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Adrenaline Ping three buddies and fire up Call of Duty* in co-op mode.

issue 2, 2009

Quake Wars* Gets Ray Traced.

Intel and DreamWorks Are Seeing Double

table of contents

18 Damien Thaller: Passion and Talent Bring Stories to Life Budding digital artists take heart. Sometimes following that impossible dream leads to unexpected success.

3 Alert: Latest Call of Duty* Release Breaks New Ground Threading proves especially useful as Call of Duty: World at War debuts an impromptu, cooperative game mode.

9 DreamWorks Animation and Intel: Forging an Alliance to Advance S3D Entertainment: 

24 Enabling 3D Moviemaking: Autodesk® Retools Maya® Stereoscopic 3D moviemaking just got infinitely easier with the release of Autodesk® Maya® 2009.

28 IGOR: The Making of a Monster Hit Usually the game version of a movie follows well behind the movie. Not this time.

Looking for the ultimate stereoscopic 3D movie experience? DreamWorks and Intel have the answer: InTru 3D™.

34 Light It Up!

Quake Wars* Gets Ray Traced

15 An Evil Genius Test Drives the Intel® Core™ i7 Processor Extreme Edition

To illuminate the art of ray tracing, Daniel Pohl outlines the steps to convert Enemy Territory: Quake Wars.

Pro-gamer Alex Garfield drives the snot out of Intel’s fastest gaming machine.

From the managing editor’s desk chryste sullivan Where does reality end and virtual reality begin? The dividing line between the two is blurring as visual computing advances, celebrated in this issue of Intel® Visual Adrenaline magazine, achieve new levels of realism. My kids, who have had occasion to view 3D movies, now comment on old-fashioned 2D fare, saying, “This movie would be better in 3D,” or “Wouldn’t it be cool to see this in 3D?” Moviegoers are flocking in record numbers to see stereoscopic 3D films. The excitement surrounding this cinema renaissance hasn’t been overlooked by Intel. The launch of the InTru 3D™ brand, an alliance between DreamWorks Animation and Intel to bring art and technology together, is discussed in this issue. Individual stories about a new release of Autodesk Maya* and a revamped animation pipeline at DreamWorks Animation show how technology really does help drive creativity.

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Greater realism isn’t limited to the silver screen. This issue also illuminates computer gaming advances that are opening eyes and quickening pulses. Intel staff scientist Daniel Pohl details—step-by-step—how ray tracing applied to Quake Wars enhances lighting and shadows. And the latest release of Call of Duty*: World at War puts multiple cores to work to support co-operative gameplay, richer graphics, and dazzling effects. Bringing heightened realism to computer screens as well as movie screens depends on talented artists. A profile of computer animator and digital artist Damien Thaller reveals how fantasy worlds and characters are created. This issue offers a fresh view of how visual computing is merging the boundaries between reality and virtual reality. Enjoy!


by lee purcell

Alert: Latest Call of Duty* Release Breaks New Ground and uses cores wisely The target is in the sights: Take an enduring game franchise and create a new release that keeps gamers roundly entertained while exploiting the latest PC platform advances. To that end, a seasoned cross-platform development team at Treyarch, experienced in the genre of multiplayer shooters, approached Call of Duty*: World at War with a distinct mission: Release the PC and console versions, through the publisher Activision, on the same date and with comparable features. Boasting a track record that includes Spiderman* 1 and 2 and over five years of simultaneous cross-platform releases, the Treyarch development team had the chops to pull off this latest release.

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Fire, particle effects, and physics are powerfully enhanced through threading and new algorithms.

The high-resolution, high-frame rate objectives for Call of Duty*: World at War put considerable demands on the target platforms, an area where the benefits of multi-core processing become evident. In an interview with PC Games Hardware, Cesar Stastny, Director of Tools and Libraries at Treyarch, commented on the strong push toward the multi-threading of applications. “Game developers are among the lucky ones that had to start doing this [multi-threading] earlier,” Stastny said. “We have been developing games for the past three years for multi-processors. We learned a lot of lessons that other software developers have yet to go through.”

