It’s Only Logical: Animal Logic Steps Up Production Workflows with NVIDIA vGPU Technology

Quadro Virtual Data Center Workstation provides artists with desktop-level performance on virtual machines.
by Nicole Castro


One of the creative studios behind The Matrix’s virtual world is entering a new kind of virtual environment: GPU-powered virtual workstations.

Animal Logic — one of the world’s leading independent creative digital studios —  has had a hand in films including The Matrix, Moulin Rouge! and, more recently, The LEGO Movie 2: The Second Part. To accelerate their visual effects and animation workflows, the shop turned to NVIDIA virtual GPU technology.

When opening a second creative studio in Vancouver, Canada, the Australia-based firm faced a challenge: Their creative staff mainly uses physical workstations running on Linux, but sometimes they need Windows systems to use apps like Adobe Photoshop and Pixologic ZBrush that are essential to production.

To fill this need, studios typically rely on secondary machines — usually older systems they’ve hung onto. But Animal Logic didn’t have any on hand.

Instead of purchasing $10,000 workstations to get the secondary machines, Animal Logic turned to NVIDIA Quadro Virtual Data Center Workstations (Quadro vDWS). This flexible, cost-effective offering allowed them to provide high-performance virtual machines for their artists and designers.

Quadro vDWS Delivers Workstation-Class Performance

Animal Logic began the project by setting up a server running NVIDIA Tesla M60 GPUs and NVIDIA Quadro vDWS software. After a few tests, the team saw that Quadro vDWS delivered powerful virtual machine performance on par with a physical machine.

Using the virtual workstation, it took creators just 4 seconds to open a Photoshop document, 7 seconds to save one, and 20 seconds to export a large file.

From running apps to streaming videos, GPU-powered virtual desktops provided the speed and flexible, high performance the team needed to execute projects smoothly — whether in Linux or Windows.

“Users were surprised at how efficient the virtual machines were when loading certain scenes,” said Matt Braunstein, systems engineer at Animal Logic. “Both Windows and Linux users found that they could rely on the NVIDIA vGPU performance when working with more intense applications such as ZBrush, Maya and XSI.”

NVIDIA Quadro vDWS allowed the IT team to set up two vGPU profiles: one for users who needed access to Microsoft Office and Photoshop, and a second profile for Linux users. Virtual machines were provided to about 50 staff members in the new studio.

The virtualized secondary machines made it easy for users to switch between environments, even while on the go. When traveling or working remotely, staffers could quickly access apps in Linux or Windows by simply logging in — with no need for a second physical machine.

To learn more about Animal Logic, see NVIDIA’s recent customer story.

Experience the Future of Digital Design at SIGGRAPH

See how other content creators and designers are using NVIDIA technology at the annual SIGGRAPH event in Los Angeles, taking place July 28 – Aug. 1. Stop by the NVIDIA booth to see demos of the latest advances and techniques, including RTX-powered ray tracing and rendering.

Check out our SIGGRAPH schedule for a list of talks.

Image courtesy of Warner Bros. Pictures – scene from “The LEGO Movie 2: The Second Part.”