Last Friday, The Angry Birds Movie opened in movie theaters across the country to the delight of families and video game addicts alike. The film is based on the popular video game series introduced by Rovio Entertainment, and features the story of Red, voiced by actor Jason Sudeikis, a hot tempered bird living among a population of happy birds on Bird Island that receive an unexpected visit from a colony of pigs.
In advance of the movie’s release, Dell co-hosted an event with NVIDIA and Sony Pictures Imageworks in Los Angeles, featuring a panel discussion on the technology and creative process behind the film followed by a VIP screening for our customers and other special guests.
I was joined on stage by Danny Dimian, Imageworks’ VFX Supervisor and Steve Childers, Layout Supervisor for The Angry Birds Movie, who both worked on the film, along with Austin Robison, Senior Product Manager at NVIDIA. The panel was moderated by Jefferson Graham, USA Today’s Tech Columnist, who covered the event in his Talking Tech podcast.
Adapting the popular video game to the big screen was an incredible animation feat for the 300+ artists and others at Sony Pictures Imageworks who worked on the film. There were many animation challenges including creating 130 different types of birds and ensuring every feather moved with an accurate range of motion, to building a non-static, live setting surrounding the characters, like rustling leaves on trees, water simulations and even explosions. There’s a tremendous amount of geometry that has to be processed and rendered to create an entire animated world.
The team commended the power of Dell and NVIDIA technology to enable this highly technical work on the film, including 1,000 Dell Precision Workstations, 40,000 rendering cores and the NVIDIA Quadro M6000 24GB, M4000, and K2200 high-end graphics cards, all purpose-built for the demands of enormous creative workflow. The computing technology and infrastructure allowed three remote teams across Southern California to Vancouver, B.C. to securely access the same data and information in real time via PCoIP.
The team at Sony Imageworks shared that rendering a 30-second clip for this film would have taken 18 years on a regular computer, and the workflow was comparable to streaming a full-length animated feature, each day. The Dell Precision workstations allowed them to iterate more with limited interruption to their workflow “…at a scale that was never possible before,” and ultimately produce a better movie. By utilizing powerful, high-performance technology certified to work with professional applications and intensive graphics, the team was able to focus on their artistry and bring to life their most imaginative ideas.
Austin remarked on the Quadros:
“When technology doesn’t stand in the way of the creative process, something magical happens. Despite huge complex datasets, NVIDIA Quadro professional GPUs allowed Angry Birds artists to reach a new level of creative freedom.”
We’ve learned that when artists use our technology, rather than speeding up the scheduled movie release date, they are able to capitalize on creativity and deliver the best product possible. We are proud to play a role in this film and help artists push their creative limits, providing a better experience for audiences.
Now, that you have inside look and appreciation for the creative work that went into developing the movie, I encourage you to go check it out with your friends or families. I really enjoyed it and have heard rave reviews from adults to small children!
The Angry Birds Movie images courtesy Sony Pictures Digital Inc. All Rights Reserved.