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Final Fantasy Movie Interview 90

Wuhao writes: "Ars Technica managed to snag an interview with some of Square's 3D artists to discuss the Final Fantasy movie. It is filled with graphics jargon, but there's quite a few juicy bits that even I could understand."
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Final Fantasy Movie Interview

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  • by Anonymous Coward
    Hannibal: So did anyone stop to consider that the cost of making this movie is not likely to be easily recovered at the box office? Doesn't it seem like one big circle-jerk for graphics programmers?
  • by Anonymous Coward
    I mean, come on. You know they rendered secret porn shots of Aki and Gray. Where are they?
  • by Anonymous Coward
    Go to http://www.geocities.com/SiliconValley/Server/9029 / then click aki_nude.jpg... Geocities doesn't allow off-site image linking, AFAIK
  • by torpor ( 458 )
    Seems like that link is bust ...
  • No mate.

    SGI's will not disappear. SGI's have FANTASTIC charachter mode devices, and when dealing with .rib scene files of 1-2 GIGS in size, its very hard to beat an SGI in performance.

    The OS that it runs means little or NOTHING to an animator.

    jeremiah();
  • Shaders.

    Shaders are simply procedures programatically defined used to define things such as surface bumping (through simple bumpmaps or less simple displacement maps), volumetric shading (glass w/bubbles in it), painting on a texture, reflections, translucency, transparency, opacity, color, specularity, diffusion, and things like that.

    www.pixar.com has many, MANY documents on how shading works with the RenderMan interface (NOT ONLY THEIR RENDERER, but the RenderMan standard)

    www.bmrt.org has a freeware raytracer that does global illumination, raytracing, true displacement, full support of the shading language (very much like C) arealights, and tons of things that Pixar's PRMan doesn't support. Most definately worth a look.
  • by Naikrovek ( 667 ) <jjohnsonNO@SPAMpsg.com> on Tuesday July 31, 2001 @02:47PM (#2178087)
    The RenderMan Interface [pixar.com] Standard is a very intriguing standard, attempting to be the "PostScript of 3D". It is succeeding.

    Pixar's Photorealistic RenderMan is the RenderMan compliant renderer that is most used in movies, because it is very fast, but at the cost of several cool things. PRMan can't do true reflections, refractions, or even transparency, because it can't compute global visibility.

    Ray tracers on the other hand, such as BMRT [bmrt.org] (which is fully compliant with the RI spec, and includes many extensions to the interface, which PRMan does not support) is a freeware RI raytracer. This is much slower than PRMan, because with raytracing you have to maintain all geometry in the scene in memory at all times, because you don't know where a ray will bounce until you fire the ray. (Because PRMan doesn't do reflections, it doesn't need to keep all the geometry in memory, and can discard anything not *directly* visible to the camera)

    PRMan can however, fake lots of things that can give a nearly realistic effect, saving tons of time. Reflection maps, environment maps, and ambient light all simulate the true effects of things like reflections, and radiosity that all of us see when we take our eyes off of our monitors. BMRT does all of this without any faking.

    Both PRMan and BMRT use the RI shading language to programatically define surfaces and volumes. Smoke in a room is a volume (or atmosphere) for example and can only accurately be controlled using a shader. The shading language of the RenderMan Interface is UNPARALLELLED in the industry and can produce some of the most realistic looking surfaces/volumes you'll ever see.

    Both renderers read .rib files, which are exactly what were used in rendering this movie. Beware though, to get the polygon counts that they have, you'll need about 1-2 gigs of disk space available for EACH FRAME, and about 1-2 gigs of free memory available to render them. Also, there is a C binding of the RenderMan Interface in which you can write a program that defines the placement of objects in a scene, and pipe the output of this program straight into the renderer. Instructions for this are available with BMRT, as is an example. All the tools to do any of this also come with BMRT, free of charge.

