Kung Fu Panda blew my socks off! It was such an incredible animation, full of action and emotion with lots of color, texture and depth. It was the most impressive I’ve seen to date for its kind. Thanks to Dreamworks Animations strong partnership with HP, exceptional improvements have been made in the making of animation films as seen in Kung Fu Panda.
HP has been Dreamworks Animations primary technology partner for seven years to date. Over these years, the partnership has grown both ways and has made one another stronger and most importantly helped them become recognized for being a strong entity through their partnership. CEO of Dreamworks Animation, Jeffrey Kapzenberg says, HP is like a “big brother to Dreamworks, in quite an amazing way they have come to understand what and how we do this and they provide the tools we need”.
A wonderful example of this is seen through the hardware integrations and dream color. The colors are so rich and vibrant in Kung Fu Panda. This quality matched with the amazing texture capabilities really makes Kung Fu Panda top notch. The movie took 5 years to complete. It all started with a crazy concept “Kung Fu Panda”. The idea was solid and stuck with people. Technology was needed to help create animals that have never before been seen in such a high level of animation.
Chief Technology Officer of Dreamworks Studios, Ed Leonard, reiterated how important dream color was in the making of the film. It helped solve “major problems” he says. 22 million CPU render hours were used to make the film. That is the most to date, way more than were used to make the original Shrek in 2001. Madagascar only topped at 50 million CPU rendering hours. HP also housed Dreamworks for the making of Shrek at that time. One can see that many improvements have been made since then. Ed Leonard made it clear again how important the close relationship with HP has been over the years. They have been a “true partner in innovation”. Today, the hard drives used are must faster and efficient. Stereoscopic 3D is used which renders two eyes for every frame.
Furthermore, the artists are able to come together and share their true artistic expression and ideas in a collaborative effort through HALO, a virtual workspace that connects artists from around the world. All desktop HP’s are combined into one large cluster work station with color monitors where the artists can talk to each other from literally across the world and work on the same animation sharing ideas.
He says this has “really raised the bar”. Kung Fu Panda stands alone because it has more than one character with different dynamics for each one.
These things include both improvements in innovations for the characters and for the environment. Fur, clothing, grass, leaves and color all come together to “express the true vision and reduce any level of compromise” in the making of the film.
HP and Dreamworks got together in Jan. 2008 to begin a joint marketing global campaign for the release of Kung Fu Panda, “Project Panda Moneum”. The first ad ever to be released in a partnership with HP and Dreamworks is now in the works. Nickelodeon will help launch the “Kung Fu Panda Dance” along with Missy Elliott doing choreography. People from around the world will be able to find the “Kung Fu Panda Dance” online on McDonald’s global happy meal site. The dance will also be spread to the world on approximately a million DVD disks being distributed in local retail outlet stores such as Best Buy and Circuit City. Jim Christensen, Worldwide Marketing Director for HP said, “We want to engage the world and reach out to a huge customer base, especially youth”. 100,000 educational kits will be distributed to teachers to help engage students in classrooms directly with the new HP Dream Color Monitors. The software for the computers was developed internally. The core systems were developed in house. Jim says it includes “a height in film that commercial packs fall short of”. Animatics were developed on top of existing animation tools such as Photoshop, Maya, Luster, Houdini and smaller ones like Psyflex.
Dream Color enhances the animal’s actions with the clothes they are wearing and with the interactions between them all. The animals come to life and the colors jump out at you. Jim further says, “This dynamic fluid technology is in 2K HP Resolution integrated with a higher resolution”.
Kung Fu Panda is an animation film sure to blow you away. Dream Color is truly revolutionary, and thanks to the partnership between HP and Dreamworks it can now be shared with the world.