Friends Don’t Let Friends Get Fragged For the first time, Call of Duty: World at War has a multiplayer cooperative play (co-op) on the PC, a breakthrough that brings a new level of entertainment to gamers. Over the past ten years, some games have had a co-op mode that typically involved gamers playing with or against computer-generated bots, but if a gamer wanted to play through the entire campaign, they were on their own. With Treyarch’s new multiplayer co-op mode, up to four human players can experience the entire Intel VISUAL adrenaline ISSUE 2, 2009

campaign together as one single team. One of the technical challenges that was overcome during development involved the complexity of letting four players connect and interact over the Internet on four separate machines, each with its own individual strengths. The smoothness of gameplay in co-op attests to the success in this area. A newly added competitive co-op mode combines the multiplayer and single-player approaches. An individual player is playing through the single-player storyline in real time, but also gains points for kills and accumulates streak modifiers, which increase the overall point number. However, if a player gets killed and goes down, a teammate can revive him, but the player loses points for getting shot, while at the same time the teammate gains points. This

provides a very different dynamic to the gameplay.

Developing Call of Duty* The core development team producing Call of Duty: World at War has a storied history dating back to an earlier company called Grey Matter, which produced the perennial favorite Castle Wolfenstein* for the PC, as well as another popular PC video game, King Pin*, in the late ‘90s. The team also created an expansion pack for Call of Duty 1 called United Offensive*, which is widely considered the highest-rated expansion pack in game history. This same team, after regrouping under the name Treyarch, has not rested on its laurels, despite having produced some of the most popular first-person shooters (FPS)

In co-op mode, as many as four players can link up to tackle a mission together.


alert : latest call of duty * release breaks new ground

in the history of gaming, including Return to Castle Wolfenstein*, which is still played today. Having devoted nearly two years to Call of Duty: World at War, Treyarch has focused its hard-won expertise on raising the reality quotient and packing this latest release with features that make the most of an advanced technology platform.

First Person Insights into Development Visual Adrenaline talked to Cesar Stastny, director of Tools and Libraries, Krassimir Touevsky, lead programmer PC team, and Adam Saslow, associate producer PC, to gain insight into the development process for Call of Duty: World at War, which sometimes kept developers hammering away on their keyboards for 18 to 20 hours at a stretch during the demanding, yet rewarding, process.

Visual Adrenaline: What kinds of challenges did you have to deal with to create the co-op feature? Adam: The biggest challenges we faced when implementing co-op were network traffic and the fact that one player’s machine doubles as the server. Our multiplayer game comes with a dedicated server that can be run on a

Visual Adrenaline: Have there been any particular advances in the Modern Warfare engine to adapt it for this latest Call of Duty release? Cesar: The Call of Duty: Modern Warfare engine was already multi-threaded and running really well on dual-core systems. We completely utilized its worker threads system and threw a lot more work at this thread to crunch. We added new full-screen effects, dynamic water, fire, and burning effects, dynamic foliage, our own physics library, sound occlusion, and vehicles. We added squads to multiplayer and an entirely new cooperative gameplay mode. And, because it is more fun to play with your friends, we added a Friends list and game invites to the PC version. Visual Adrenaline: How well versed is your development team in multi-threading techniques? Krassimir: The core of the team is comprised of engineers that spent the last three years working on high-profile, cross-platform, next-gen titles—so we’re well versed in multi-threading. Intel supplied us with their latest tools, including the Intel® VTune™ Performance Analyzer and the Intel® Thread Profiler, which are absolutely best-in-class. They also provided formal training to introduce some of the engineers to the tools. And, our engineers who had used the tools in the past benefited from learning about all the latest features.

