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Because we have so much 3D, and the geometry we show onscreen and interact with is in as high resolution as possible, we’re pushing the system’s limits. We needed a dependable graphics card and NVIDIA provided just we needed.

Todd Pilger, head of 3D visual development at Sony Pictures Animation

 
Film & Entertainment
Sony Pictures Animation’s Open Season

The Challenge
In Open Season, the first feature-length animated film from Sony Pictures Animation, Boog, a happily domesticated grizzly bear, has his perfect world turned upside-down after he meets Elliot, a scrawny, fast-talking wild mule deer. The film presented a new level of challenge to Sony Pictures Animation and its Imageworks division because of the immense amount of computer-generated imagery that needed to be produced. Imageworks realized it needed advanced graphics technology to create a high-quality production in a limited timeframe.

The Solution


Boog and Elliot were created with Imageworks' renderfarm and NVIDIA graphics.

The director often sat with the 3D artist to try out ideas, making changes to high-resolution images on the fly. Todd Pilger, head of 3D visual development at Sony Pictures Animation stated, "We need tools that will help us work quickly, and we need tools that are very stable because we’re making changes all the time. We tested a lot of graphics cards and we found that NVIDIA was fast and dependable."

The Impact

Open Season, native to HD resolution, was also released in a 3D version.

One example of how NVIDIA technology was put to use was the placing of NVIDIA Quadro graphics into the Imageworks render farm. This allowed character animators working on Open Season to submit Maya Playblast preview renders to the renderfarm in order to avoid tying up their local workstation resource. “Hardware rendering on Open Season, was an important first step for the facility as it allowed us to introduce the technology (GPU usage) as a tool to the artists and Productions,” adds Mitch Dobrowner, Imageworks technology production manager. “The usage of GPUs and the precision starting at Quadro is something that we are looking closely at for both speed and the optimization of our in-house software.”

For Open Season dailies, Imageworks utilized NVIDIA technology to adapt it to the demands of an animated feature. “Because Open Season is native HD resolution, one of the things we adopted was an HD projection system using the Sony Qualia 004 projector,” Dowbrowner says, “NVIDIA gave us the ability to drive the projectors at 24 frames per second in conjunction with our in-house application created for Sweatbox.” Open Season was also released in a 3D version, and Dobrowner notes that Imageworks’ customized 3D Sweatbox also used NVIDIA Quadro solutions.

"We faced the task of building new pipelines for an animated show," says Dobrowner. "With the support of NVIDIA and their technologies, we were able to build what was required to produce our first animated feature within an extremely tight timeframe."

Open Season was directed by Roger Allers (The Lion King) and Jill Culton (credits include Monsters, Inc., Toy Story 2), and features the vocal talents of Martin Lawrence, Ashton Kutcher, Debra Messing, and Gary Sinise.

For more information about Open Season, please visit:
http://www.sonypictures.com/movies/openseason/dvdmicrosite/

Images courtesy of Sony Pictures Animation.