Tippett Studio Taps the Power of SGI Systems For 'Evolution' and 'Cats & Dogs'

Academy Award-Winning Visual Effects Company Designs, Animates and Renders on

IRIX, Linux and Windows NT OS-Based Workstations and Servers from SGI



Jul 12, 2001, 01:00 ET from SGI

    MOUNTAIN VIEW, Calif., July 12 /PRNewswire/ -- SGI's long-time customer
 Tippett Studio created more than 60 3D-animated shots for Warner Brothers'
 Cats & Dogs and over 150 3D-animated shots-plus 15 all-CGI 3D creatures-for
 DreamWorks SKG's Evolution, using a powerful combination of high-performance
 IRIX(R), Linux(R) and Windows NT(R) OS-based workstations, servers and storage
 from SGI. Academy Award winner for visual effects for the films Jurassic Park
 and Return of the Jedi, Tippett Studio relied on its recent purchase of
 10 Silicon Graphics(R) Octane2(TM) IRIX OS-based visual workstations,
 25 Silicon Graphics(R) 230 and Silicon Graphics(R) 330 Windows NT OS-based and
 Linux OS-based workstations, an SGI(TM) 2100 high-performance visualization
 server and a 2TB SGI(TM) TP9400 storage system, in addition to previously
 purchased Silicon Graphics(R) O2(R) workstations and SGI(TM) Challenge(R) and
 SGI(TM) Origin(TM) family servers.
     "This was the first time we had IRIX, Linux and Windows NT workstations
 from SGI all working on the same production," said Eric Leven, Tippett
 Studio's CG supervisor on Evolution. "We started with a large number of
 Silicon Graphics O2 workstations and a render farm made up primarily of SGI
 Origin 200 servers. Later we added a smaller number of dual-processor Silicon
 Graphics Octane2 workstations and, for the first time in the shop, we began
 using Windows NT and Linux operating systems running on Silicon Graphics
 230 and 330 visual workstations. Compositors used 10 Linux OS-based machines
 from SGI with 20 processors to run Nothing Real Shake and additional
 processors to run Pixar RenderMan. The animators used the Silicon Graphics
 230 workstations, and we found that those boxes gave us the best performance
 from Alias|Wavefront Maya on Windows NT. The technical director, the paint
 artists and the modelers used Maya and Alias StudioPaint software on the IRIX
 OS-based O2 and Octane2 workstations. Then everything was networked together
 and rendered on SGI Origin family servers."
     Tippett Studio designed all the visual effects sequences in Evolution,
 including 15 never-before-seen creatures. Maquettes were sculpted from the
 final creature designs and scanned into Silicon Graphics O2 and Octane2 visual
 workstations using a 3D laser scanner. The digitized creatures were then
 refined and manipulated by Tippett Studio's world-class character animators.
 The studio's 120-plus Evolution crew also created many other unique CG effects
 to accomplish the 150-shot production, from the seemingly adorable dog
 sequence to the apocalyptic finale-all created on its networked mix of SGI(TM)
 high-performance visual workstations. SGI technology was key to finishing the
 immense project on time. According to Leven, "From the very beginning of
 preproduction to the last shot was about 11 months, from July 2000 to June
 2001, which was a crazy schedule. I think we were averaging about six shots
 every week for the entire duration of production. It was absolutely the
 shortest schedule we ever worked on."
     For the live-action Cats & Dogs, which turns the age-old animosity between
 house pets into a full-scale war, Tippett's 50-artist team again used the full
 complement of SGI high-performance workstations to create 60 shots of digital
 cats, primarily to replace the live-action cats' heads to animate facial
 expressions. Using Silicon Graphics Octane2 workstations, Tippett created two
 CGI dogs, including a digital beagle who catches a boomerang, is propelled
 around a room and lands at the feet of a digital cat, where a fight ensues. On
 the Silicon Graphics O2, 230 and 330 visual workstations, artists also
 designed a 3D CGI version of the mercenary villain, called "the Russian," who
 is a Russian Blue kitten outfitted in a CGI weapons vest complete with guns
 and knives.
     Scott Souter, Tippett Studio's co-visual effects supervisor with Blair
 Clark on Cats & Dogs, said the producer's primary directive was photo-real
 animation-the stock-in-trade of the Berkeley, Calif. facility, which has used
 SGI technology since it opened in 1983. "Our studio came into play because of
 our history with naturalistic, yet fantastical, animation. Our ability to
 blend those two characteristics, to keep something real-adhering to enough
 physics to keep it believable and natural-yet be able to take the character
 beyond and into the realm of, in this case, very acrobatic, highly specialized
 fantastical animations is a very large part of our trade," said Souter. To
 truly achieve photo-realistic animals, Tippett Studio's in-house research and
 development team created its own fur software. "We linked the fur software
 between Maya and RenderMan; it's a little thing that bridges the gap between
 the two," explained Souter. "It was just for fur and fur curve information,
 written primarily on Silicon Graphics O2 systems."
     Souter noted that Cats & Dogs compositors and animators were just as
 pleased with the Linux and Windows NT OS-based Silicon Graphics 230 and
 330 visual workstations, as were the artists who worked on Evolution. "We
 started production on the IRIX OS-based O2 workstations, and then toward the
 middle and end of production we started animating in Maya on the Windows NT
 OS-based workstations from SGI," Souter said. "That worked out very well. It's
 definitely the choice of our animators, because Maya seems to perform better
 on Windows NT boxes from SGI."
     "Tippett Studio's technological evolution-the networking of IRIX, Linux
 and Windows NT OS-based workstations from SGI-creates a powerful production
 pipeline that enables artists to complete an amazing amount of content
 creation and effects work to meet seemingly impossible deadlines," said
 Greg Estes, vice president of corporate marketing, SGI. "Tippett's continued
 choice of SGI technology to meet the ever-increasing demands of visual effects
 production is testimony to the power of SGI's strategy to be the computer
 company for the entertainment industry-regardless of operating system. We are
 particularly pleased that the Linux OS-based workstations from SGI played such
 an important role in these two summer blockbuster films."
 
