Sony Pictures Imageworks Creates Tornado Out of Spaghetti Sauce with the Help of NVIDIA Technology

razpr · October 5, 2009 12:54 am

Tags: 2D, 3D, Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs, gpu, nvidia, Renderosity

Newest Sony Release “Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs” is #1 Box Office Hit, Visual Effects Production Powered by NVIDIA Quadro Processors

NVIDIA Corporation, the inventor of the graphics processing unit (GPU), announced today that Sony Pictures Imageworks (SPI) utilized NVIDIA® Quadro® processors to accelerate animation and visual effects production of their latest hit film “Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs”.

Opening to audiences across the U.S. on September 18th, the 3-D animated film continues to storm through the box office, grossing over $60 million in revenue since its premiere, making it the #1 film nationwide. “Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs” continues to enthrall audiences with its groundbreaking computer animation and extensive use of visual effects created on NVIDIA Quadro professional graphics solutions.

A spaghetti twister in Columbia Pictures' animated film CLOUDY WITH A CHANCE OF MEATBALLS.
©2009 Columbia TriStar Marketing Group, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

The memorable ‘spaghetti tornado’ scene includes elements rendered using SPLAT, SPI’s proprietary volumetric rendering tool designed to run on the NVIDIA Quadro GPU. Atmospheric effects rendered in SPLAT not only included dust clouds, fire and sparks, but also—for the very first time—tomato sauce.

“For visual effects artists to be most effective using computer animation tools, it’s all about the speed and especially the user experience,” explained Rob Bredow, CTO, Sony Pictures Imageworks. “When an artist can do 10 times as many iterations of an effect in the same amount of time, the quality of the end product will be that much better.”

“Our goal with leveraging NVIDIA Quadro GPUs, and other new technologies we integrate, is to make our artists’ lives better by helping them be more productive,” continued Bredow. “Renders that would have taken 45 minutes or more to run on a CPU, are now cut down to just 20 seconds on our NVIDIA GPU-based pipeline. With this system, the creative process has been transformed from tedious to fun.”

In addition to a heavily integrated GPU render pipeline, SPI has deployed NVIDIA Quadro professional solutions on all of its artists’ workstations. The power of the NVIDIA processor enabled 24 frames-per-second, real-time previews of highly complex, data-intensive scenes in Autodesk Maya, presenting animators with more accurate representations of their work.

Discussing work performed on “Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs”, Bredow will be a featured speaker at the upcoming GPU Technology Conference in San Jose, CA, Sept. 30-Oct. 2. Bredow will participate in a panel discussion entitled “The GPU Revolution in Film Production: Report from the Battlefield,” joining industry experts from Industrial Light & Magic (ILM), Disney Feature Animation and Digital Domain.

“GPU-based render pipelines are gaining momentum, and the early adopters such as Sony Pictures Imageworks are experiencing massive speed increases and a much higher degree of interactivity,” said Dominick Spina, technology product manager, Digital Film Group, NVIDIA. “Software developers from all industries can learn from the groundbreaking GPU-based techniques that Sony has successfully employed in filmmaking.”

NVIDIA (Nasdaq: NVDA) awakened the world to the power of computer graphics when it invented the graphics processing unit (GPU) in 1999. Since then, it has consistently set new standards in visual computing with breathtaking, interactive graphics available on devices ranging from portable media players to notebooks to workstations. NVIDIA’s expertise in programmable GPUs has led to breakthroughs in parallel processing which make supercomputing inexpensive and widely accessible. Fortune magazine has ranked NVIDIA #1 in innovation in the semiconductor industry for two years in a row. For more information, see

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© 2009 NVIDIA Corporation. All rights reserved. NVIDIA, the NVIDIA logo, and Quadro are trademarks and/or registered trademarks of NVIDIA Corporation in the U.S. and other countries. Other company and product names may be trademarks of the respective companies with which they are associated. Features, pricing, availability, and specifications are subject to change without notice.

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