This week while speaking at this year’s Techonomy conference, DreamWorks Animation CEO Jeffrey Katzenberg told audience members that they’d formulated the solution for real-time rendering of animation for video. Katzenberg told the audience that they’d been working hand-in-hand with Intel in order to rewrite their software to take advantage of scalable multi-core processors, this allowing them to achieve advances that will, for lack of a better term, revolutionize the animation process. While before recently DreamWorks had been considered mostly a story-telling company, Katzenberg now says they’ve becoming “as much a technology company as we are an animation company.”
DreamWorks for those of you unfamiliar is a group responsible for such blockbuster digital animation films as Antz (their first animated film from 1998), Shrek, Madagascar, and more recently both Megamind and Kung Fu Panda. As the group certainly has a bunch more films in development and coming soon, everything from How to Train Your Dragon 2 to The Grimm Legacy to the everloving classic Captain Underpants, they’ve got more than a little incentive to make their animation process streamlined and improved.
What Katzenberg calls the holy grail and is saying they’re on the verge of using is the ability to work in real-time. Where animating just a few seconds of video can take even the most skilled animator a week to make a reality now, a 50 to 70 percent speed increase in the whole process can be expected with the methods DreamWorks and Intel are working on now. Artists will be able to do effects and color work in real time, while the implications Katzenberg says are revolutionary can be seen to be working with any type of high-end rendering, from oil simulations to airplane design to medical imaging.
DreamWorks and Intel are on a four-year effort to make this software re-write a reality and Katzenberg said today that they were just about two-thirds done at the moment, with the product already having been used on a number of products. Real-time digital animation rendering is and has been a goal of any dreamer in the animation industry for more than anyone’s fair share of time sitting around waiting for a scene to fill itself out and the characters to start moving.
If DreamWorks and Intel succeed here, there will be much rejoicing.
[via Forward Thinking]