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toy story: more power
-- [ From: amp * EMC.Ver #2.3 ] --
obcrypto: i'd like to see how bruter.c would have run on their
MOUNTAIN VIEW, CALIF. (Nov. 30) BUSINESS WIRE -Nov. 30, 1995--The
making of "Toy Story," the stunning new movie from Walt Disney
Pictures that is the world's first full-length completely
computer-generated animated film, involved the use of more than 100
high-powered computers from Sun Microsystems -- which together
comprised one of the most powerful graphics rendering engines ever
For the movie, Pixar created a networked bank or "cluster" of 117
Sun(TM) SPARCstation(TM) 20 workstations -- each containing at least
two microprocessors, and running on Sun's Solaris(TM) operating
environment -- to handle the critical task of "rendering" each of the
114,000 frames in the 77-minute movie.
Sun worked closely with a team from Pixar to create its RenderFarm,
which serves as Pixar's central resource of computer processing
power. The RenderFarm uses a network computing architecture in which
a powerful SPARCserver(TM) 1000 acting as a "texture server"
supplies the necessary data to the many rendering client workstations
needed to complete the rendering process.
The RenderFarm was assembled by Sun and Pixar engineers in less than a
month and drew upon Sun's own experience in setting up "farms" of
many systems linked together. Some facts about Pixar's RenderFarm
and the computing aspects of "Toy Story": -0-
-- The RenderFarm is one of the most powerful rendering engines
ever assembled, comprising 87 dual-processor and 30 four-processor
SPARCstation 20s and an 8-processor SPARCserver 1000. The RenderFarm
has the aggregate performance of 16 billion instructions per second --
its total of 300 processors represents the equivalent of approximately
300 Cray 1 supercomputers.
-- Each system is the size of a pizza box, and all 117 systems
work in a footprint measuring just 19 inches deep by 14 feet long by 8
-- Sun is the price/performance leader, in Pixar's own rankings.
The SPARCstation 20 HS14MP earned a rating of $80 per Rendermark (a
Pixar measurement for rendering performance), while the comparable SGI
Indigo Extreme came in at approximately $150 per Rendermark.
-- Using one single-processor computer to render "Toy Story" would
have taken 43 years of nonstop performance.
-- Each of the movie's more than 1,500 shots and 114,000 frames
were rendered on the RenderFarm, a task that took 800,000 computer
hours to produce the final cut. Each frame used up 300 megabytes of
data -- the capacity of a good-sized PC hard disk -- and required from
two to 13 hours for final processing.
-- In addition to the high-resolution final rendering, the
RenderFarm was also used to generate the test images animators needed
to plan and evaluate lighting, texture mapping and animation. Since
fast response is key in doing tests, RenderMan could produce test
frames in as little as a few seconds.
-- Scalability is built-in: the RenderFarm can be upgraded (with
more processors and disk storage) to a nearly four-fold performance
level, without requiring any additional space. The RenderFarm also
integrates seamlessly with Pixar's existing computer network
containing different types of machines.