     About Tippett Studio
     Located in Berkeley, Calif., Tippett Studio was founded in 1983 by
 President Phil Tippett and his partners Jules Roman, vice president and
 executive producer, and Craig Hayes, creative director and visual effects
 supervisor. The studio has more than 125 artists, designers, engineers,
 technical directors and animators. A visual effects and animation studio for
 feature films, Tippett Studio has won two Academy Awards for visual effects
 (Return of the Jedi and Jurassic Park) and two Emmys (Dinosaur! and Ewoks:
 The Battle for Endor) and has received Academy Award nominations for visual
 effects for five other feature films (Starship Troopers, Dragonheart, Willow,
 Dragonslayer, and Hollow Man). Tippett Studio has also received an Academy
 Award for technical achievement in the development of a motion-input device
 for motion capture. Tippett Studio is currently working on the vampire movie
 sequel Blade II and will soon be lending its talents to commercials. The
 studio is also preparing to expand into producing full-length animated feature
 films and mixed live-action and CGI features.
 
     About SGI
     SGI, also known as Silicon Graphics, Inc., is a technology solutions
 provider with a broad range of high-performance computing, advanced graphics,
 and consulting services that enable its technical and creative customers to
 maintain a competitive advantage in their core businesses. Whether being used
 to design and build safer cars and airplanes, discover new medications and oil
 reserves, helping us to understand and better predict the weather, or
 entertain us with the thrilling movie special effects, SGI systems and
 expertise are empowering of a world of innovation and discovery. The Company,
 which is located on the Web at www.sgi.com, is headquartered in Mountain View,
 Calif., and has offices worldwide.
     NOTE:  Silicon Graphics, Challenge, O2, IRIX and Octane are registered
 trademarks and SGI, Origin, Octane2 and the SGI logo are trademarks of Silicon
 Graphics, Inc. Alias|Wavefront and Alias StudioPaint are trademarks of
 Alias|Wavefront, a division of Silicon Graphics Limited. Maya is a registered
 trademark of Silicon Graphics, Inc. and exclusively used by Alias|Wavefront, a
 division of Silicon Graphics Limited. Linux is a registered trademark of Linus
 Torvalds used with permission by Silicon Graphics, Inc. Windows and Windows NT
 are registered trademarks of Microsoft Corporation. All other trademarks
 mentioned herein are the property of their respective owners.
     (Logo:  http://www.newscom.com/cgi-bin/prnh/20010510/SFTH025LOGO )
 
     CONTACT:  media, Lisa Pistacchio of SGI, 650-933-5683, or
 pistacchio@sgi.com; or Jim Bloom of Tippett Studio, 510-649-9711, or
 Jbloom@tippett.com; or SGI PR Hotline, 650-933-7777.
 