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Improvements in the game physics are reflected in the behavior and movement of vehicles in the game.

virtualized server at hosting companies. This unloads the players’ machines from computing the game state. But for co-op we had to use the machine that is hosting the match to run both the client and the server. Also, co-op maps are much larger than the multiplayer maps because they are actually the same as our single-player campaign maps. A lot of scripting events happen in these maps, which increases the load on the server as well as on the network layer. To reduce the impact on the server, we moved some of the scripting to the client. To some degree, this is possible because of the availability of more cores and more threads, providing additional headroom without compromising gameplay action.


Former Quake* 3 world champion Kornelia Takacs brings a sharp competitive drive to Treyarch design work. Kornelia works closely with Cesar Stastny, Krassimir Touevsky, and Adam Saslow to refine many of the PC-specific aspects of the game. Kornelia got hooked on competitive gameplay when her roommate downloaded Qtest for Quake 1. “That was the first time I experienced what it feels like to play an FPS game against another person!” she said. “Needless to say, once Quake was released I continued playing. I began gaming on a more serious level after I won a tournament that held its finals at GDC. I joined the Cyberathlete Professional League (CPL) and I continued competing at tournaments for several years.” Calm nerves and a steady demeanor are prerequisites both for tournament play and game development. “You must have the ability to keep calm during your match whether you are winning or losing,” Kornelia observed. “Strategy and timing are crucial. Working at Treyarch, I have the opportunity to play our game, but playing in team games at the office is a more relaxed and pressure-free.” Kornelia is feeling positive about the Call of Duty: World at War release. “We have great features on the PC,” she said, “that make it easier for you to find servers that your friends and clan mates are playing on. I like that the multiplayer game mode settings on the PC have all of the options that appear on the Xbox* 360 version. Capture the flag . . . need I say more? Nazi Zombies mesmerized everyone at our office. Even people that were working on different titles were playing it for hours on end (after their regular work day, of course).”

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Visual Adrenaline: What were your programming objectives for the release of Call of Duty: World at War? What new technologies did you exploit? Adam: We wanted the PC version to match or exceed the game experience on the console. PC gamers who invest in better CPUs and GPUs will get higher resolutions (1650x1080, 1980x1200) and higher frame rates than are possible on the consoles. We believe the PC platform’s ability to scale in both areas allows PC gamers to realize improved, more realistic gameplay.

“i have been building software on intel hardware since the early days of personal computing. it is always exciting to see what we can achieve with their continually evolving technology.” cesar stastny, director of tools and libraries, treyarch

Visual Adrenaline: Which tools did you use to complete the product development and optimization? Cesar: We used VTune and the Thread Profiler. We already had a threading library in place, but we will definitely consider Intel® Threading Building Blocks in our future development toolset. Using Intel’s tools, we managed to resolve some thread synchronization issues in our engine and to improve our threading model overall by reducing the amount of synchronization primitives and waits. Because of this, PC gamers will enjoy smoother gameplay, as well as a more immersive experience when playing Call of Duty: World at War. Visual Adrenaline: What is the most difficult problem in terms of keeping the frame rates and video quality high? Adam: You really need good frame rates for shooters. We started with the best FPS game engine available, which was already performing well. All we had to do from a technical standpoint was add more visuals, physics, and other features without dropping the frame rate. We added ocean simulation, dynamic foliage, improved rag-doll physics, realistic vehicle simulation, and more. Physics, in particular, makes heavy use of the processor, so the use of parallelism serves up strong dividends. I am happy to report that the frame rate is still solid. Visual Adrenaline: Any tips or guidelines for other developers working on similar types of projects? Cesar: Get the Intel performance tools early in your development cycle—even if you are doing console development. They can help you optimize your tools and art pipeline before you hit full production.


alert : latest call of duty * release breaks new ground

Gaming Trends and Future Developments Mark Lamia, studio head at Treyarch, sees a number of trends that are changing computer games. “Aside from great leaps in power that we as game developers will continue to harness in areas like graphics, physics, AI, and audio,” he said, “we are seeing more and more gamers spending their time online playing our games and participating in online communities.” In response to this trend, Treyarch is investing heavily in all aspects of online gaming. Call of Duty: World at War was designed for online gaming, incorporating competitive multiplayer and—for the first time in the franchise history—online co-op play. To keep the online community grounded and informed, Treyarch also enhanced the site, where members gather to critique, comment, and contribute.

