The Kung Fu Panda is looking to the clouds. DreamWorks Animation SKG is working with a New Mexico company to develop infrastructure to deliver computer-generated film rendering as a cloud computing service. DreamWorks has signed an agreement with Cerelink Digital Media Group to develop a rendering cloud that could eventually provide dedicated capacity to supplement DreamWorks’ own render farm.
Cerelink has been working with the New Mexico Computing Applications Center (NMCAC), which operates the Encanto supercomputer. The NMCAC and Cerelink have built an ultra-high speed data link using National LambdaRail's network to connect New Mexico to Hollywood, which could allow Hollywood studios to offload rendering work to the New Mexico facility during peak production periods.
UPDATE: DreamWorks Animation has contacted us to emphasize that it is only exploring the development of the rendering farm, and has a development deal with Cerelink but has not signed an agreement to utilize the Encanto supercomputer for remote rendering. "We're excited about working with Cerelink to explore bringing cost-effective and scalable on-demand computing to meet our needs," said Ed Leonard, the CTO of DreamWorks Animation, which has produced films such as “Kung Fu Panda” and “Shrek.”
"With the technical innovation and real world computing demands of DreamWorks Animation, we're bringing the future of cloud computing to New Mexico," said Richard Draper, Managing Partner of Cerelink DMG.
Computer-generated visual effects require massive amounts of computing resources (see One Data Center to Rule Them All), and cloud render farms could provide Hollywood studios with a way to scale render farms up and down as needed.