                     MAKE YOUR OPINION COUNT -  Click Here
                http://tbutton.prnewswire.com/prn/11690X73665732
 
 

SOURCE SGI
    MOUNTAIN VIEW, Calif., July 12 /PRNewswire/ -- SGI's long-time customer
 Tippett Studio created more than 60 3D-animated shots for Warner Brothers'
 Cats & Dogs and over 150 3D-animated shots-plus 15 all-CGI 3D creatures-for
 DreamWorks SKG's Evolution, using a powerful combination of high-performance
 IRIX(R), Linux(R) and Windows NT(R) OS-based workstations, servers and storage
 from SGI. Academy Award winner for visual effects for the films Jurassic Park
 and Return of the Jedi, Tippett Studio relied on its recent purchase of
 10 Silicon Graphics(R) Octane2(TM) IRIX OS-based visual workstations,
 25 Silicon Graphics(R) 230 and Silicon Graphics(R) 330 Windows NT OS-based and
 Linux OS-based workstations, an SGI(TM) 2100 high-performance visualization
 server and a 2TB SGI(TM) TP9400 storage system, in addition to previously
 purchased Silicon Graphics(R) O2(R) workstations and SGI(TM) Challenge(R) and
 SGI(TM) Origin(TM) family servers.
     "This was the first time we had IRIX, Linux and Windows NT workstations
 from SGI all working on the same production," said Eric Leven, Tippett
 Studio's CG supervisor on Evolution. "We started with a large number of
 Silicon Graphics O2 workstations and a render farm made up primarily of SGI
 Origin 200 servers. Later we added a smaller number of dual-processor Silicon
 Graphics Octane2 workstations and, for the first time in the shop, we began
 using Windows NT and Linux operating systems running on Silicon Graphics
 230 and 330 visual workstations. Compositors used 10 Linux OS-based machines
 from SGI with 20 processors to run Nothing Real Shake and additional
 processors to run Pixar RenderMan. The animators used the Silicon Graphics
 230 workstations, and we found that those boxes gave us the best performance
 from Alias|Wavefront Maya on Windows NT. The technical director, the paint
 artists and the modelers used Maya and Alias StudioPaint software on the IRIX
 OS-based O2 and Octane2 workstations. Then everything was networked together
 and rendered on SGI Origin family servers."
     Tippett Studio designed all the visual effects sequences in Evolution,
 including 15 never-before-seen creatures. Maquettes were sculpted from the
 final creature designs and scanned into Silicon Graphics O2 and Octane2 visual
 workstations using a 3D laser scanner. The digitized creatures were then
 refined and manipulated by Tippett Studio's world-class character animators.
 The studio's 120-plus Evolution crew also created many other unique CG effects
 to accomplish the 150-shot production, from the seemingly adorable dog
 sequence to the apocalyptic finale-all created on its networked mix of SGI(TM)
 high-performance visual workstations. SGI technology was key to finishing the
 immense project on time. According to Leven, "From the very beginning of
 preproduction to the last shot was about 11 months, from July 2000 to June
 2001, which was a crazy schedule. I think we were averaging about six shots
 every week for the entire duration of production. It was absolutely the
 shortest schedule we ever worked on."
     For the live-action Cats & Dogs, which turns the age-old animosity between
 house pets into a full-scale war, Tippett's 50-artist team again used the full
 complement of SGI high-performance workstations to create 60 shots of digital
 cats, primarily to replace the live-action cats' heads to animate facial
 expressions. Using Silicon Graphics Octane2 workstations, Tippett created two
 CGI dogs, including a digital beagle who catches a boomerang, is propelled
 around a room and lands at the feet of a digital cat, where a fight ensues. On
 the Silicon Graphics O2, 230 and 330 visual workstations, artists also
 designed a 3D CGI version of the mercenary villain, called "the Russian," who
 is a Russian Blue kitten outfitted in a CGI weapons vest complete with guns
 and knives.
     Scott Souter, Tippett Studio's co-visual effects supervisor with Blair
 Clark on Cats & Dogs, said the producer's primary directive was photo-real
 animation-the stock-in-trade of the Berkeley, Calif. facility, which has used
 SGI technology since it opened in 1983. "Our studio came into play because of
 our history with naturalistic, yet fantastical, animation. Our ability to
 blend those two characteristics, to keep something real-adhering to enough
 physics to keep it believable and natural-yet be able to take the character
 beyond and into the realm of, in this case, very acrobatic, highly specialized
 fantastical animations is a very large part of our trade," said Souter. To
 truly achieve photo-realistic animals, Tippett Studio's in-house research and
 development team created its own fur software. "We linked the fur software
 between Maya and RenderMan; it's a little thing that bridges the gap between
 the two," explained Souter. "It was just for fur and fur curve information,
 written primarily on Silicon Graphics O2 systems."
     Souter noted that Cats & Dogs compositors and animators were just as
 pleased with the Linux and Windows NT OS-based Silicon Graphics 230 and
 330 visual workstations, as were the artists who worked on Evolution. "We
 started production on the IRIX OS-based O2 workstations, and then toward the
 middle and end of production we started animating in Maya on the Windows NT
 OS-based workstations from SGI," Souter said. "That worked out very well. It's
 definitely the choice of our animators, because Maya seems to perform better
 on Windows NT boxes from SGI."
     "Tippett Studio's technological evolution-the networking of IRIX, Linux
 and Windows NT OS-based workstations from SGI-creates a powerful production
 pipeline that enables artists to complete an amazing amount of content
 creation and effects work to meet seemingly impossible deadlines," said
 Greg Estes, vice president of corporate marketing, SGI. "Tippett's continued
 choice of SGI technology to meet the ever-increasing demands of visual effects
 production is testimony to the power of SGI's strategy to be the computer
 company for the entertainment industry-regardless of operating system. We are
 particularly pleased that the Linux OS-based workstations from SGI played such
 an important role in these two summer blockbuster films."
 
