‘Barnyard’ uses Sun Technology for CG animation

Nickelodeon Movies’ computer-animated movie Barnyard, distributed by Paramount Pictures, features complex computer-generated animation that required unique and creative solutions from Sun Microsystems Inc.

The film is Nickelodeon’s most challenging animated film to date and features vast landscapes with vivid details, realistic shading and lighting, and scenes that incorporate more than 200 characters that move with surprising fluidity.

Leveraging a rendering farm based on Sun Fire servers and Sun StorageTek data management systems, Barnyard’s artists were able to quickly identify incomplete scenes, make necessary edits, and manage finished shots. The complex scenes were executed using 64-bit computing solutions from Sun that revolutionised how computer-generated imagery (CGI) is created and managed.

“With a state-of-the-art computer-animated movie like Barnyard, a seamless interaction between the technology and artist is essential to make the characters come to life. Sun raised the bar by providing the only solutions that met this challenge and exceeded business expectations,” said Barnyard executive producer Aaron Parry.

“We were thrilled that Sun was able to come up with a solution for us. Steve Oedekerk had some very specific and complex ideas that he wanted to see up on the screen, and Sun was integral in helping Steve and his team realize them,” said Barnyard executive producer Julia Pistor.

Sun provided a 620-node server farm and storage solution that was crucial in the completion of the complex animation required. The solution is based on Sun Fire x64 enterprise servers powered by AMD Opteron processors with Direct Connect Architecture, and 100-terabyte Sun StorageTek 3510 and 3511 FC arrays and a Sun StorageTek tape library for online storage and backup of shot files and other movie assets.

Sun Customer Ready Systems helped migrate the production from its previous 32-bit render farm, and then configured, assembled and tested the new Sun render farm for the production. In addition, Sun provided continuous on-site consultation and support to the Barnyard production team.

Barnyard’s producers believe their Sun solution may represent the first time a studio has relied entirely upon 64-bit technology to render a full-length animated movie.

“Animated movies are evolving rapidly, demanding more and more lifelike characters and scenes that are challenging artists, directors and the technology industry to create better CGI in faster and easier ways. Sun is excited to meet these challenges with our expanded product line and range of service offerings,” said Sun’s x64 product line business driver Pradeep Parmar.

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