3D World

SANDS OF TIME

The first third of the movie takes place on an is­land sur­rounded by sand rather than water…

- Microsoft

“The sand sim­u­la­tions pushed us way past every limit that we ever had in terms of sim­u­la­tion time,” re­marks Mr. X dig­i­tal effects su­per­vi­sor Ayo Burgess. “We had shots in the be­gin­ning with the sand ship where the turn­around time was al­most two days to get all of the pieces of the sim­u­la­tion through. On top of that we had a point repli­ca­tion pro­ce­dure that al­lowed us to in­crease the den­sity of the sand even more at ren­der time.”

A crit­i­cal piece of tech­nol­ogy was the cloud ren­der­ing pro­vided by Mi­crosoft Azure. “It was hugely ben­e­fi­cial for push­ing shots through and get­ting things ren­dered,” states Burgess. “But the caches were so big we couldn’t up­load them to the cloud, so we had to ren­der them all on premises. It was a real fight to get th­ese heavy caches go­ing. It was a lot of heavy sim­u­la­tion, low-qual­ity ren­ders, get­ting the com­pos­ites through, it­er­at­ing un­til we got the per­for­mance of the sand that we liked and then pulling the trig­ger, ren­der­ing in high qual­ity and re­fin­ing it from there.”

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