ILM Rendering....

ILM Rendering....

Post by S. Erikse » Sun, 23 May 1999 04:00:00



I noticed there was quite a bit of talk about TPM over the last few days,
and I couldn't help but wonder...anyone know what ILM uses for software? I
Imagine it's some sort of horribly scaleable propritary software. Anyone
used it?

(It's actually raydream 3......)

 
 
 

ILM Rendering....

Post by r.. » Tue, 25 May 1999 04:00:00


All the Great Animation Houses use a mixture of off the shelf and
in house.   For example the Sixty Minutes about ILM showed what looked
like to be a SoftImage screen. (Excuse I offer a modelling example when
you ask about rendering.)

--== Sent via Deja.com http://www.deja.com/ ==--
---Share what you know. Learn what you don't.---

 
 
 

ILM Rendering....

Post by Teague Clar » Tue, 25 May 1999 04:00:00


RenderMan and ElectricImage Animation System.

----------
In article


> I noticed there was quite a bit of talk about TPM over the last few days,
> and I couldn't help but wonder...anyone know what ILM uses for software? I
> Imagine it's some sort of horribly scaleable propritary software. Anyone
> used it?

> (It's actually raydream 3......)

 
 
 

ILM Rendering....

Post by Jamie McCarte » Wed, 26 May 1999 04:00:00


Quote:> I noticed there was quite a bit of talk about TPM over the last few
> days, and I couldn't help but wonder...anyone know what ILM uses for
> software? I Imagine it's some sort of horribly scaleable propritary
> software.
> All the Great Animation Houses use a mixture of off the shelf and
> in house.   For example the Sixty Minutes about ILM showed what looked
> like to be a SoftImage screen. (Excuse I offer a modelling example
> when you ask about rendering.)

At the end of the credits for The Phantom Menace ILM thanked
Alias|Wavefront for Maya and Softimage for, well, Softimage.  For
rendering they use Pixar's PRMan.

Given that, however, the shiny ship's reflections were _amazing_ so were
they using reflection maps or raytracing?  Since PRMan isn't a
raytracer, either they also employed BMRT (or their own raytracer) as a
rayserver or they used something else.

I believe I once read that they also have used Mental Ray...  Truly,
whatever works best for the shot I suspect.

Quote:> Anyone used it?

Their proprietary animation tools?  No, not yet.  But someday....
someday...   :)

--
Jamie McCarter
http://jamie.ice.org

--== Sent via Deja.com http://www.deja.com/ ==--
---Share what you know. Learn what you don't.---

 
 
 

ILM Rendering....

Post by Andrew Robbin » Wed, 26 May 1999 04:00:00


I'm not sure if it was used heavily or not, but at the end of the credits
Maya is acknowledged in addition to a seperate credit for Alias|Wavefront.

-Andrew

 
 
 

ILM Rendering....

Post by S. Erikse » Wed, 26 May 1999 04:00:00


Quote:> At the end of the credits for The Phantom Menace ILM thanked
> Alias|Wavefront for Maya and Softimage for, well, Softimage.  For
> rendering they use Pixar's PRMan.

Oh, good eye. I missed that when I was watching the credits.

Quote:> Given that, however, the shiny ship's reflections were _amazing_ so were
> they using reflection maps or raytracing?  Since PRMan isn't a
> raytracer, either they also employed BMRT (or their own raytracer) as a
> rayserver or they used something else.

Actually, I was rather impressed with the reflections, too. The other
thing was the pod race crashes. After seeing the crashes several times, I
still can't help but wonder: was all the debris generated by hand or via
algorithim?

 Has ILM ever released any of their models that they have used for
rendered shots? It would be kind of cool to be able to play with the
actual models used for SW (or for any movie with cool rendered effects.)
I supsect, that if a legal dept has any say in the issue, that it would be
a resounding no.

 
 
 

ILM Rendering....

Post by Larry Gri » Wed, 26 May 1999 04:00:00




Quote:>At the end of the credits for The Phantom Menace ILM thanked
>Alias|Wavefront for Maya and Softimage for, well, Softimage.  For
>rendering they use Pixar's PRMan.

For those who are not aware, the "product" credits at the end of films
like this are usually contractual, in exchange for a whole lot of
"free stuff."  It is definitely not intended to be a comprehensive
list of what hardware or software was used to make the film.  It's a
mistake to try to use these credits to infer how a film was made.

Quote:>Given that, however, the shiny ship's reflections were _amazing_ so were
>they using reflection maps or raytracing?  Since PRMan isn't a
>raytracer, either they also employed BMRT (or their own raytracer) as a
>rayserver or they used something else.