Mobile gaming is another prime area of interest. Mark noted, “I remember a couple of years back seeing some of the first laptops appear at a QuakeCon* and noticing how convenient it was for gamers to get together and play or have LAN parties.” Mark was convinced at that point that as long as the hardware was powerful enough, laptops would be recognized as serious gaming rigs. “As CPU and graphic capabilities continue to improve in laptops,” Mark observed, “they will continue to grow as a key platform for gaming.” In support of this trend, Intel Software and Services Group offers the Intel® Laptop Gaming Technology Development Kit (TDK), a set of libraries that make game code more aware of the laptop environment (including battery life and wireless strength). The future looks bright for PC gaming as platform advances continue

to expand possibilities. “Treyarch is looking forward to supporting all of the exciting capabilities that the PC has to offer to gamers,” Mark said, “and continuing to work with Intel to help us fully realize that power, so that PC users can continue to enjoy higher-resolution visuals, larger-scale multiplayer games hosted on customizable and dedicated servers, and more user-created mods.” •

about the Author: lee Purcell Having survived the frenetic energy of Silicon Valley in its heyday, Lee Purcell now writes on high-tech and alternative energy topics from a rural outpost in the Green Mountain State. Lee blogs on alternative energy topics at

Whether battling alone or with a band of brothers, Call of Duty:* World at War captures the grit and gruesome reality of war.

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Intel VISUAL adrenaline ISSUE 2, 2009


DreamWorks Animation and Intel: Forging an Alliance to Advance S3D Entertainment

Images courtesy of DreamWorks Animation SKG Intel VISUAL adrenaline ISSUE 2, 2009

Stereoscopic 3D (S3D) cinema has proven a surefire way to ignite interest in cinema and get movie lovers off the couch and into a theater seat. The current resurgence in 3D entertainment, marked by increasing numbers of digital cinema theaters and substantial increases in box office receipts when compared to 2D films of the same title, has led film studios to rethink their project lists. Many of them are opting to revamp their production workflow to better accommodate stereoscopic moviemaking. 9

dreamworks animation and intel : forging an alliance to advance s 3 d entertainment

ion SKG

orks Animat Images courtesy of DreamW

To help deliver these kinds of unique and magical S3D cinema experiences, DreamWorks and Intel have forged an alliance. “Our alliance with Intel is an extremely exciting opportunity to leverage the combined talent of the DreamWorks and Intel teams to create a new generation of tools and technology for our filmmakers,” said Ed Leonard, CTO of DreamWorks Animation. This experience will be extended beyond the theater to PCs and television screens, enabled by Intel InTru™ 3D technology in association with DreamWorks.

The Historical Roots of 3D Cinema Hardly a new technology, achieving the illusion of 3D on a two-dimensional surface has roots that reach back to the very early days of cinema. Even before the motion picture era, handheld stereoscopic viewers using still photographs were a popular form of entertainment where the effect was accomplished by capturing still images with two individual cameras, offset slightly to obtain the binocular perspective, and then viewed in tandem through a stereoscopic viewer that created the visual equivalence of depth. A whole generation was entertained with vividly striking images of the wonders of the Grand Canyon, vertigo-inducing views peering down into cities from tall buildings, and stunning, panoramic landscapes of far-away countries.

