Sony Pictures Imageworks Creates Tornado of Spaghetti with Nvidia Technology
September 30, 2009

Sony Pictures Imageworks Creates Tornado of Spaghetti with Nvidia Technology

Santa Clara, Calif. - Nvidia Corp. has announced that Sony Pictures Imageworks (SPI) utilized Nvidia Quadro processors to accelerate animation and visual effects production of their latest hit film Cloudy
With a Chance of Meatballs
Opening to audiences across the U.S. on September 18th, the 3D animated film continues to storm through the box office, grossing over $60 million in revenue since its premiere, making it the #1 film nationwide. Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs continues to enthrall audiences with its groundbreaking computer animation and extensive use of visual effects created on Nvidia Quadro professional graphics solutions.

The memorable "spaghetti tornado" scene includes elements rendered using SPLAT, SPI's proprietary volumetric rendering tool designed to run on the Nvidia Quadro GPU. Atmospheric effects rendered in SPLAT not only included dust clouds, fire, and sparks, but also -- for the very first time -- tomato sauce.

"For visual effects artists to be most effective using computer animation tools, it's all about the speed and especially the user experience," explains Rob Bredow, CTO, Sony Pictures Imageworks. "When an artist can do 10 times as many iterations of an effect in the same amount of time, the quality of the end product will be that much better."

"Our goal with leveraging Nvidia Quadro GPUs, and other new technologies we integrate, is to make our artists' lives better by helping them be more productive," continues Bredow. "Renders that would have taken 45 minutes or more to run on a CPU, are now cut down to just 20 seconds on our Nvidia GPU-based pipeline. With this system, the creative process has been transformed from tedious to fun."

In addition to a heavily integrated GPU render pipeline, SPI has deployed Nvidia Quadro professional solutions on all of its artists' workstations. The power of the Nvidia processor enabled 24 frames-per-second, real-time previews of highly complex, data-intensive scenes in Autodesk Maya, presenting animators with more accurate representations of their work.

Discussing work performed on Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs, Bredow will be a featured speaker at the upcoming GPU Technology Conference in San Jose, CA, Sept. 30-Oct. 2. Bredow will participate in a panel discussion entitled "The GPU Revolution in Film Production: Report from the Battlefield," joining industry experts from Industrial Light & Magic (ILM), Disney Feature Animation and Digital Domain.

"GPU-based render pipelines are gaining momentum, and the early adopters such as Sony Pictures Imageworks are experiencing massive speed increases and a much higher degree of interactivity," said Dominick Spina, technology product manager, Digital Film Group, Nvidia. "Software developers from all
industries can learn from the groundbreaking GPU-based techniques that Sony has successfully employed in filmmaking."