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HP, DreamWorks Animation create epic adventure in ‘Rise of the Guardians’



Producer Christina Steinberg poses during the photocall of “Rise of the Guardians” on November 13, 2012 during the VIIth edition of Rome film festival. AFP FILE PHOTO

PALO ALTO, California — HP and DreamWorks Animation SKG, Inc. (Nasdaq: DWA) on Thursday marked the latest chapter in their ongoing collaboration by working together to create an epic adventure for worldwide audiences with the breakthrough animation of the studio’s upcoming 3-D movie, “Rise of the Guardians.”

Like each DreamWorks Animation film before it, “Rise of the Guardians,” which hits theaters on Nov. 21, pushes the boundaries of digital animation as the studio’s most technically advanced film to date.

To create a new level of visual richness in an animated film, DreamWorks Animation uses HP Converged Infrastructure technologies that included HP Cloud Services, HP Z Workstations, HP DreamColor displays, HP Networking and HP Proliant server solutions, HP Managed Print Services and digital rendering resources.

“Our goal is to push the limits of what is possible in digital animation and storytelling,” said Derek Chan, head, Global Technology Operations, DreamWorks Animation. “Using HP Converged Infrastructure technologies, we increase the functionality that allows our artists to create more innovative animation with every film.”

DreamWorks Animation uses HP technology throughout the production cycle—from creating character designs, to developing detailed animation scenes, to processing massive amounts of data. Throughout the years, HP technology has played an integral role in creating DreamWorks Animation’s groundbreaking animated feature films, including the franchise properties of “Shrek,” “How to Train Your Dragon,” ”Kung Fu Panda,” “Madagascar” and “Puss in Boots.”

“Rise of the Guardians” tapped the power of several HP technologies, including:

  • The HP Z800 and Z820 high-performance workstations, powered by Intel® multicore processors. The Xeon® E5 based HP Z820 was used to process more than 1 million “Rise of the Guardians” render jobs in the desktop render farm, utilizing spare computing power residing on desktop workstations at night and on weekends.
  • HP DreamColor professional monitors supporting 1 billion active colors and providing color consistency across multiple departments in the studio. Jointly developed by DreamWorks Animation and HP, HP DreamColor Monitors surpassed the performance of all other LCD displays available on the market.
  • HP Remote Graphics Software, allowing for seamless collaboration for artists split across multiple locations to finalize intricate details. DreamWorks Animation’s studios are located in Glendale and Redwood City, Calif.
  • HP Flexible Compute Cloud Service, providing 20 percent of total rendering in 2012, up from 5 percent in 2010. As digital resource demands continue to increase from production to production, HP has helped the studio to stay within their existing data center footprint—eliminating a multimillion dollar physical expansion, while continuing to provide the needed resources to meet artistic demands.
  • HP Networking: To support the studio’s scalable 10G WAN/LAN infrastructure, 100 percent of the networking equipment used in the United States production of the film was HP network gear.
  • HP BladeSystem servers with ProLiant BL460c server blades, enabling the studio to render more efficiently and effectively. HP G8 blades achieved more than 40 percent higher render throughput compared to previous blades and delivered more than 42 percent better performance per watt.
  • HP Storage: 3 petabytes of HP storage were used to facilitate data protection and archiving, and the storing of reference data. The studio collaborated with HP to create a dynamic storage infrastructure that can scale storage and performance across geographies to meet the studio’s needs and future growth.
  • HP Managed Print Services and multifunction printers help DreamWorks Animation convert electronic workflows and digital images into living, color-rich documents used in previsualization, storyboarding and other animation processes.

“Rise of the Guardians” fun facts:

  • The DreamWorks Animation render farm, spanning across three geographic sites, is the most powerful ever used for a studio production.
  • 250+ terabytes of disk storage were used in the making of “Rise of the Guardians.”
  • The 97-minute “Rise of the Guardians” is composed of more than 130,000 individual computer-generated frames.
  • The production of “Rise of the Guardians” required more than 65 million render hours.
  • One of the more complicated and amazing special effects is sand. The sand is created by generating lots of points inside the computer called particles.  As many as a billion particles may be needed to create the sand shapes for one scene.


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Tags: DreamWorks animation SKG , HP , Inc. , technology , `rise of the guardians’



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