I'm not aware that they did this, and I'm not sure why they would.
I saw nothing in the film that I didn't think would be quite easy
to do with ordinary environment maps.  (I'm not sure why, exactly,
you thought they were *amazing*, but that's almost always a giveaway
that it was an environment map, since they are much less prone to
sampling errors and aliasing than are traced rays.)

In fact, think about it... what did the ship reflect?  Live action
or paintings, right?  Of course it was an environment map.

        -- lg

--
Larry Gritz                                     Pixar Animation Studios

 
 
 

ILM Rendering....

Post by Jamie McCarte » Wed, 26 May 1999 04:00:00


Quote:> I'm not aware that they did this, and I'm not sure why they would.
> I saw nothing in the film that I didn't think would be quite easy
> to do with ordinary environment maps.  (I'm not sure why, exactly,
> you thought they were *amazing*, but that's almost always a giveaway
> that it was an environment map, since they are much less prone to
> sampling errors and aliasing than are traced rays.)

> In fact, think about it... what did the ship reflect?  Live action
> or paintings, right?  Of course it was an environment map.

True... quite true.  What was I thinking?  I think I'll go render some
reflective spheres over checker board planes now.

--
Jamie McCarter
http://jamie.ice.org

--== Sent via Deja.com http://www.deja.com/ ==--
---Share what you know. Learn what you don't.---

 
 
 

ILM Rendering....

Post by Teague Clar » Thu, 27 May 1999 04:00:00


Quote:

>>Given that, however, the shiny ship's reflections were _amazing_ so were
>>they using reflection maps or raytracing?  Since PRMan isn't a
>>raytracer, either they also employed BMRT (or their own raytracer) as a
>>rayserver or they used something else.

> I'm not aware that they did this, and I'm not sure why they would.
> I saw nothing in the film that I didn't think would be quite easy
> to do with ordinary environment maps.  (I'm not sure why, exactly,
> you thought they were *amazing*, but that's almost always a giveaway
> that it was an environment map, since they are much less prone to
> sampling errors and aliasing than are traced rays.)

the ship reflections were done using ElectricImage Animation System. And it
was raytraced. Search on DejaNews for Mark Granger if you want more

Teague

 
 
 

ILM Rendering....

Post by g a t » Thu, 27 May 1999 04:00:00


Maybe you all have missed the little brouhaha betwen ILM and PLAY the
"makers" of ElectricImage. Apparently ElectricImage detacted a
programmer to ILM to customize EI for use by what is sometimes refered
to as the "rebel mac unit". Here's part of the story:
http://www.sacbee.com/ib/news/ib_news01_19990518.html  

EI created a camera map plugin (basically a way of creating faux 3D
matte paintings using), a raytracing render (the commercially available
EI has only phong rendering), a new Render man-like shader system and
probablly quite a few other tweaks, in exchange for credit they feel
they haven't received. PLAY, the recent purchaser's of EI, took out a
full page ad in the Hollywood reporter begging for recognition. Whether
this was a bright move is still being debated.

If the unofficial channels are to be believed ILM has used EI on the
new X wing material in the special edition of ep 4, camera mapping was
used for the new Mos Eisley in ep 4 (this is according to "ILM
...Digital Realm"). In addition EI is credited in whispers with alot of
the vehicular animation (the queen's ship for one) and some
environments (by way of camera mapping) in EP 1.

Apparently the souvenir booklet gives ElectricImage a credit but I
didn't see one in the print of SWPM I watched. Maybe the Cinefex
articles will shake out the details...we'll see.

Quote:> I'm not aware that they did this, and I'm not sure why they would.
> I saw nothing in the film that I didn't think would be quite easy
> to do with ordinary environment maps.  (I'm not sure why, exactly,
> you thought they were *amazing*, but that's almost always a giveaway
> that it was an environment map, since they are much less prone to
> sampling errors and aliasing than are traced rays.)

> In fact, think about it... what did the ship reflect?  Live action
> or paintings, right?  Of course it was an environment map.

Randy Gates

http://www.azstarnet.com/~gatz
------------

"....actually it's a hippopotamus, but that's besides the point..."

------------

 
 
 

ILM Rendering....

Post by Larry Gri » Thu, 27 May 1999 04:00:00




>>>Given that, however, the shiny ship's reflections were _amazing_ so were
>>>they using reflection maps or raytracing?  Since PRMan isn't a
>>>raytracer, either they also employed BMRT (or their own raytracer) as a
>>>rayserver or they used something else.