As early as 1922, an associate of Max Fleisher (who was the creator of Popeye, Betty Boop, and other characters), Jack Leventhal, came up with a system for creating 3D movies using an anaglyph technique, in which red and blue tinted stereo images are viewed through a pair of glasses featuring red and blue lenses. Working with Frederick E. Ives, a pioneer in photography, the two innovators devised a stereoscopic camera consisting of two cameras bolted together as a single unit with a single drive shaft. The lenses were arranged so that their optical centers were exactly 2-3/4 inches apart, the typical distance separating human eyes (commonly called the interocular distance). The early film efforts, which featured typical novelty effects, such as a baseball hurled right toward the face of a viewer or a spear seeming to come right out of the screen, were enhanced using wedge prisms attached to the glasses to give the illusion of objects coming extremely close to the viewer’s face. Max Fleisher followed suit with a string of animated cartoons that also used anaglyph techniques.

Successes in 3D Entertainment The short-lived 3D phenomenon in the 1950s, which had audiences bobbing and weaving in their theater seats as gimmicky films had objects flying from the screen and monsters reaching out at moviegoers, hinted at the possibilities of adding depth to movie viewing. However, the cheesy cardboard 3D glasses and primitive film techniques were just as likely to induce a headache as to enhance the entertainment experience. After a spate of films, the novelty largely wore off and 3D faded from the scene. Today, however, fueled by a new generation of digital theaters, digital cameras, digital workflow techniques that simplify stereoscopic content creation, and many-core DreamWorks Animation CEO Jeffrey Katzenberg sees a strong future for stereoscopic 3D films and the alliance with Intel, delivering the InTru™ 3D experience.

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dreamworks animation and intel : forging an alliance to advance s 3 d entertainment

processing platforms that power through the tremendous volumes of digital images involved in the process, 3D stereoscopic films are enjoying a renaissance. The success of 3D films has demonstrated the strong draw of 3D to audiences, generating greater box-office receipts than simultaneously released 2D versions. While this is encouraging on the business side, many of the best moviemakers, such as George Lucas, James Cameron, and Peter Jackson, see 3D as an exciting new filmmaking technique that they can use to immerse audiences deeper into their stories. Jeffrey Katzenberg, CEO of DreamWorks Animation, is a leading champion of 3D for animated films and has announced that all future animated features from DreamWorks will be released in both 3D and 2D versions. Underlying this shift in direction, the newly announced alliance between Intel and DreamWorks will bring Intel’s technology expertise and multi-core platform advances together with DreamWorks’ animation prowess and storytelling acumen. The InTru 3D logo attests to excellence in 3D entertainment. In an interview with Reuters, Katzenberg said that current 3D technology is vastly improved over the gimmicky, blurry 3D images of the ’50s. Using digital projectors and advanced computer technology, animated 3D images have been elevated to a much higher level of sophistication. “The real promise of 3D,” Katzenberg said, “is an immersive experience, not an observational experience.”

Optimize, Tune, and Then Optimize Some More To solidify the foundation of the Intel and DreamWorks Animation alliance, the complex and evolving animation pipeline that forms the core of the stereoscopic 3D production is the target of an optimization effort by an Intel engineering team. Sunil Kulkarni, software engineering manager for the team, and Ram Ramanujam, technology team lead, head the effort. Proven Intel® software development products, such as Intel® VTune™ Performance Analyzer with Intel® Thread Profiler, Intel® Threading Building Blocks, Intel® Performance Libraries, and Intel® Compiler Professional Editions are being applied to the thousands of individual components that comprise the animation pipeline.

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“We have a team of engineers,” Kulkarni said, “some working here at Intel, some working onsite at DreamWorks Animation. There are three main areas that we are working with DreamWorks Animation engineers to optimize: animation, rendering, and effects. We are literally looking into hundreds of modules in each of these areas. Together, we are optimizing the performance, strengthening the multi-threading, and incorporating the software back into the production pipeline, resulting in improved throughput across the entire core production process.” Initial efforts are devoted to optimizing code for systems powered by the Intel® Xeon® processor 5400 sequence, delivering a high degree of performance as well as power efficiency. Testing, however, is rapidly proceeding to move the entire animation pipeline to a platform powered by Intel® Core™ i7 processors (code-named Nehalem). This next-generation processor line provides record-breaking performance well suited to the substantial processing demands of stereoscopic moviemaking.

