Pixar Takes Starring Role as Hollywood Comes to Silicon Valley for NVIDIA’s GPU Tech Conference

by Greg Estes

The movie industry may have gone digital, but it’s still a business that’s all about stars.

So, we’re bringing a huge roster of behind-the-camera talent to the GPU Technology Conference (GTC), March 24-27, in San Jose, Calif., where we’ll hold our second annual Media and Entertainment Summit.

Pixar’s Dirk Van Gelder and Danny Nahmias are slated to present the GTC’s Wednesday keynote March 26, at 11, discussing how their studio produces feature films quickly and intuitively; as well as giving a session as part of the M&E Summit.

The pair will explore how Pixar empowers artists in the lighting and animation departments, using GPU technology to give them the ability to get almost instant interactive visual feedback.

They’ll also demo Presto, Pixar’s proprietary GPU-accelerated animation system, as well as Pixar’s interactive lighting preview tool, which is built on NVIDIA’s OptiX framework.

We’ll have over 35 M&E sessions at GTC, led by post-production and broadcast pros from Adobe, Chaos Group, Elemental Technologies, ESPN, Industrial Light & Magic (ILM), Google, Moving Picture Company (MPC), OTOY, Zoic Studios and more, showcasing GPU-powered workflows at the industry’s best-known facilities.

They’ll cover topics ranging from live broadcast graphics and augmented reality, 4K production workflows, visual effects, such as image processing and physics-based effects, and GPU final-frame rendering. Think of it as cross-training for digital media professionals.

Here are some highlights:

  • ILM’s Lead Rendering Engineer Olivier Maury discussing Plume, ILM’s Oscar-winning proprietary volume renderer and fluid dynamics solver. Plume uses GPU acceleration to handle computationally intensive shots on VFX-driven films like “Star Trek Into Darkness” and “Battleship,” and has been used on 21 projects.
  • MPC’s Damien FagnouGlobal Head of VFX Operations, MPC Film (London), with production credits including Prometheus, the Harry Potter films, Godzilla and The Secret Life of Walter Mitty, Fagnou will talk about the challenges of pre-visulation in VFX and show some of the work on MPC’s new VFX pre-visualization pipeline created using Fabric Engine’s high-performance development platform and NVIDIA GPUs powering an Optix based renderer.
  • Zoic Studios’ Head of Pipeline, Mike Romey, will discuss Project Lighthouse, a  joint effort with Chaos Group and NVIDIA to fully realize a final frame GPU rendering pipeline in production.  See firsthand how ZOIC meets the demands of episodic television VFX utilizing the GPU.  Averaging 400 shots a week for hit shows such as “Once Upon a Time” and “Falling Skies,” discussion will include the impact of render performances 5x faster than the CPU.
  • Pixar’s Technical Director Florian Hecht discussing VRender, Pixar’s interactive volume renderer for volumetric special effects. VRender is built on NVIDIA’s CUDA to take full advantage of GPU performance and memory, guaranteeing frame-rate interactivity for artists on all of Pixar’s feature films.

Don’t miss the chance to see how GPUs are letting M&E professionals work faster and smarter. For more information, check out: http://www.gputechconf.com/page/media-entertainment.html.