- DreamWorks and NetApp began working this summer on predictive analytics tools for artists making animated feature films, reports The Wall Street Journal. The studio has anywhere from seven to 10 films in production at any given time, and a single film can take four years to finish, taking up loads of compute power and cloud data along the way.
- Currently, artists have to render digital assets from scratch, which for one film can rack up half a billion files, or 600 terabytes of storage and 120 million hours of rendering, according to the report. The companies are looking to predict what assets artists will need by building a dataset of the rendering process, including data on what assets are created, what infrastructure they are located on and how much storage was needed.
- The dataset could help reduce files that are stored but never used in the cloud, improve latency in data transfers and estimate compute power and storage needed in cloud and on-premise data centers.
With so much of movie production taking place on a computer instead of in front of a camera, Hollywood is ripe for disruption with cloud, analytics and artificial intelligence technologies. In the animation space, DreamWorks isn't the only company that has been integrating new capabilities into its portfolio.
Disney Research, Pixar Animation Studios and UCSB worked together to speed up rendering time with AI. Researchers trained a deep learning convolutional neural network to eliminate "noise" in images and make them appear like they were computed with more light rays — a time-consuming and labor-intensive manual process.
Computer animation demands ever more advanced software and algorithms to help artists and developers simulate the physics of the real world on screen. As AI and analytics capabilities improve, open source editing and rendering software has also increased the pool of individuals working with and improving tools outside of studios.
Predictive tools like the one Dreamworks and NetApp are working on can help businesses drive down costs while growing the business, DreamWorks CTO Jeff Wike told the Journal, helping leadership to quantify the return on investment.