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Animation Sophistication: The Croods Required 80 Million Compute Hours 196

Lucas123 writes "It may be a movie about a stone age family, but DreamWorks said its latest 3D animated movie The Croods took more compute cycles to create than any other movie they've made. The movie required a whopping 80 million compute hours to render, 15 million more hours than DreamWorks' last record holder, The Rise of the Guardians. The production studio said between 300 and 400 animators worked on The Croods over the past three years. The images they created, from raw sketches to stereoscopic high-definition shots, required about 250TB of data storage capacity. When the movie industry moved from producing 2D to 3D high-definition movies over the past decade, the data required to produce the films increased tremendously. For DreamWorks, the amount of data needed to create a stereoscopic film leaped by 30%."
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Animation Sophistication: The Croods Required 80 Million Compute Hours

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  • But... Why? (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday March 26, 2013 @08:39PM (#43287225)

    How does the efficiency of this compare to some of Pixar's movies (like Brave or WALL-E)?

    I only say this because sometimes long render times and exuberant technical requirements are not signs of proper craftsmanship. When they are, you often point out why they are- maybe you've developed a new BRDF shader that takes a bit longer to render but offers results closer to an unbiased renderer that nobody else can achieve. Or maybe you've written a new global illumination system that, once again, takes a bit longer to render but offers a diffuse bounce count beyond anything anyone else can achieve in any reasonable amount of time.

    The fact that they don't mention why or what that extreme amount of resources went towards raises an eyebrow. Was it a rushed production? Are the scenes so poorly setup and configured that they had to jack up the render engine parameters just to get a usable frame out of the thing? Because the movie looks a hell of a lot like any other CGI flick out there (Brave, Wreck-It Ralph, etc), so if there is some grand justification for these numbers I'm certainly not seeing it.

    Having spent many years in the CG industry myself, I can tell you that if you don't have a reason to backup your "big numbers"- you're probably doing it wrong. I can't even count the number of times I've seen someone brew up some insane (not insane as in "wow, that's radical", but insane as in "what the hell were you thinking?") over-the-top lighting rig and a gigantically obfuscated scene setup that requires horrendously long render times for sub-par results, when the same scene heavily optimized and relighted can be rendered out in 1/100th of the time and look identical with a bit of post work (if not better).

  • Re:But... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Dahamma ( 304068 ) on Tuesday March 26, 2013 @08:50PM (#43287299)

    Actually, two of the three writers (John Cleese and Chris Sanders) are more than decent. Must have been the 3rd guy who screwed it up.

  • Prejudice... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by mapuche ( 41699 ) on Tuesday March 26, 2013 @09:10PM (#43287389) Homepage

    I guess your comment is the variant of "haven't read the article, just the summary".

    The script is very well done in terms of human relationships and interactions. It's not a movie about fart jokes, the characters are fairly complex (for an animated movie). It is worth to watch it before forming any opinion.

  • I'm a screenwriter. (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday March 27, 2013 @12:15AM (#43288223)

    No, seriously, I am.

    Let me tell you about the Hollywood screenwriting process as applied to the vast majority of screenwriters.

    First the new script is tossed on a pile with a hundred others waiting to be read by one of the teenage intern scriptreaders enslaved at every studio and production company.

    When they finally get to your script, these readers skim through page one, looking for that Big Grabber. Hollywood's Writing-by-Numbers bible stipulates that every screenplay have a Big Grabber on page one. That usually means EXPLOSION. (Hollywood's standard screenplay format requires that caps be used for sounds, significant action, and events.)

    So the teen skims page one for words such as (but not limited to) EXPLOSION, GUNFIRE, STEAMY SEX, or DECAPITATES. If they do not see those words, they usually toss the script on the huge Of No Interest pile.

    Sometimes they'll keep reading in the hope that the next Hollywood stipulation is met: Something Big by page ten. If they don't see Something Big by page ten, they toss the script.

    Very occasionally, the teen will keep reading, desperate to see the next stipulation fulfilled: Something Shocking on page 17. Note I said "on" page 17; It has to be page 17. Not page 16, not page 18. It has to be page 17. Why? Because it's in Hollywood's Writing-by-Numbers bible, and who can argue with that?

    Well, if that Page 17 Something Shocking requirement is ignored by the worthless writer, who has also not done his or her duty by meeting the page one Big Grabber and page ten Something Big demands, the script will be tossed, as you can imagine.

    However, a reader may keep reading once in a blue moon, clinging to the belief that the writer will redeem him or herself on page 30. Page 30 is the last chance. It's where Things Change. There is a chance that the otherwise-ignorant writer has not forgotten the holy Hollywood Writing-by-Numbers bible and has saved something great for page 30. Something Different. Something that Changes Everything.

    If it's not there, the script is tossed. End of story in 99.9% of instances.

    Some other points: Dialogue is Bad. Dialogue is Boring. Anything longer than Die, muthafucka! is unacceptable. Dialogue puts the teenage intern scriptreader to sleep, and if it puts a teenage intern scriptreader to sleep, it will put everyone to sleep. It just stands to reason. So dialogue is out.

    Story is also bad. It just gets in the way of the movie. Remember, it's EXPLOSION, CAR CHASE, BARE BREASTS and other important visual imagery that make or break a true Hollywood classic in the 21st Century.

    As long as you have, say, a psychotic serial killer, a hot chick in danger, a popular lead from a hit TV show, exploding helicopters, super heroes, almost-but-not-quite-gay hot guy Vampires (who have some very close male friends), at least 25 zombies, and an ending from which no one walks away alive except maybe the lead and the hot chick (-zombie clause-), you have a Hollywood movie.

It's fabulous! We haven't seen anything like it in the last half an hour! -- Macy's