Delivering a New Viewing Experience Phil McNally, the Global Stereoscopic FX Supervisor at DreamWorks Animation, looks at 3D moviemaking this time around as something much more enduring than the last wave of 3D several decades back. “Clearly, if all we do with 3D is gimmicky stuff,” McNally said, “it will exhaust the audience, and in a couple of years it will be done. So, we have to strike a fine balance—yes, you want them to know they’re watching a movie in


dreamworks animation and intel : forging an alliance to advance s 3 d entertainment

3D, but at the same time, you don’t. In fact, you’re most successful if you’ve used 3D as a story-telling tool to draw your audience more deeply into your story.” “There’s also a process of education in terms of the filmmakers learning to deal with both the new possibilities and the new restrictions,” McNally continued. “You know if there’s one, there’s always the other. Filmmakers use a fast-cutting, high-action approach to overcome some of the limitations in traditional 2D filmmaking. In comparison, it might be more successful for spatial 3D filmmaking to be less cutty with a different approach to the action. The most successful shot from a spatial point of view is where you get a chance to look into it and all of the action happens within the space.”

New Methods for S3D Production The technologies enabling S3D animation and movie production have not only streamlined the workflow and processes in use by the studios, but also contributed to the creative possibilities, including pre-visualization tools that let creative directors set up scenes, view them in 3D to assess their effectiveness, and then quickly restructure their approach, if necessary, to improve the scene. In the past, this type of visualization was performed manually— often by sending out for changes to the storyboard. New sketches would be drawn showing the scene changes. New storyboards would be produced capturing the different point of view. A new depth script would be produced by the staff stereographer to indicate the relationships of objects. And then the setup and production to stage the scene would begin once again.

of 3D is ise m o pr real “The , experience ersive m im an onal not an observati experience.” , Jeffrey Katzenberg ks Animation CEO of DreamWor

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Earlier 3D works, such as Beowulf, The Polar Express, and Monster House, were created in the traditional 2D method and then re-rendered to produce a S3D version. With the greater processing power available in today’s workstations, however, many studios are re-engineering their production pipeline to incorporate 3D throughout the entire workflow—from conceptualizing the individual scenes through pre-visualization to evaluating works in progress by 3D previewing. Stereo-enabled workstations are another improvement that allows practitioners to improve the S3D craft. The technologies being employed in stereo-enabled workstations are also setting the stage for two additional offshoots of the S3D juggernaut: stereoscopic 3D gaming and television viewing.

Revamping the Animation Pipeline for the 21st Century As the nature and structure of the animation pipeline changes, with tasks becoming increasingly complex, the processing demands rise in tandem and parallelism becomes essential to achieving real-time and near realtime feedback. Much of the work being accomplished by Intel and DreamWorks Animation is aimed toward improving the efficiency, performance, and interactivity of the production pipeline, which is illustrated in Figure 1. Tasks that are serialized, such as animation and lighting, will migrate to a fully parallel workflow, which allows departments at different stages of the pipeline to view, collaborate, and contribute to the works in progress simultaneously. While it will take some time to reach the end goal—a contiguous, highly parallel animation pipeline—the highperformance platform components being provided by Intel are integral to achieving the net result.

Adding 3D to the Workflow Lincoln Wallen, Head of Research and Development at DreamWorks Animation, explained, “Our movies start with storyboards, which are expressive sketches of key moments and poses on individual sheets of paper that get pinned up on a board in chronological order. This is how the story is pitched; it’s how it’s acted out by the story artists; it’s how you start to get a feel what that movie’s going to look like and feel like before we begin the production process.”


dreamworks animation and intel : forging an alliance to advance s 3 d entertainment


Story Reel



Rough Layout


Final Layout (Set Dressing)

Final matte paintings, set dressing elements, and textures from Library

Effects system and tools from Library




Lighting Setup & Production



Film Room

Character Animation

Motion system from Library

Figure 1. Current production pipeline in use at DreamWorks Animation

At this point, according to Wallen, the life of the movie becomes an iterative process and more of the work is performed using computergenerated animation (CGA) tools. The next step is to bring the work into layout and, at the same time, other departments begin working on models, surface textures, backgrounds, and so on, performing this important work in parallel.