    Radiosity is something that PRMan cannot do. Check this stuff out: Radiosity images [3dluvr.com]. These were not done with BMRT but easily could be. These were test renders for Arnold, a global illumination renderer. BMRT does global illumination and could easily (but slowly) produce images just like these. PRMan cannot do this, it simply takes too long.

    So satisfy your curiosity about modern day rendering and read up on this. It is very interesting stuff.
  • Well, it won't be as bad is the 80's since women these days are 1/100th as prone to starving themselves to death to look like movie characters as they were in the brah burning/dual breadwinner euphoric 80's. That stuff just doesn't happen anymore.

    Then of course, as chip makers swap higher clockspeeds for slower/portable chips, the cost of attaining reasonable rendering speeds on computers is going to skyrocket.

    You won't be able to get the fastest chip in the world at dime stores like you could in 2001. The CG industry is small enough that chip makers can't afford to keep pumping clockcycles into chips that 99% of the world uses in nothing but wristwatches and PDA's.

  • I sure hope somebody's fixed the ttim-epoch problem by then so we don't have our OSes screwing up while we're all manipulating Aki around on our respective screens...
  • Incorrect.

    Everyone knows the reason unix has a year 2037 problem is because that is the year that Richard Stallman will personally lead the jihad of the trees against the dirty upright walking apes.

    In other words the world will end slightly before computers become powerful enough.
  • I have to give the Final Fantasy staff credit for aiming incredibly high with the quality of animation they were attempting in The Spirits Within. That being said, though, they didn't really get it to work effectively in all cases. Movements that were motion-captured looked good, but the stuff that wasn't motion-captured (facial expressions and hand movements) looked awfully stiff. I kept thinking of Gerry Anderson Supermarionation shows.

    Shrek, on the other hand, went for "cartoony," a look that is easier to do than "photo-realistic." And they hit it dead on, 100%. You stopped thinking about it and enjoyed the movie.

    Overall, I'd have to rate Shrek as being a better film, because the bottom line is: "Was it good to watch?" Shrek was fun, FF:TSW was interesting on a technical level, but I wouldn't want to go see it again.

    It's a little like FF8 vs. FF9 on Playstation, where FF:TSW is like 8, and Shrek is like 9. I am enjoying 9 a lot more than I did 8.

    Jon Acheson
  • by OnyxRaven ( 9906 ) on Tuesday July 31, 2001 @12:52PM (#2178092) Homepage
    Even though I found my eyes glazing over at some of Jonathan's questions (He being a student of CG and obviously asking the complicated questions), The interview was much akin to the standard fare of Ars Technica writing, that being excellent.

    I think the interview actually answered a lot of MY questions and interests with the movie, but I do hope that the Square team will continue to be open to questions here and there for maybe another batch of questions.

    Anyway, I'm glad I was able to read the interview even before it gets slashdotted (Ars servers were down just before I read it?)

    --Onyx
  • hey anyone here know anymore about the software they use to control the cluster

    this is not a Beowulf cluster so tools from Scyld not her and I dont think that the google tools (1million and one xterms on screen ;-) where used

    I know that you can use LSF & Gridware
    + all the beowulf tools
    BUT

    what else can you use ????

    regards

    john jones

    p.s. intresting that they use renderman + maya because thats what more and more people seem to use

    SGI have to be careful because the maya release on macOS X means that alot of artists will move to the mac and ditch the SGI's UNLESS SGI can ship a decent LINUX model

  • Yes mate

    erm have you seen Maya on MacOS X ?
    that mate is unix with a decent scaling vector based display

    with decent graphics cards lets say an Nvidia based solution which SGI acknologes are the chips at the moment bettering anything they had (they now ship NVidia solutions) MacOS X could easyly rock (oh wait the G4 macs use Nvidia)

    if they dont care what OS they use why do the demand that Maya and Photoshop be on them ?

