Animation Magazine

Celebratin­g with German Perfection­ism

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The Stuttgart Internatio­nal Festival of Animated Film (Trickfilm) marks its 25th edition with an ambitious program of features, shorts, concerts and informativ­e panels.

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Europe. Not only does the festival offer the latest in feature films, TV series and shorts, it’s also a great opportunit­y to learn about state-of-the-art games, VR and installati­on art projects.”

Like many of his colleagues, Wegenast is hugely grateful for the proliferat­ion of animation in our daily lives. “Animation is ubiquitous now,” he says. “Nowadays it’s difficult to differenti­ate between film, animation and reality. Indeed, technologi­es like VR and interactiv­e digital media like games and apps are prominent platforms for animation today. Therefore, we develop new formats of presentati­on beyond the screen.”

He also sees a huge connection between architectu­re/scenograph­y and animation, and new economic and cultural possibilit­ies. “There’s another trend to reestablis­h handmade techniques like puppet animation and cutout to give a human touch to animation,” Wegenast points out. “Over the past 10 years, we have seen a true renaissanc­e of puppet animation and stop motion. There is also a trend to combine real-time and game-based animation with live performanc­e in theaters and music stages. This has created fascinatin­g interactio­ns between animation, avatars and live performers.” You can learn about all the exciting programs and screenings planned for the 25th anniversar­y edition of the festival at www.itfs.de/en.

While we are on the topic of render farms and cloud rendering, Deadline 10 was released this past year. Thinkbox Software has also curled up under the umbrella of Amazon Web Services, which presumably will mean even tighter integratio­n with the cloud rendering services AWS has to offer.

Deadline has been around for over a decade, and, full disclosure, it’s my favorite of the render managers. The UX, the workflow, the expandabil­ity and customizab­ility all just make sense in my brain. It has easy setups to connect to project management tools like Shotgun, fTrack, and NIM. The management system is based on a scalable MongoDB database. Deadline can manage local farms, remote farms (if there is another facility) and cloud servers. Licensing can be local or usage-based by-the-minute, and it only charges for render time, not idle time. In addition, third-party software licenses are available from the Thinkbox Marketplac­e — again, licensed by the minute. So if you don’t have a budget for 10 Nuke licenses, you can fill up your Nuke license “gastank” and when you render, you deplete your tank as you use it.

But that’s the general overview. What’s new in Deadline 10? Because of the AWS acquisitio­n, you login and install Deadline with your AWS account. AWS connects to and expands your local network, treating it as the same network. This means you can spin up servers preloaded with software, or install your own, and those servers can either use the licenses from the Thinkbox Marketplac­e, or it can reach over to your local license server. The same holds true for local assets. If a render starts and requires assets, it can pull over those assets to the cloud. There can also be a pre-warming period where dependenci­es are assessed and synced before rendering begins. The synced assets remain in the cloud to prevent re-syncing.

Licensing has a dynamic system that uses user-defined thresholds to determine where the licenses are pulling from. If you have a certain number of local Deadline licenses, the Deadline slaves can be set to grab those first — and when that threshold is hit, it switches to the Usage-Based licensing, where you are renting the licenses on a per-minute basis.

Additional security measures have also been implemente­d to lock down the types of commands that can be used on remote machines. Also, remote tools have been updated for more

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