Rhythm & Hues Makes Skies Soar with NVIDIA GPUs in Life of Pi

Author:
Publish date:

SANTA CLARA, Calif. --

Global visual effects giant Rhythm & Hues (R&H) recently completed the lion’s share of visual effects shots on the acclaimed new film, “Life of Pi,” leveraging NVIDIA GPUs to maximize throughput and accelerate creative workflows. “Life of Pi,” from Academy Award-winning director Ang Lee, tapped legions of R&H artists at offices in Los Angeles, India, Kuala Lumpur, Vancouver and Taiwan to create several hundred visual effects shots in stereo 3D that included the Bengal tiger, digitally recreated water and skies, Meerkat Island and myriad additional creatures and effects.

R&H is known for its custom development of proprietary visual effects tools, many of which are written specifically for the GPU. One of those tools, dubbed Rampage, was particularly instrumental in achieving the remarkable skies that set the tone in this tale of an Indian zookeeper’s son named Pi, shipwrecked with a Bengal tiger and adrift in the Pacific Ocean.

Rampage is a 3D projection-mapping program that allowed R&H artists to quickly replace the skies in each shot with custom-made matte paintings. “We wouldn’t have been able to do this show without Rampage and NVIDIA GPUs. We were generating full HDRI [High Dynamic Range Imaging] skies with an average file size upwards of 3GB, which are the largest matte paintings we’ve ever done on this scale, not to mention the added complexity of creating them in stereo 3D. That high-resolution level of detail was required because the skies take up much of the frame in many scenes, and were used to light and influence reflections in the CG water,” explained Heather Abels, Matte Painting Lead.

From vibrant blue to sun-drenched, magic hour, tumultuous and stormy, over 110 different skies literally set the stage in this movie. With Rampage running on NVIDIA GPUs, artists were able to quickly project custom 2D matte paintings onto simple 3D geometry and review in real-time how each sky would look, aligning with the vision of the director and VFX supervisor, and creating immediate lighting reference images to hand off to other teams of artists.

Nathan Cournia, Lead Software Engineer at R&H, took an interest in writing code for the GPU to meet the project’s workflow and productivity demands. “The mandate in my department is to make things more efficient so that we can work faster and more cost effectively without compromising image quality. With each new show we create a priority list to guide our development. Oftentimes, as with ‘Life of Pi’, those demands drive us toward custom GPU development. For R&H working on the GPU means working with NVIDIA; their driver stability is simply better than the competition.”

In addition to Rampage, R&H has several other customized GPU tools that were used on “Life of Pi” including its in-house compositing package, Icy, with several nodes written using CUDA, NVIDIA’s parallel computing architecture, to enable real time color correction operations, retiming and optical flow. CUDA has proven to be popular with R&H engineers due to the abundance of easily accessible documentation available online. The CUDA based optical flow implementation garnered a ten-fold increase in performance over R&H’s legacy CPU implementation, enabling artist to converge quicker on the desired look. Likewise, R&H’s GPU-enabled proprietary animation and tracking software, Voodoo, continues to enjoy performance increases with each new generation of NVIDIA GPUs.

“It is an honor to have NVIDIA technology associated with such an incredible film; one that so seamlessly marries masterful cinematography with incredible visual effects,” said Greg Estes, Media and Entertainment Industry Executive, NVIDIA. “The effects in this film, from skies to water to a living breathing tiger are entirely photo-real and deeply complex from a computing standpoint and we’re pleased that the NVIDIA GPU contributed to the success of this feat of digital artistry.”

Cournia is continuing to write new GPU tools at R&H and is currently working on a large-scale development effort called Crom. Crom makes heavy use of the GPU and is a platform on which R&H is developing new pre-lighting, lighting and compositing tools. R&H is integrating its current CUDA toolset into the Crom platform, which is being deployed on the studio’s current projects: “300: Rise of an Empire,” “The Seventh Sun,” “R.I.P.D.,” “Percy Jackson: Sea of Monsters.” “Django Unchained,” “Black Sky,” “Grown Ups 2” and “Winter’s Tale.”

About NVIDIA

NVIDIA (NASDAQ: NVDA) awakened the world to computer graphics when it invented the GPU in 1999. Today, its processors power a broad range of products from smartphones to supercomputers. NVIDIA’s mobile processors are used in cell phones, tablets and auto infotainment systems. PC gamers rely on GPUs to enjoy spectacularly immersive worlds. Professionals use them to create 3D graphics and visual effects in movies and to design everything from golf clubs to jumbo jets. And researchers utilize GPUs to advance the frontiers of science with high performance computing. The company has more than 5,000 patents issued, allowed or filed, including ones covering ideas essential to modern computing. For more information, see

www.nvidia.com

.

© 2012 NVIDIA Corporation. All rights reserved. NVIDIA, the NVIDIA logo, Kepler and VGX are trademarks and/or registered trademarks of NVIDIA Corporation in the U.S. and other countries. Other company and product names may be trademarks of the respective companies with which they are associated. Features, pricing, availability and specifications are subject to change without notice.

Related

More than 55 of the 2018 Fall Television and Streaming Series Rely on Blackmagic Design

More than 55 of the 2018 Fall Television and Streaming Series Rely on Blackmagic Design

Blackmagic Design today announced that the company’s production and post products were used to complete many of the fall 2018 season’s new and returning television shows and streaming series. More than 55 shows rely on Blackmagic Design’s digital film cameras; Fusion visual effects (VFX), compositing, 3D and motion graphics software; and DaVinci Resolve editing, color correction, VFX and digital audio software; as well as its switchers, routers, monitors and capture and playback devices.

Luxul_AMS-1208P

Jingle All the Way: Luxul's XMS-1208P Managed Gigabit Switch is Available for All CI Integrators this Holiday Season

Luxul, the leading innovator of IP networking solutions for AV integrators, today announced that it's giving CI integrators the gift of enterprise-level performance at affordable price points this holiday season. It doesn't matter if they've been naughty or nice, the company's XMS-1208P 12-port/18 PoE+ managed Gigabit switch — that delivers high-speed performance while enabling simple network expansion — is now available for all. And to ring in the new year, Luxul will begin shipping its AMS-1816P 18-port/16 PoE+ L2/L3 managed Gigabit switch in early January.

HoverCam_VV1

HoverCam Transforms Classrooms Fit for Future-Ready Students at Val Verde USD

HoverCam, an innovative technology leader in the digital education market, announced that Val Verde Unified School District (USD) in Parris, California, successfully installed HoverCam's Pilot digital teaching stations and CenterStage interactive flat panels (IFPs) in new STEM labs in the elementary schools, with plans for an eventual rollout to the district's middle and high schools. As part of the district's goal to create future-ready students, Val Verde USD chose HoverCam digital education solutions to address the rising challenge of updating classrooms and introducing curriculum with advanced systems that will prepare students for a rapidly changing career landscape.

ScreenShot2018-12-11at2.41.29PM.144822

The Sigma Holiday Sale Is Back!

Nothing makes gift giving as enjoyable as special prices on award-winning Sigma lenses and accessories; get the lens you’ve always craved or surprise a fellow shooter with the perfect present.

Riedel-Ruptly-Vans-3

Global News Agency Ruptly Relies on Riedel's MediorNet and Artist on Board New OB and DSNG Vehicles

Riedel's MediorNet real-time media network and Artist digital matrix intercom are providing the decentralized and redundant signal routing and communications backbone on board two all-new, state-of-the-art OB vehicles for Ruptly, a Berlin-based international news agency. Qvest Media, a world-leading system architect and integrator for the broadcast and media industries, designed and built the new broadcast van and DSNG vehicle.