    yes normally I would agree but really I just saw 120 O2's go out the door in favour of Apples with OS X on running Maya + photoshop and a 500 node render farm built useing linux x86 boxs

    regards

    john jones

  • thank you very much

    regards

    john jones
  • Although I applaud the use of the thousand-odd linux boxes that Square used for scene rendering, I still maintain that it would be super cool for someone to create a distributed rendering client. How many millions of geeks would jump at the chance to use their screensaver and some extra cycles to help create the next Final Fantasy or Star Wars sequel? I know I would. Sure, there would be issues regarding the distribution of images and such before release, but those seem like tech problems that could be sorted out fairly easily. Still waiting for someone at an animation house to pick up on this idea, though...
  • what about taking into account the trend of leaving a lot of things up to the graphics card. That figure would drop tremendously when we realtime raytracing, and a whole slew of other rendering tricks right on the card.

  • Here is a fairly old thread on distributed (Internet) rendering [google.com], and why it is very tough to do. Among the more quotable quotes:

    Umm, running the renderfarm is exactly such operations -- sysadmin, network design, load balancing, etc etc etc. And these things are very closely coupled to the fundamental day-to-day operations of a studio. If your business model depends upon delivery of X frames at Y quality by no later than the first of Z, then you'd better believe that outsourcing render services is a part of the core business.

    Imagine if SETI had a deadline. Seti@home would be the first part of the enterprise to be tossed out the window.
    *
    kb FF LT Supv
    Square Pictures

  • ...I look forward to the day when such technology is used to put professional athletes out of work. Instead, 2 or more geeks will simply play a REALLY intricate game, and it'll be broadcast on TV. :)
  • Dude, 1000 roothat boxes... Imagine installing the patches on those. ;)

    Imagine the automatability of most sysadmin activities.
  • Actually I'm pretty sure Gundam is the most successful franchise to come out of japan. It's like the Japanese star trek to the japanese but more popular.

    --Bruce
  • Don't you mean that A/W have to do a good job of Maya on OS-X, or all the 3D artists that haven't already abandoned the platform in disgust will also move to x86/Windows or Linux/IRIX machines.
    Its nice that Apple has decided to ship UNIX and all, but its going to be a while before the platform matures to the level MacOS 9 has, so i don't think we'll be seeing people switching platforms in droves, and least of all in the 3D arena.

    After all, if you are a 3D artist working in IRIX on Maya, then switching to Maya on NT will be cheaper than switching to Maya on MacOS X - You also have the option of a real 3D accelerator (Intergraph Wildcat and others) and you get to run Maya for Linux when it is released, if you decide NT doesn't float your boat.

    You also get a native Photoshop, something MacOS X sadly can't match. Even IRIX has an (old) native Photoshop.

    For the 3D artist, the benefit of switching to the Mac is minimal - you get a sluggish but pretty desktop, expensive and limited hardware choices and performance which, dollar for dollar, trails the x86 architecture by a long way.

    Sure, an Altivec-enhanced Photoshop gaussian blur might execute somewhat faster than an x86 chip of higher megahertz, but until we see the 866Mhz G4 actually beat a 1.4 Ghz Athlon in a Maya stress-test, the idea that everyone in the 3D world is going to drop what theyre doing and buy a Macintosh is a little bit fanciful.
    It must be emabarrasing for Steve Jobs that his 'graphics workstations' aren't used at his other company - Pixar, because theyre so lame at 3D. So when Pixar universally adopts the Macintosh for it's 3D workstations, then maybe the rest of the world might take some interest.

  • They mainly used Avid Media Illusion and Nothing Real's Shake. I think they had a few discreet boxen (flint, flame, inferno) too. I'd guess everything was comped on the octanes, except for the stuff comped on inferno, which only runs on onyx(1|2|3000) machines. -Phred
  • Yeah, i thought that at first. But then I remembered that Aki is actually a fake anyway. And even though two wrongs don't nescessarily make a right, two fakes kinda make one real...or something like that.
  • WARNING...Not a link for the office...WARNING

    I know that some companies have implemented filters to prevent "getting in touch with yourself" at work, but did these guys get this [geocities.com] desperate?

