[kwlug-disc] Fw: Dr. Dobb's Update - 02/02/10 - That's The Way Movies Are Made These Days

Raul Suarez rarsa at yahoo.com
Tue Feb 2 14:41:22 EST 2010

In the topic of Linux penetration.
I frequently hear and read that Linux is just for tinkerers, a toy for geeks, cannot support professional work because it does not run photo shop.

I am sure you've heard those comments too.
So, when you need examples other than yourself to show how professional Linux is and wht penetration it has on real life, just explain them that it runs the software and servers used to create Lord of the Rings, Avatar and many other movies.
Raul Suarez

Technology consultant

Software, Hardware and Practices



An eclectic collection of random thoughts

--- On Tue, 2/2/10, Dr. Dobb's Update <DDJ at techwebnewsletters.com> wrote:

From: Dr. Dobb's Update <DDJ at techwebnewsletters.com>
Subject: Dr. Dobb's Update - 02/02/10 - That's The Way Movies Are Made These Days
To: rarsa at yahoo.com
Received: Tuesday, February 2, 2010, 12:08 PM

Dr. Dobb's UpdateIf you are unable to see the message below, click here to view.

Editor's Note

That's The Way Movies Are Made These Days
It's understandable if you haven't heard of John Knoll. It's unlikely, however, that you haven't heard about Avatar, James Cameron's sci-fi epic in which Jake, a paraplegic war veteran, is brought to another planet, Pandora, which is inhabited by the Na'vi, a humanoid race with their own language and culture. Those from Earth find themselves at odds with each other and the local culture. Not to spill the Na'vi beans, but Jake bonds with the locals and falls in love with the beautiful alien Neytiri.That's as far as I'll go as a plot spoiler. If you want to know more, go see the movie. What I found interesting about the movie from a technology perspective is that it is about 40% live action and 60% photo-realistic CGI. Clearly, a lot of motion capture technology was used. And a lot of compute power. Each frame (1/24 of a second) of the CGI scenes took an average of 47 hours to complete.Delivering the compute power was a visual effects company called Weta
 Digital, which also provided visual effects for I, Robot, The Lord of the Rings trilogy, and other such flicks. Weta Digital can create this kind of special effects thanks to its 34 server racks, each with four chassis of 32 machines a piece. All in all, we're talking about 40,000 processors with 104 terabytes of memory using 10 GB networking adapters powered by 4,000 HP BL2x220c blade computers. All of this horsepower reportedly processed up to 1.4 million tasks per day to render the effects.Was it worth it? I guess so, since Avatar is the highest grossing film of all time with a worldwide gross of $1,858,866,889.And John Knoll? He was the visual effects supervisor on the film and the likely recipient of this year's Scientific and Technical Award at the upcoming 2010 Academy Awards. John was also the focus of a Dr. Dobb's interview entitled A Conversation with John Knoll: Life On the Bleeding Edge of Computer Graphics. Granted, a lot of
 computer-generated water has gone under the bridge since we conducted the interview. However, the fundamentals are as fascinating as ever, and here's a hearty congratulations to John Knoll for any awards he will receive for his behind-the-scenes role in a fascinating film.-- Jonathan Erickson
jerickson at ddj.com
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