by Daniel Simon

I’m Daniel Simon, automobile lead designer, and an NVIDIA Maximus-powered workstation is my partner in crime to create sophisticated imagery and animation – before only possible with expansive render farms.

This one-minute HD teaser video showcases the fluid shapes of the 1942 supercharged V16 Coupé I designed for the 2011 Marvel feature film Captain America: The First Avenger for villain Johann Schmidt, aka The Red Skull.

Using an NVIDIA Maximus powered BOXX 8550XTREME workstation configured with NVIDIA Quadro 6000 and Tesla C2075 GPUs, I reduced render times per frame by about two-thirds – from 15 minutes to 5 – saving more than 11 days of rendering over the 1,600-frame clip.

The clip was rendered in full HD 1080p with in-camera depth of field and low light – a really tough render task. The model is built in Autodesk Alias Automotive while the animation is key-framed and rendered in Bunkspeed Pro.

I often handle both vehicle design and modeling in the film projects that I work on, so I need efficiency. My first experience with NVIDIA GPUs was a single Quadro 6000. The rendering speed in iRay was an eye opener, and it also helped my editing process in Adobe Premiere Pro with its built-in GPU support.

Impressed with the boost of one Quadro alone, I went all in with Maximus. I now render proportionally faster with every card I add, plus I can keep using the same machine for other tasks while rendering.

Most directors I work with are tech savvy and curious about my tools, but in the end we all just focus on creativity and getting jobs done on time – including quick iterations during the design phase.

On Captain America, we spent a few days brainstorming on paper with director Joe Johnston and production designer Rick Heinrichs about how the Red Skull’s car should look – capturing the feel of the 1940s while also looking elegant, imposing and sinister.

After I sculpted the car in Alias, I rendered batches of photo-real imagery of the car within minutes. The 3D data set and rendered shots were instrumental for building a life-size version of the car that matched every detail, for use on set at Shepperton Studios in London.

So yes, GPU-driven visualization lets me focus on design, my real passion. The photographer in me enjoys the fact I render up to 10K resolution with ease, can add depth-of-field and reduce render noise. The designer in me enjoys the speed for more versions to look at. And the producer in me is happy to save time. Maximus is the beginning of a great journey, and I am looking forward to showing you more creative results soon.

Guest blogger Daniel Simon is a professional automobile designer, having worked with major brands such as Bugatti, Volkswagen, Audi and Lotus. Since 2008, he has designed high-style automobiles for feature films including “Tron: Legacy,” “Captain America” and “Prometheus,” and the upcoming film “Oblivion,” starring Tom Cruise. See more at or follow on