[Beowulf] Digital Image Processing via HPC/Cluster/Beowulf - Basics

Vincent Diepeveen diep at xs4all.nl
Tue Nov 6 03:00:10 PST 2012

On Nov 6, 2012, at 3:57 AM, Lux, Jim (337C) wrote:

> On 11/5/12 5:16 PM, "Vincent Diepeveen" <diep at xs4all.nl> wrote:
>> Jim as someone who produced games, this is not how it works for most
>> movies/animations/commercials where graphics work is needed.
>> Note that most movies get editted as well in the same way (each
>> nation usually has different requirements).
>> First of all - the budget is rather tiny. So that means using
>> hardware you would probably yourself not consider using at NASA.
> The budget for digital production on a movie is enormous compared  
> to what
> we spend at NASA.

That's the actor part - i am speaking about the computer generated  
graphics part.

You really overestimate this.

>> Secondly the calculation power required to produce movies is rather
>> limited. Even a graphics card from years ago has more
>> capabilities than any artist single handed can design for. The real
>> limitation is the amount of graphics a single person can produce.
> Remember the article was talking about 80s-90s production flow.. 
> (they were
> using SGI and DEC Alphas for gosh sakes).  A "PC" back then a)  
> didn't have
> the processor horsepower and b) the proprietary software support  
> for the
> tools the artist would use.  The latter is the real hiccup.  For  
> instance,
> if you did your editing on an AVID, you weren't paying for the
> workstation, you were paying for the user interface, and the hardware
> essentially came along for the ride.
>> Producing a head requires the work of an artist specialized in that,
>> for a full month. Rendering that is a manner of minutes at
>> a single core. We speak of a CPU.
> Hmm.. Try running POVray on an old Pentium with a 2048x2048 output  
> size.
> Now do that for 24 or 30 frames/second.  That's more than a "few  
> minutes"

We're not speaking about raytracing here.

We speak about graphics effects produced by designers and animations
of 3d games and movies and commercials and ads produced like that.

There is a lot of manmade graphics in all that you know - in fact i  
feel there
is too much in too many clips now.

Note that I thought Titanic released in 90s.

> Today, sure, an ratty discount PC has plenty of horsepower, so the  
> model
> has changed significantly.
> My comments were towards the workflow and speeds at the time of that
> article.
> Today, things have changed (what with RED cameras and digital
> distribution, especially).  Film is a dying medium.

Obviously things change over time. There are more and more people on  
this planet
and more and more people get access to television and internet - so  
in itself celebrities now
have a far bigger impact than they had years ago.

The real issue is of course "who wants to pay for what?"

If you can promise coverage on television in Europe and USA, then for  
both USA as well as Europe
they're usually willing to pay 5-10 cents a viewer that watches the  
ad. Eurocents for europe, dollarcents for USA.

Yet 0 cents for eastern europe already (with good reasons), as that  
includes Russia. Note that Moscow is
one of the richest cities on planet earth right now with a lot of big  
spenders, yet no one in the west will ever pay
for ads over there. Idem dito other nations.

So what really hardly changed is the preparedness to pay for all  
this, as in itself you'll reach way more people now
than was possible in 80s or 90s, especially with celebrities. Be it  
popstars or sporters or moviestars.

Yet doing business in that world is really tough negotiations and the  
first plan always was and always is to produce the
computer graphics at a cheaper spot using a budget which even for  
that specific nation is too litte. Of course they always
find someone who signs up for those few coins - especially in third  
world nations - but that's why so many of those projects
always fail.

>> On Nov 5, 2012, at 11:49 PM, Lux, Jim (337C) wrote:
>>> What I find interesting (and which is characteristic of this
>>> application space) is the sort of bimodal requirement:
>>> 1)      High performance workstation with bespoke software that the
>>> digital artist uses
>>> 2)      A render farm to grind out the final product.  (quite the
>>> EP task, in general)
>>> The workflow is similar to the traditional film workflow, where
>>> each person gets a piece to work on, and then it¹s handed off to
>>> someone else to composite with the other pieces and build up the
>>> whole film.  The artist would work in wireframe or with rendered
>>> key frames, do the changes, then send it off to be rendered.  The
>>> next work day, the fully rendered product is complete and viewable.
>>> The other interesting thing is that this problem space has HUGE
>>> disk space requirements (although instantaneous bandwidth
>>> requirements aren¹t all that high to stream video).  It wasn¹t
>>> unusual in the late 80s, early 90s to see a workstation with dozens
>>> of firewire drives in a big column attached to hold the raw video.
>>> Providing a suitable multi-user server architecture is quite
>>> challenging.
>>> Several movies in the 90s made use of what were essentially boxes
>>> of disk drives that were flown back and forth every day from one
>>> location to another.  (the ³nothing beats FedEx for raw bandwidth²
>>> modelŠ getting tens of Mbps network connectivity to rural Czech
>>> Republic or Romania where the location shoot is happening isn¹t  
>>> easy.)

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