Animated 3D movies drive demand for HPC

Three-dimensional computer-generated animations can be eye-poppingly cool and funky, but they’re also driving a need to handle massive quantities of data by the back-end processing systems.

The genre requires hundreds of thousands of individual images to be rendered through digital animation software to create each frame of projected film. The entertainment industry is becoming a major market for IT vendors as a result, especially the requirement to provision massive processing and storage resources on a non-permanent basis.

Illumination Entertainment’s newly-released 3D computer animated movie Despicable Me, for instance (pictured), generated around 142 Terabytes (Tb) of data. The company contracted Parisian digital production studio Mac Guff Ligne to complete the year-long process of intensive graphics and 3-D animation rendering, totalling some 500,000 frames per week.

Technology partners IBM and French high-performance computing integrator Serviware, built a dedicated 6,500-core server farm based on IBM’s iDataPlex platform to support the diverse processing and management workloads across its 330-person team of artists, producers, and support teams.

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