Who animated Monsters Inc? [Monsters]

Who animated Monsters Inc?

Pixar's Dirk Van Gelder on storyboarding animationIn a keynote talk on Wednesday, Pixar engineer lead Dirk Van Gelder and technical director Danny Nahmias showed some of the most complex scenes from the film Monsters University and how much more difficult they were to create than the scenes from Monsters, Inc. a dozen years earlier. The talk showed how animation is pushing the high-end of the computing business in order to produce the entertainment that is enjoyed by hundreds of millions of fans. It highlighted more technical, super-geek details than we covered in our series on the making of Monsters University last year.

“This is the very leading edge of complexity in computing, ” said Greg Estes, vice president of marketing at graphics chip maker Nvidia and a longtime follower of technology and entertainment, in an interview. “The GPUs can to the lighting and rendering in real-time in ways that were never before possible. They can play around with it more, do more iterations, and get it just right before they render it.”

From VentureBeat

With Monsters University, which debuted last year and generated worldwide revenues of $743 million, Pixar doubled its computing power and brought in a lot of graphics processing unit (GPU) servers to handle the workload of making and rendering the film. It had 270 people working for as much as four years on the movie, which was the first time Disney’s Pixar division ever did a sequel.

Pixar created its Renderman animation system in the 1980s and even made its own Pixar Image Computer hardware in 1987. It made four films, including its debut film Toy Story, with Silicon Graphics computers. But since 2001, its last 10 films have been made with armies of Nvidia graphics chips, said Van Gelder.

I took a tour of Pixar’s headquarters last June. Inside the building is a data center full of humming servers — double the size that the company used in the past — that would be considered one of the top 25 supercomputers in the world. The 2, 000 computers had more than 24, 000 cores. The data center was like the beating heart behind the movie’s technology.

Even with all of that computing might, it still takes 29 hours to render a single frame of Monsters University, supervising technical director Sanjay Bakshi, told me last year.

Nvidia specializes in the manufacture of graphics-processor technologies for workstations, desktop computers, and mobile devices. The company, based in Santa Clara, California, is a major supplier of integrated circuits used for person... read more »

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