60 Million Render Hours Help “Puss in Boots” Purr at the Box Office

Behind every digitally animated film, there’s a render farm where high-powered computers are working overtime to create amazing digital effects. So it was for “Puss in Boots” from DreamWorks Animation SKG, which took the number one box office spot last weekend. The new film was a spinoff from the “Shrek” series, and DreamWorks and Hewlett Packard (HPQ) once again collaborated on the digital production effort to render the movie.

HP this week provided details on the effort behind “Puss in Boots,” describing it as the company’s most technically advanced film to date, “Puss in Boots.” HP has been a long time partner in the production of DreamWorks movies, with their Converged Infrastructure powering movies like “Shrek“, “How to Train Your Dragon”, “Kung Fu Panda” and “Kung Fu Panda 2“.

Render Power

To create “Puss in Boots,” artists used more than 200 high-performance HP Z800 Workstations to design everything in the film. HP ProLiant BL460 blade technology powered five different server render farms geographically dispersed across the U.S. and India. The film utilized over 60 million render hours and 117 terabytes of data.

“As with all of our films, ‘Puss In Boots’ required powerful systems to support the digital demands of our creative teams,” said Ed Leonard, chief technology officer, DreamWorks Animation SKG. “Knowing that we have the support of our partners at HP allows us to free our artists from technical limitations, letting them focus on creating the most powerful 3-D CG experiences.”

HP Cloud Services were used to meet the extreme demands from DreamWorks, which rendered 8 million of the total 63 million total render hours. “Our decade-long collaboration with DreamWorks has challenged HP to develop technology that continually meets the intense, high-performance needs of the world’s best digital animators,” said Doug Oathout, vice president, Converged Infrastructure, HP. “HP effectively serves as an infrastructure extension of a premiere Hollywood animation studio providing cutting-edge technology to support some of the most creative minds in film and animation.”

HP Everywhere

In addition to HP powering the render process DreamWorks chose HP Networking solutions as well, taking advantage of HP 120508 and 5800 series switches, HP Networking Intelligent Management Center and HP Intelligent Resilient Framework. The HP X9000 IBRIX Network Storage System was also used to help scale the demanding needs of the studio.  The two companies developed the billion-color HP DreamColor LCD display and HP’s DreamColor was used to process to provide high-end color prints of the creative team’s visual development work.

Get Daily Email News from DCK!
Subscribe now and get our special report, "The World's Most Unique Data Centers."

Enter your email to receive messages about offerings by Penton, its brands, affiliates and/or third-party partners, consistent with Penton's Privacy Policy.

About the Author

John Rath is a veteran IT professional and regular contributor at Data Center Knowledge. He has served many roles in the data center, including support, system administration, web development and facility management.

Add Your Comments

  • (will not be published)


  1. photonboy

    34 years to render? I think you better check your figures again. 60,000,000/200 = 300,000 (hours per workstation) 300,000/24/365 = 34 (number of years per workstation) I think THREE MONTHS for the final render would make more sense. Maybe you meant 600 thousand, not 60 million.

  2. photonboy

    UPDATE: My mistake. It was DESIGNED on 200 workstations and RENDERED on the server farms. I should have read more carefully. I'm curious if NVIDIA graphics was utilized in the design workstations or server farms or just CPU's.