    Anyway, the story is that in order to get the clothes to work out right, they had to do this.

  • In case anyone didn't notice, Final Fantasy has thus far bombed [rottentomatoes.com]. A 3 week take of only $30 million domestically for a movie which reportedly cost $130+ million to make does not spell well for Square financially.

    Hopefully FF:TSW will get most of it's money back when it comes to international and DVD markets, however I can't imagine this bodes well for the future of photorealistic movies. (or maybe it just doesn't bode well for the future of Square movies)

  • from the talking-with-smart-people-gud dept.???

    jeez, hemos, can't you spell properl-

    oh.
    it's a joke...i get it.
  • Redhat 6.2 burned: worthless
    Redhat 6.2 in a box: $30
    An advertisement for Redhat 6.2 from Sony and ArsTechnica without paying: priceless

    -------------------
  • at least the "graphics jargon" is useful to some of us...

    subatomic
    http://www.mp3.com/subatomicglue [mp3.com]
  • SGIs are so slow. The thing that make them fast are their mobo. Very fast bus, multichannels, etc... Their processors are ok, but price vs value doesn't make sense.

    really they only make sense when you're finely tuning your code to them, but you can't expect all software to be written to take advantage of them.

    so, IMHO a render of farm of PIIIs would be much faster in certain cases. and definately makes much more sense for cost. Renderman is free, the hardware is virtually free (real cheap). Expand your farm to make it faster.

    I didn't even touch the subject of GeForce vs Onyx3. For most rendering (especially architechture/games/etc..) geforce is going to kick SGI onyx.

    subatomic
    http://www.mp3.com/subatomicglue [mp3.com]
  • Besides the Linux renderfarm, the article mentioned that they took advantage of idle CPU time on artists' Octane workstations as well. I wonder if they ran Renderman as well, or if they did other stuff?
  • by Ryu2 ( 89645 ) on Tuesday July 31, 2001 @01:43PM (#2178112) Homepage Journal
    Anyone know what software they used to do texture design/3-D painting, something I noticed they didn't cover, or did they hack up their own proprietary stuff? How about compositing?

    Modeling, animation: Maya with proprietary tools added
    Lighting: Maya
    Rendering: Renderman + lots o' custom shaders + a bit of Maya for VFX
    Texturing: ???
    Compositing: ???

  • "Ars Technica managed to snag an interview with some of Square's 3D artists..."

    Damn, I thought it was with Aki.


  • Dude, 1000 roothat boxes... Imagine installing the patches on those. ;)
  • Err, keep in mind that the game won't have to be NEARLY as high-resolution as the movie.

    Oh, also, I think the movie was closer to 2.5 hours. Don't recall exactly.

    -- Dr. Eldarion --
  • There will indeed several places where FF will be discussed at this years SIGGRAPH. The Advanced RenderMan course will have 2 sections with Kevin Bjorke, rendering supervisor, about the work. The original AWGUA (Alias/Wavefront) plan had also a talk about FF, but now it's scaled down. But there will probably be presentations at their booth. Mach Tony Kobayashi will have 2 presentations at the RenderMan user group meeting part of the Stupid RAT tricks part. There might be other here and there.

    SIGGRAPH 2001 Course 48: Advanced RenderMan 3 [siggraph.org]
    SIGGRAPH 2001, Stupid RAT Tricks [google.com]
  • As an above poster noted it's not really feasable. Here is a thread with a similar issue that also appeared around the same time on the RenderMan newsgroup:

    RenderMan on the Frontier [google.com]

    Just the data for texture maps alone would sometimes require hundreds of megabytes alone, not including the RIB and other stuff that has to be passed around.