>> I'm not aware that they did this, and I'm not sure why they would.
>> I saw nothing in the film that I didn't think would be quite easy
>> to do with ordinary environment maps.  (I'm not sure why, exactly,
>> you thought they were *amazing*, but that's almost always a giveaway
>> that it was an environment map, since they are much less prone to
>> sampling errors and aliasing than are traced rays.)

>the ship reflections were done using ElectricImage Animation System. And it
>was raytraced. Search on DejaNews for Mark Granger if you want more

>Teague

Hi.  Just a clarification...

The question I responded to asked if BMRT was used to raytrace the
ship.  As author of BMRT, I replied that I was unaware that it was.
Furthermore, from my viewing of SW:TPM, I didn't see any reason to
assume that it was ray traced -- specifically, the vast majority
of shots only reflected backgrounds that I assume were live action
or paintings, rather than other CG objects.  

Our experience at Pixar is that very few things have to be ray traced.
In fact, we've only once ray traced an object in our films, even
though most people think that anything reflective or refractive must
be ray traced.  Environment maps in the right hands are almost always
superior in speed and flexibility, and rarely are objectionally
inaccurate.

I did search for Mark Granger as you suggested, and there was one
article that indicated that at least some shots of the shiny ship were
ray traced.  To wit, "...it was used to render the queen's reflective
spaceship for several shots."  This is worded in such a way that it's
entirely possible that this was done for a few shots that needed ray
tracing, but that others (perhaps even the majority) were done in some
other manner.  I don't know.

Incidentally, about this Electric Image flap, I understand where
they're coming from (having had this happen to me on occasion).  Let
me again stress that the product credits at the end of films are *not*
an acknowledgement that a particular piece of hardware or software was
used.  Rather, it is a contractual obligation in exchange for a
certain (usually large) amount of freebies, arranged ahead of time.

Yes, it would be a better world if films actually tried to acknowledge
contributions, with no strings attached, and without trying to*
people out of credits just because they realized too late that it had
to be in the contract.  Yes, it would be great of LucasFilm (or other
well known companies) took the lead in this kind of fair treatment.
But the EI situation is not at all unique, and they've been around
long enough that I'm surprised that they're still kind of naive about
this stuff.  If you want credit, get it in writing *before* doing all
the extra work.

        -- lg

--
Larry Gritz                                     Pixar Animation Studios

 
 
 

ILM Rendering....

Post by Teague Clar » Thu, 27 May 1999 04:00:00


no argument. I agree about environment mapping... just that I'm pretty
certain Mark said that because he custom wrote the raytracing for the chrome
ship. I expect most of the rest is environments.

I don't really want to comment on the ILM deal, as I don't know the details
and my sources are pretty obviously biased... I'm sure there were problems
on both parts, assuming EI didn't actually have something in writing. Of
course, *contracts are usually legally binding as well.

Teague

> Hi.  Just a clarification...

> The question I responded to asked if BMRT was used to raytrace the
> ship.  As author of BMRT, I replied that I was unaware that it was.
> Furthermore, from my viewing of SW:TPM, I didn't see any reason to
> assume that it was ray traced -- specifically, the vast majority
> of shots only reflected backgrounds that I assume were live action
> or paintings, rather than other CG objects.

> Our experience at Pixar is that very few things have to be ray traced.
> In fact, we've only once ray traced an object in our films, even
> though most people think that anything reflective or refractive must
> be ray traced.  Environment maps in the right hands are almost always
> superior in speed and flexibility, and rarely are objectionally
> inaccurate.

> I did search for Mark Granger as you suggested, and there was one
> article that indicated that at least some shots of the shiny ship were
> ray traced.  To wit, "...it was used to render the queen's reflective
> spaceship for several shots."  This is worded in such a way that it's
> entirely possible that this was done for a few shots that needed ray
> tracing, but that others (perhaps even the majority) were done in some
> other manner.  I don't know.

> Incidentally, about this Electric Image flap, I understand where
> they're coming from (having had this happen to me on occasion).  Let
> me again stress that the product credits at the end of films are *not*
> an acknowledgement that a particular piece of hardware or software was
> used.  Rather, it is a contractual obligation in exchange for a
> certain (usually large) amount of freebies, arranged ahead of time.

> Yes, it would be a better world if films actually tried to acknowledge
> contributions, with no strings attached, and without trying to*
> people out of credits just because they realized too late that it had
> to be in the contract.  Yes, it would be great of LucasFilm (or other
> well known companies) took the lead in this kind of fair treatment.
> But the EI situation is not at all unique, and they've been around
> long enough that I'm surprised that they're still kind of naive about
> this stuff.  If you want credit, get it in writing *before* doing all
> the extra work.

