of the object that's casting the shadow actually in the shadow itself."
Alexander added that the team received real-time feedback on dust and fire thanks to Quadro acceleration in Plume. This meant a reduction in time and money, as previously the same feedback would have taken days to simulate the same scene. In addition, the hundreds of GPU cores in each artist's workstation also boosted the performance of ILM's GPU render farm during off-business hours, Nvidia said.
To read the full report, head here (opens in new tab). It's definitely interesting to see how GPUs affect not only the gaming industry, but Hollywood as well. Will this reduction in production time mean cheaper ticket prices for moviegoers? Probably not.
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