     About Tippett Studio
     Located in Berkeley, Calif., Tippett Studio was founded in 1983 by
 President Phil Tippett and his partners Jules Roman, vice president and
 executive producer, and Craig Hayes, creative director and visual effects
 supervisor. The studio has more than 125 artists, designers, engineers,
 technical directors and animators. A visual effects and animation studio for
 feature films, Tippett Studio has won two Academy Awards for visual effects
 (Return of the Jedi and Jurassic Park) and two Emmys (Dinosaur! and Ewoks:
 The Battle for Endor) and has received Academy Award nominations for visual
 effects for five other feature films (Starship Troopers, Dragonheart, Willow,
 Dragonslayer, and Hollow Man). Tippett Studio has also received an Academy
 Award for technical achievement in the development of a motion-input device
 for motion capture. Tippett Studio is currently working on the vampire movie
 sequel Blade II and will soon be lending its talents to commercials. The
 studio is also preparing to expand into producing full-length animated feature
 films and mixed live-action and CGI features.
 
     About SGI
     SGI, also known as Silicon Graphics, Inc., is a technology solutions
 provider with a broad range of high-performance computing, advanced graphics,
 and consulting services that enable its technical and creative customers to
 maintain a competitive advantage in their core businesses. Whether being used
 to design and build safer cars and airplanes, discover new medications and oil
 reserves, helping us to understand and better predict the weather, or
 entertain us with the thrilling movie special effects, SGI systems and
 expertise are empowering of a world of innovation and discovery. The Company,
 which is located on the Web at www.sgi.com, is headquartered in Mountain View,
 Calif., and has offices worldwide.
     NOTE:  Silicon Graphics, Challenge, O2, IRIX and Octane are registered
 trademarks and SGI, Origin, Octane2 and the SGI logo are trademarks of Silicon
 Graphics, Inc. Alias|Wavefront and Alias StudioPaint are trademarks of
 Alias|Wavefront, a division of Silicon Graphics Limited. Maya is a registered
 trademark of Silicon Graphics, Inc. and exclusively used by Alias|Wavefront, a
 division of Silicon Graphics Limited. Linux is a registered trademark of Linus
 Torvalds used with permission by Silicon Graphics, Inc. Windows and Windows NT
 are registered trademarks of Microsoft Corporation. All other trademarks
 mentioned herein are the property of their respective owners.
     (Logo:  http://www.newscom.com/cgi-bin/prnh/20010510/SFTH025LOGO )
 
     CONTACT:  media, Lisa Pistacchio of SGI, 650-933-5683, or
 pistacchio@sgi.com; or Jim Bloom of Tippett Studio, 510-649-9711, or
 Jbloom@tippett.com; or SGI PR Hotline, 650-933-7777.
 
                     MAKE YOUR OPINION COUNT -  Click Here
                http://tbutton.prnewswire.com/prn/11690X73665732
 
 SOURCE  SGI

RELATED LINKS

http://www.sgi.com