Bristol, UK, April 20 2005 - HP will announce tomorrow that the first films created using the groundbreaking HP Labs Maya utility rendering service will be among the highlights at the internationally-renowned Animated Encounters festival this week.
The animations are part of the SE3D Animation Showcase, a programme jointly sponsored by HP Laboratories and Alias®, maker of the award-winning Maya rendering software, and organised by the Watershed arts centre in Bristol. Twelve up-and-coming professional animation groups are taking part in SE3D and are using HP Labs' experimental utility rendering service to create festival-quality films.
SE3D films being previewed at Animated Encounters include:
- If I had a Hammer, by Andy Bean: in which Thor, Norse god of thunder, descends to Earth, to find a modern replacement for his missing magical hammer in a DIY store.
- Ebenezer Morgan's Photography Emporium, by Jaime Pardo and Tia Perkins: A tale of strong-minded terrier that doesn't want to pose for its portrait in a photographer's studio in Victorian Bristol.
- Processed by Rubberductions, Submerge and Fixel: A whimsical story about a frog caught up in the cycles of weather and salad.
For HP Labs, SE3D is a research project aligned with HP's Adaptive Enterprise strategy. It is researching how utility computing services such as rendering will change the technology and economics of media production, and exploring the potential of these services for uncovering new talent in the animation industry.
The prototype service is built on a number of research technologies from HP Labs in Bristol, UK, and Palo Alto, California, with Alias's Academy Award-winning Maya application as its rendering engine. The service runs remotely on the utility computing infrastructure at HP Labs in Palo Alto that was used in the rendering on Shrek 2. But for SE3D the computing resources are managed directly from HP Labs Bristol.
"It's a perfect example of the flexibility of utility computing," said Peter Toft, SE3D programme manager at HP Labs. "It shows how utility computing resources, and the services that use them, can be in physically different locations - even continents. We can do most things from Bristol except enter the data centre to make physical changes."
Using the HP Labs experimental market-based resource allocation system, the SE3D animators can make monetary bids to reserve the computing power needed to render their films. "We're investigating the most efficient way of distributing a finite amount of computing resource and we believe that markets and auctions are a promising way to do this," said HP Labs researcher Colin Low.
"Utility computing could shake up the media industry by lowering cost barriers for animators and others," said Steve Hinde, SE3D project manager at HP Labs. "In future, animators will be able to call on a service like ours when they need it, paying only for what they use. But it also hints at the benefit of utility computing to other industry segments, from computer-intensive engineering to financial modelling."
Andy Payne, entertainment business manager for Alias in the UK, said: "SE3D is a unique opportunity for the UK's most talented animators to immerse themselves in creative technologies and cutting-edge services from world leading companies, with the additional benefit of expert guidance from professionals along the way. Without this type of research 'bigger, better, faster' will never be achieved and consumer expectation will not be met. Alias is very pleased to be partner with HP Labs on this.
Julian Richards, HP Labs
+44 (0)117 312 7625
+44 (0)777 570 1800
Hill and Knowlton for HP
+44 (0)20 7413 3798
© 2005 Hewlett-Packard Development Company, L.P. The information contained herein is subject to change without notice. The only warranties for HP products and services are set forth in the express warranty statements accompanying such products and services. Nothing herein should be construed as constituting an additional warranty. HP shall not be liable for technical or editorial errors or omissions contained herein.