  • Not really that suprising, as the combo of RenderMan plus Maya has been used for quite some time. Especially in places like ILM which they get betas and early previews of Alias/Wavefront and Pixar's software. Episode 1 used that combo, among a lot other stuff, probably since 1998 and I'm sure it was being used and tested even before that. And many of these studios had their own tranlation tools to incorporate that stuff into their pipeline, especially big studios since many based parts on it not only on Maya but on previous software like PowerAnimator and Dynamation.

    Anyway Pixar has Alfred for batch distributed rendering, part of the RAT tools. There is also project BORG. Many places have custom tools though. Also there has been mentioned that the PBS (Portable Batch System) from NASA has been used (Chris Watts, supervisor of Pleasantville used for his next film, the yet to be released Dubbed Action Movie).

    Pixar's Alfred [pixar.com]
    PBS [mrj.com]
    Project BORG [project-borg.org]
  • Although you can also control shader behaviour (even if it's a procedural shader) via texture maps, so it's a combination of both. You could have a procedural shader, say some fractal like or natural pattern but use a texture to control opacity or certain look to your shader, say hoy bumpy it is or the direction it would reflect light. There are shaders that can control tons of interesting procedural stuff via texture maps. Like at ILM, in Episode 1 (and also places like Imageworks with Stuart Little and many other examples), for the fur of creatures they painted texture maps that could define parameters like length of hair, it's density,, how much it curled, springiness and many others.

    So in a sense you need a traditional paint tool for this texture maps. Photoshop is a mainstay in the FX industry so it's not inconceivable that it was used. of course in the end as you mentioned it's the shader that brings it all together.

    You mention BMRT but you might be interested that it's creator, Larry Gritz, left Pixar, started his own company with other graphics gurus and are about to release a RenderMan complaint renderer called Entropy during SIGGRAPH 2001. BMRT is still supported there.

    Exluna [exluna.com]

  • Don't forget, if a nude photo is black and white, it's art. If it's in color, it's porn. Had they rendered in black and white, it probably would have been accepted as art as well.

    The only "intuitive" interface is the nipple. After that, it's all learned.
  • Remember though, that's TOTAL time. Individual scenes may have been much more processor intensive (in fact, you note he specifically mentioned that he was giving a total rather than an average, because averages were more or less meaningless). So, it will probably be at least another 18 or 36 months.

    The only "intuitive" interface is the nipple. After that, it's all learned.
  • by epukinsk ( 120536 ) on Tuesday July 31, 2001 @03:36PM (#2178122) Homepage Journal
    When Hannibal asks when we might play "a game that looks like FF," Troy Brooks, the Production Systems Supervisor says he "can't even imagine."

    Well, if it took 934,162 processor-days to render the final movie, thats...

    22419888 hours or...
    11209944 times real-time (assuming a 2hr movie)

    Assuming computing power doubles every 18 months, computers will be 16777216 times faster in 36 years (24 18 month periods = 2^24 times faster)

    So, a single workstation will be able to render the whole movie in real-time in the year 2037 (at 66% capacity!) Use the remaining third of the processor for game logic and A.I., and you have a game that looks like FFTSW.

    Can't wait.

    -Erik
  • If the interviews were with the CG 'actors'? Like how did Aki find wearing that suit? I think I'm in love... I should stop reading Gibson. --AQ2 its Jerry Springer for the net!
  • ...this coming monday is the day for me.

    hate to say it, but the shots in the article look just like...a video game.

    i hope it is more realistic in the theatre, maybe the big screen, motion and sound will blur out the scenes?

    what will all the actors do for money when linux takes all their jobs away? who *will* we worship then?


    Treatment, not tyranny. End the drug war and free our American POWs.
    • The renderfarm consists primarily of ~1000 Linux machines (PIII, custom-built, rack mounted)
    Glad to see I'm not the only one getting raped on the price of prebuilt rackmount computers...
  • Any artist doing 2d stills will want an SGI box. theres just no comparison. Watch some "Making of...." specials and see what all the artists use.

