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  #51  
Old 04-01-2009, 11:21 PM
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Originally Posted by NateR
Back in 2004, the college I was attending to get my graphic design degree at, had decided to try out a 3D animation program. So they paid for Erik Hansen (he used to work for Digital Domain and has helped with the CG effects for films like Fifth Element, Castaway, Day After Tomorrow, Bi-Centennial Man, etc.) to come and teach a seminar to the Graphic Design faculty. Not to toot my own horn, but since I was the star student, they invited me to participate in the class as well.

I actually took to 3D animation like a duck to water and I was hooked ever since. Now, however, I don't have access to the super high end computers so I haven't done much in the last couple of years.

I'm not sure what the price is now, but Maya was a $7000 program back in 2004 and you could run it with a basic computer pretty good, but you'd suffer big time in the more high end functions. To run the program smoothly and take advantage of all the features (like hair, cloth and water simulation), then you're looking at buying a machine somewhere in the realm of $5000-30,000. Plus it's highly recommended that you use more than one computer if you are interesting in making a high-quality CG film. Because if you can burn out a top-of-the-line computer really quickly if you force it to do everything by itself.

Having multiple computers also makes sense if your renders are taking several hours per frame, because you're not going to want to tie up one computer doing all that work. PIXAR has "render farms" in which hundreds of hi-powered computers are tied together as one giant super-computer and it's still taking them up to 90 hours per frame of animation.

However, if you're only interested in making short films (under 5 minutes), then you can get away with only 1 or 2 computers; but it's going to require several months of work to get the films done.
Thats cool stuff man. I took a couple design classes in Junior College and got into some basic flash animation, but nothing that cool. I was too wrapped up in playing out with my band at the time, but then I moved to Arizona and got into a top recording college. I had teachers who have produced more albums from major artists than I can even count, which was very cool. That was when I got introduced to Logic Pro for Macintosh, and I absolutely love that program.

Some audio applications can get pretty demanding on a computer. Especially when you are recording multiple tracks at one time. Still, getting good audio productions does not require anywhere near what doing high end video and animation does.
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  #52  
Old 04-02-2009, 02:30 AM
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Originally Posted by NateR
PIXAR has "render farms" in which hundreds of hi-powered computers are tied together as one giant super-computer and it's still taking them up to 90 hours per frame of animation.
I'm definitely not an expert, but wouldn't 90 hours per frame work out to almost 900 years to render an hour of footage? :P
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  #53  
Old 04-02-2009, 02:43 AM
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I'm definitely not an expert, but wouldn't 90 hours per frame work out to almost 900 years to render an hour of footage? :P
I think it's up to 90 hours per frame, depending on what's going on in the scene. That was what PIXAR claimed when they were making Finding Nemo, so the scenes with lots of fish and water/lighting effects would probably be the ones that took up all the time. They don't necessarily mean that every single frame of the movie takes 90 hours, otherwise they'd still be rendering it. Plus they are likely rendering more than one scene at a time, but it does give some insight into why it takes them about 5 years to make these films.
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Old 04-02-2009, 01:37 PM
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Originally Posted by NateR
I think it's up to 90 hours per frame, depending on what's going on in the scene. That was what PIXAR claimed when they were making Finding Nemo, so the scenes with lots of fish and water/lighting effects would probably be the ones that took up all the time. They don't necessarily mean that every single frame of the movie takes 90 hours, otherwise they'd still be rendering it. Plus they are likely rendering more than one scene at a time, but it does give some insight into why it takes them about 5 years to make these films.
Could this mean that they had 10 people working for nine hours on the frame simultaneously?
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  #55  
Old 04-02-2009, 03:34 PM
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Could this mean that they had 10 people working for nine hours on the frame simultaneously?
I'm sure they probably had a few frames that took an unprecedented 90 hours to render and they thought that was worth mentioning in the interview I read. I would think that 3-4 hours per frame would probably be the average throughout the movie. If I had to hazard a guess on which scene was taking so long to render, it would probably be the one at the end of the movie where all those fish were caught in the fishing net.

Render times are the bane of computer animators because they haven't really changed much in the last few decades. As computers get exponentially faster and more advanced, filmmakers keep pushing the levels of animation farther and farther. So I guess you could say that human imagination is outpacing computer technology. We can always think of ways to push computers to their limits, no matter how fast they are. So it's something that all animators have to deal with and suffer through; but in a way it's become sort of a 'badge of honor' when your scene requires just unreal amounts of render time.

Also, rendering is a purely processor-intensive task. Meaning that it doesn't really require any human involvement at all. They do hire render watchers who maintain the computers and make sure they don't lock up during the process; but all the work is being done in the computer. Meaning that you start off the render and then go home for the weekend and hope that it's finished when you come back on Monday.
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Old 04-02-2009, 04:50 PM
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I'm sure they probably had a few frames that took an unprecedented 90 hours to render and they thought that was worth mentioning in the interview I read. I would think that 3-4 hours per frame would probably be the average throughout the movie. If I had to hazard a guess on which scene was taking so long to render, it would probably be the one at the end of the movie where all those fish were caught in the fishing net.

Render times are the bane of computer animators because they haven't really changed much in the last few decades. As computers get exponentially faster and more advanced, filmmakers keep pushing the levels of animation farther and farther. So I guess you could say that human imagination is outpacing computer technology. We can always think of ways to push computers to their limits, no matter how fast they are. So it's something that all animators have to deal with and suffer through; but in a way it's become sort of a 'badge of honor' when your scene requires just unreal amounts of render time.

Also, rendering is a purely processor-intensive task. Meaning that it doesn't really require any human involvement at all. They do hire render watchers who maintain the computers and make sure they don't lock up during the process; but all the work is being done in the computer. Meaning that you start off the render and then go home for the weekend and hope that it's finished when you come back on Monday.
That makes sense!

My friend Everett used to work for Blue Horizon (Ice Age I II) and then got a job out in San Fran with Pixar. Good timing for him cause he's worked on Wall-E, Ratatouille, and a few others. I think he does story boarding, but I'm not entirely sure. The whole computer animation world is mind boggling. He said they take field trips to places like the zoo and what not and they go purely to sketch and come up with ideas. What a job.
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  #57  
Old 04-02-2009, 07:18 PM
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Moose, Do you lift every morning?
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Old 04-02-2009, 09:45 PM
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Moose, Do you lift every morning?
Wow, how many unrelated conversations do we have going on in this thread?
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Old 04-02-2009, 09:52 PM
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Wow, how many unrelated conversations do we have going on in this thread?
It's beautiful isn't it
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  #60  
Old 04-02-2009, 09:55 PM
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Wow, how many unrelated conversations do we have going on in this thread?
Monday, Wednesday, Friday, all at 5:30 in the AM.

/thread re-jacked
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