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

Trick­film now at­tracts about 90,000 at­ten­dees each year.

Luis and the Aliens

Top: Alexan­der Petrov’s Os­car-nom­i­nated An­ton Smetankin, MD of Parovoz Stu­dio; Parovoz se­ries He­roes of En­vell.

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