  • fill rate =! performance

  • It would be [b]really[/b] easy. Pipe a list of the machines into "clsh".

    -jason m

  • actually pixar uses a buttload of Sun machines for the renderfarm. Sgi machines are mainly used for modelling and animation
  • The renderfarm consists primarily of ~1000 Linux machines (PIII, custom-built, rack mounted), running Red Hat 6.2. These machines do all the RenderMan renders, as well as a number of other tasks.

    Schweet!!!
  • by green pizza ( 159161 ) on Tuesday July 31, 2001 @01:49PM (#2178131) Homepage
    I assumed they'd use a buttload of SGI systems like Pixar does.

    Pixar, like Square, uses SGIs for the initial modeling and animation. They also use SGIs for the final (post-render) compositing. Neither Pixar nor Square use SGIs for rendering, though. Square used a huge Linux farm and Pixar uses a huge Sun farm.
  • by green pizza ( 159161 ) on Tuesday July 31, 2001 @03:24PM (#2178132) Homepage
    SGI have to be careful because the maya release on macOS X means that alot of artists will move to the mac and ditch the SGI's UNLESS SGI can ship a decent LINUX model

    Ahh, but remember, SGI owns Alias|Wavefront (the company that makes Maya). There is a very good possibility that SGI may bring A|W back into SGI and become a software-only company.
  • After seeing what they had at SIGGRAPH last year, I can't wait to see what they have this year! (It said it would be cool in the article - look at the last line). The GSCube demo last year really was awesome.
  • Just an FYI if you wanted to see more discussion about the movie and technology, at SIGGRAPH in LA next month (August 12-18 I beleive), there is a special workshop/panel discussion thing on Mon 8/13 with people from Sony and Rhythm and Hues (who I believe actaully did the movie work). Only 2 hrs long, but I'm sure very very interesting.

    More info: here [siggraph.org].

  • Only if you think of it in terms of the movie. The Final Fantasy brand is the most successful franchise of any kind ever spawned from Japanese soil.
  • Actually, that's not something I pulled out of thin air. NPR mentioned it (IIRC) when they were discussing the movie a couple weeks ago. Final Fantasy is the most successful franchise ever spawned from Japanese soil.
  • by The Abominous Salad ( 182076 ) on Tuesday July 31, 2001 @01:56PM (#2178137) Homepage
    SquareUSA, not Squaresoft, made the movie. Squaresoft is the video game localization company; the American sister to Square, the parent in Japan. SquareUSA is the arm in Honolulu which, so far, only makes movies.
  • That link is broken now. Perhaps this one [stileproject.com] will help?
  • How many millions of geeks would jump at the chance to use their screensaver and some extra cycles to help create the next Final Fantasy or Star Wars sequel?

    Aside from the studio not knowing when the work will get finished and bandwidth problems, you know somebody's going to hack the client to take Aki's clothes off...

    --
    BACKNEXTFINISHCANCEL

  • He doesn't live there any more. Moved away to college and didn't come back. Don't blame him. I don't plan on going back there from college. At least not right away.
  • Nooo!! By 2037, the seconds since January 1, 1970 will have overflown and all UNIX machines in the world will crash, bringing on a *real* apocolypse. (Y2K was just practice, this is gonna be the big one!!!)

    K45

    (PS I'm trying to be funny, no need for a technical correction, unless you really want to.)
  • Open Source business??? I thought they were mostly projects. And I didn't think making money was the goal.
  • i don't think they are worried about box office for the US becuase they will make up the rest of the budget when it hits japan... hmm one of the first anime-like movies to be released in the US first instead of japan.
  • Um, I'm sure he appreciates this bit of name dropping and revealing his old hometown to anyone who feels they have a need to pester him.

    Next time give yourself a pat on the back and just don't post personal stuff about other people, even if you knew them, eh?

    --
    All your .sig are belong to us!