>  -- lg

> --
> Larry Gritz     Pixar Animation Studios


 
 
 

ILM Rendering....

Post by Mike Not » Thu, 27 May 1999 04:00:00


as a mac user you pay a lot of attention to things pertaining to your
operating system here and there.......

ILM, from what I understand... I have teacher that works there.
unofficially, has an entire mac department that does indeed use EI.  Most
of which is used for animatics.  However.... John Knoll has publically
stated that most of the flight scenes that he redid for episode iv, were
done on EI at home on his old 8100....

The real problem here is that people wish to belive that the only way ot
acheve greatness is to have this and use it with that and render it whit
this other app...  Not true.  Every program has it's use, and if you are
paitent, and are willing to take the time, every program has potential...
well, I found no use for extreme 3d..... none the less people, get off the
the platform and software debate.  get to work on your onw stuff naf make
it look as good as you want.  Cause, unless you are into rendering and
shader writing, you'll never have to deal with this in an animation
specific job.

These are all tools to get something done...  

M>

-_-_- "The artist formerly known as Mike Notko" -_-_-

             http://www.electriccow.com

"we are the music makers, and we are the dreamers of dreams"

 
 
 

ILM Rendering....

Post by Grang » Sat, 29 May 1999 04:00:00


Quote:>To wit, "...it was used to render the queen's reflective
>spaceship for several shots."  This is worded in such a way that it's
>entirely possible that this was done for a few shots that needed ray
>tracing, but that others (perhaps even the majority) were done in some
>other manner.  I don't know.

In regard to the question of how much of the queen's ship was ray traced I know
that it was used to create correct reflections of the landing gear deployment.
It was also used when R2 emerged from the ship to repair the damaged force
field generator.  It may also have been used in other scenes in which the ship
reflected its environment but I am not certain.  I do know that in all scenes
in which the queen's ship is moving ElectricImage was used to animate and
render it.

The reason the reflections look so good in the movie is that ILM uses a
multi-layer process to achieve the desired look.  When the queen's ship arrives
at Coruscant, for example, there is a dramatic scene where the ship approaches
the floating landing platform from above.  All of the elements in the scene
were rendered in layers in ElectricImage and then composited in AfterEffects.
Separate renderings were done of the background, lit windows, reflections,
highlights, etc.  These were then put together in AfterEffects using blurs and
other filters to achieve the final result.  Only the people walking on the
platform were not a computer rendering.

We recently learned that all of the 3D matt paintings were done in
ElectricImage including all of the dramatic scenes on Coruscant, Naboo and
Tatooine.  All of the exterior scenes of Theed Palace, Jedi Temple Spire,
Galactic Senate, Coruscant landing platform, were created in ElectricImage.
Even the static matt paintings were often rendered first in EI and then
repainted in PhotoShop.  In addition, the hundreds small ships that are flying
around are rendered in EI and composited into the scene.

It turns out that ElectricImage was used in far more of the movie that I had
dared to hope.  The creature effects were done with the same software that had
been created to produce earlier movies.  Most of the new technology created for
this movie was in the extensive use of 3d digital matt paintings.  This will
give film directors far greater freedom to go to imaginary locations in the
past or future.  It is the digital matt paintings that give Phantom Menace its
dramatic scope.

Mark Granger
VP R&D
Play 3D Group

 
 
 

1. ILM SGI Origin 2000 render farm

Industrial Light & Magic may have a couple of PC's or Mac's around but
TechTV was given an insider tour of the ILM studio and render
farm/animation network and it is based almost entirely on SGI Origin
2000:

http://www.sgi.com/origin/2000/

  The Origin 2000 can have up to 512 processors each. The interview
with ILM states they had 800 processors in their render farm at that
time:

http://mfile.akamai.com/6321/asf/origin.techtv.com/windows/freshgear/...

  Most Hollywood studios do their final renders with Pixar Renderman
because it supports massive distributed processing. Renderman and Unix
are pretty well entrenched for feature film production and it is
unlikely another render engine is going to displace that position any
time soon, especially if it is not Unix based with large scale
distributed rendering support.

2. Voronoi bibliography, was distributing points on a sphere

3. Does anyone know ILM or DreamWorks SKG

4. Bulk Mail Software

5. Is there any WWW of ILM

6. Resource file (*.res)

7. ILM's Frankenstein Test?

8. ILM --- misc

9. ILM at NCSU

10. ILM Website???

11. ILM: Nice Promo for SGI

12. Behind the scenes at ILM