Hollywood animator turning data into dollars

Infographic | How Hollywood Animators Turn Data into Dollars

“Bursting into the cloud.” It’s a phrase used to describe what happens when a data center can’t meet the processing demands placed on it, and some of that workload is offloaded to the cloud.1

For feature animation rendering, the need for this extra boost is thanks to the growing amount of data required to bring the stunningly detailed artwork to life on screen.2

Sophisticated Animation Rendering Requires More Storage and Compute

In live-action films, cameras capture the movement of actors and the surrounding environment. Animated movies rely on digital artists and software engineers to manipulate thousands of data points to create the movement of every detail in a scene—down to the blades of grass blowing in the wind. The result is terabytes (TB) of data that require optimized object storage and an incredible amount of computing (both locally and in the cloud) to create the final product.

The amount of data points involved just to render this dancing hot dog might surprise you.

To create each scene, artists draw from a stored bank of character features (like facial expressions and clothing) and environmental elements. Artists use as many as 100,000 files for one single frame of an animated movie—meaning not only tons of storage space, but also compute power, is required.3 Artists need their “data-rich canvases” to respond quickly during the creative process, and latencies can lead to interruption and increased production time.

Some animation houses utilize 80,000 processing cores — a 2600% increase from just a decade ago!4

Hollywood’s Investment in Big Animation Data is Paying Off

Though the costs of making these animated masterpieces might be increasing, so, too, are the films’ ability to return on the investment at the box office. This year’s long-awaited, family-of-superheroes animated sequel grossed $608 million, ranking among the top 5 highest-grossing movies of 2018. Its 2004 predecessor came in around the $261 million.5

So how do production houses turn these data points into dollars? Here’s a closer look at how data is created, stored and transformed in a typical animated film.

Hollywood Animation Data to Dollars infographic

Infographic Sources: 1. Reanimate Business With Advanced Analytics, 2. A Small Artistic Army, 3. How Technology is Driving the Next Wave of Film Animation, 4. How One Studio Brings Animated Movies to Life, 5. Cost to Produce Feature Animations, 6. Top Animated Film Revenue, 7. How Animated Movies are Rendered, 8. Powering Animated Movies with Workstations and Big Data Storage

Data infrastructure is evolving fast to meet the increased demand for storage and compute in media and entertainment

  • Increasing the resolution and complexity of immersive video is creating massive data challenges in the entertainment industry. Learn how object storage is improving digital media workflows.
  • Find out how future tech like 8K video, 3D and VR can revolutionize the moviegoing experience.
  • Learn more about our full portfolio of products, systems and solutions that exceed the content-rich demands of media storage, access and archiving.

This content is produced by WIRED Brand Lab in collaboration with Western Digital Corporation.

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