  • They do what Google does, buy a load of cheap PIII or Athlon motherboards, slap in some memory and a network card, boot over a network and crunch. It's a great way to go. One fries, just yank it out and toss in another one. Heck, you could build a farm from PC's picked up at dotcom auctions.

    --
    All your .sig are belong to us!

  • That's insane, especially since they said that it (their storage) was amlost always full. that, and something like 98,000 processor-days of computational power. Damn, that just makes the end product all the better. Maybe we'll see a FF Movie style game in a few decades ( or when we all have 10TB drives in our 256 processor boxen...
  • but did these guys get this [geocities.com] desperate?

    This is not really Aki!
    It is well constructed fake image of her face pasted on to some other body from a porno flick!
    Aki has never done nudity in any of her films!
  • Mwahahahahaha, bow down before the mighty power of the slashdo . . . wtf? The page loaded? In under 5 minutes? Geez, I don't know if Ars just rules, or if all the slashdot readers are getting lazy.
  • by Hannibal_Ars ( 227413 ) on Tuesday July 31, 2001 @01:30PM (#2178149) Homepage
    Regarding the voice synch issue, see my comment [infopop.net] in the Discussion Link attached to the front page post. Basically, it's going to be an issue for quite a while with CG, photorealistic movies. It goes much deeper than just a standard synching or tech problem.
  • As other people point out, Pixar uses Suns for rendering, not SGIs.

    Now, what is interesting is that you need about the same or larger load of SGIs to do the rendering. For something that doesn't benifit specifically from things like craylink (used for the really monstrous origins), a network of lintel machines is probably faster and definately cheaper.

    Now, the question that Pixar asked them selves was something like, do we want several hundred linux boxes, or do we want to spend more and get 250 Suns (quad processor machines) which will cost most, but take less effort (real employees) to keep running? I guess which is better depends on the renderfarm size, and how you feel about the cost of keeping PC hardware running.

    Myself, for small render farms, I'd look to Athlons, but if I got stuck running a large one, I probably would also look to Sun (sorry, love SGIs, but they wouldn't be the best here IMHO), although I would pause to check out IBMs and HPs as well.
  • and your point... sorry, and the worth of this comment is?
    _____________________________________________ __
  • Assuming computing power doubles every 18 months, computers will be 16777216 times faster in 36 years (24 18 month periods = 2^24 times faster)

    I think you are overly optimistic. Computers today already approach the limits of density (uncertainty principle) and speed (speed of light).

  • How do they define success? I find it hard to believe that Final Fantasy, while the games do sell many copies, is more successful overall than, say, Pokemon.
  • by geomcbay ( 263540 ) on Tuesday July 31, 2001 @01:17PM (#2178154)
    Yes. My #1 problem with the movie was related to the voice sync. Yes, the lip movements matched pretty well, but like the AC said, a lot of times the voice didn't really 'fit' with the scene or the character's movements. And in some cases (specifically Steve Buschemi's character) the character look just didnt match the voice at all, every time he spoke it was jarring...it was very hard to believe someone who looked like "that" would sound like "that". And, seeing Ben Affleck talking with Alec Baldwin's voice was strange too.

    Though Disney is evil, their animations work much better (even with celebrity voices) because they generally tweak the character design to more accurately match the look of the real person behind the voice. This tends to make it much more believeable, because while there are odd exceptions (Mike Tyson comes to mind), people generally have a voice sound that matches their look.

  • by geomcbay ( 263540 ) on Tuesday July 31, 2001 @01:10PM (#2178155)
    That's one of the poorer karma whore attempts I've seen in a while.

    Anyway, the one thing Final Fantasy has in common with Open Source business is that it lost a huge ton of money.

    • what will all the actors do for money when linux takes all their jobs away? who *will* we worship then?

    Natalie Portscan?

    • Though Disney is evil, their animations work much better (even with celebrity voices) because they generally tweak the character design to more accurately match the look of the real person behind the voice

    Bingo. FF looks like they were so busy beating off about their polygon count that they forgot that they were actually making entertainment for humans. Mind you, an actual plot might have helped too. ;)

    • But then I remembered that Aki is actually a fake anyway

    You take that back right this minute, young man!

  • by Rogerborg ( 306625 ) on Wednesday August 01, 2001 @01:52AM (#2178159) Homepage

    Nice try, but you forgot that Anime women don't have even a minimal amount of pubic hair. ;)

    Does it every strike anyone as strange that:

    • Artist draws nude on paper: learning basic artistic technique.
    • Artist paints nude on canvas: high art.
    • Artist carves nude out of marble: classic masterpiece.
    • Artist renders nude on screen: purile low brow porn.
  • Then of course, as chip makers swap higher clockspeeds for slower/portable chips, the cost of attaining reasonable rendering speeds on computers is going to skyrocket. You won't be able to get the fastest chip in the world at dime stores like you could in 2001. The CG industry is small enough that chip makers can't afford to keep pumping clockcycles into chips that 99% of the world uses in nothing but wristwatches and PDA's.

    Wrong

    The chip manufacturers have been doing this for years but you still see faster processors coming out all the time. Faster processors are not just needed in CG, think military, cryptology, medical, scientific, games, the latest version of MS office for example.

    Chips cost a fortune to design and when they are no longer sold to PC manufacturers they are sold in the embedded market. Intel was selling 486's for years after you could buy a PC with one in it.

    True some people manufacture only embedded chips but the market is not going to grow any bigger just because of PDA's. The chips are already there in wristwatches, cars, washing machines, mobile phones, routers, pagers, tvs etc and those markets are growing no faster than the PC market. You are talking about a revolution that has already happened.

  • And in some cases (specifically Steve Buschemi's character) the character look just didnt match the voice at all

    Voice types don't match face types. It was jarring because you know what Steve Buschemi looks like, and the character didn't look like him. Disney's characters work because they make them look like the people you already associate with the voice. Ever see a popular radio host for the first time? Often a surprise, because you may have pictured them differently.

    Voice types don't match face types.

  • a smart deduction would say that number was the single-cpu estimation of time to resolve the calcs. Hence, divide 40 years by 1000 PCs and derive the net (before revisions) cpu-bound portion of the project.
  • Not Ben Affleck, Will Ferrell I half expected him to develop a tic in his head a la Night at the Roxbury.
  • I'd rather have a couple RD5000 RenderDrives from www.art.co.uk myself, even if they are a little pricy.
  • The only reason Pixar went with Suns for Toy Story 2 is that Sun donated the systems to them in the name of advertising.

    That said, I don't know what they'd have used, had Sun not given them the hardware. I think they used SGIs for the first Toy Story, but I may be mistaken.

    - Justin
  • Wow, are there any CG movies anymore that _aren't_ rendered on Linux?
  • "The renderfarm consists primarily of ~1000 Linux machines (PIII, custom-built, rack mounted), running Red Hat 6.2. These machines do all the RenderMan renders, as well as a number of other tasks."

    I assumed they'd use a buttload of SGI systems like Pixar does. Which is cheaper? Loads of PIII, or a smaller load of SGIs with the same total rendering "power"?

    And hey, more proof that Linux rocks.

  • by Sk3lt ( 464645 )
    Thats a pretty cool interview... especially since I love the Final Fantasy Movie
  • Renderman is not free. Most commercial studios who want a Renderman-complian renderer go with Pixar's product, "Photorealistic Renderman" (PRman). Prman costs, I think, between $7k and $10k. For multiple render licenses, it is probably quite a bit more. In addition you have the Renderman Artist's Tools (MTOR, etc) for many thousands more.

    Even BMRT will cost you some money, if you use it for commercial purposes. It used to be $100, might have gone up though. BMRT is a raytracer, and not suited to feature film work like PRman.
  • Karma Whore ... that's funny!

Real programmers don't comment their code. It was hard to write, it should be hard to understand.

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