Throughout this entire process, as the shot is making its way through the pipeline, it gets improved. And, at some point, it might go back to layout or might go back to various other departments to get reworked, if the story changes or if the director has a different idea of what it should look like. All of these steps typically happen over the course of many weeks or months.

During the layout process, individual pieces are blocked into the frame. Characters are placed in position, props are added, camera angles are selected, and very simple movements are introduced to advance the story.

“It’s an iterative approach,” Wallen commented. “You make a change, you send it off, and it gets rendered. The director gives his opinion on it and the artist makes the changes based on those directions, and then it’s wait and see again. You just keep repeating the same cycle until it is right.”

The shot then makes its way through other departments, such as animation and lighting. During the animation stage, character performances are created. The lighting work determines the type and source of lights in the scene to provide the mood and the way that the surface textures appear to the audience.

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“Stereo,” Wallen said, “has added a second eye. A whole list of graphics techniques is used to improve the S3D aspects of the movie, making it more watchable and helping to avoid eyestrain. We need to make sure that the 3D effect is integral to the telling of the story while not pulling the audience out of the immersive experience.”

Going Parallel with the Pipeline One of the first areas where processing power is being applied to the animation pipeline is previsualization, often called simply pre-vis, where scenes can be set up and previewed before going through a grueling rendering process. “The reason why pre-vis works at all,” Wallen said, “is because of the availability of processing power that’s sufficient to handle near real-time or real-time rendering of a scene at an acceptable quality.” Wallen gave an example of pre-vis that allows the user to take a virtual camera in a room coupled with a motion capture system that captures the location of the camera and what is being viewed. Although the camera is a product of clever software, to the user it feels like an actual camera. Instead of a camera with lens, however, it has an open-view screen. That screen portrays what the user would be seeing from within the virtual scene with a camera pointing in different directions.


dreamworks animation and intel : forging an alliance to advance s 3 d entertainment

In this environment, the cameraman in a CG scene becomes immersed in the scene and can shoot the same as if making a live action shot, except in this case it’s virtual. “You do this in pre-vis with the same technology that is used in video games and lower quality previews and such,” Wallen said. “And the only reason you can do it is because you have enough compute power to be interactive throughout the process. If you have to wait 10 seconds before the next frame, you’d never be able to do the same thing live.” Wallen feels that introducing such tools in pre-vis represents something of a preview as to what the future holds for animation. It crosses the boundaries from the wait-and-see scenarios of the past to a more interactive form of moviemaking, a fitting example of the power of technology removing impediments to creativity. The creative process will involve real-time, fully rendered, fully interactive sets—a very different approach than what we have today. “If you want to move a prop,” Wallen said, “you just move it. If you want to have two characters interact with each other, you have two animators sitting there on the spot doing that animation— perhaps with a bit of puppeteering or motion capture. And then, your pipeline streamlines working out this shot until you like it. After that, you can send it out to be finalized, for improvements in performance, effects, and lighting.”

Applied Processing Power Much of the collaborative alliance between DreamWorks Animation and Intel focuses on areas where the power of the high-performance Intel Core i7 processor can be effectively applied to enhancing S3D tasks. “Lighting is one of the key areas where processing performance can help,” Wallen said. “Lighting is the heaviest compute part of the film. Typically, your decisions rely on seeing final rendered frames.” The interactive component in this workflow is a lighter, sitting in front of an editing tool, editing the intensity and other characteristics of lights, moving them around, setting up bounce cards, or doing whatever is necessary to achieve the appropriate visual effect. The backend is rendering, giving the lighter the ability to see the results of the changes in the lighting of a shot. This is an area of where a substantial amount of the compute requirements are concentrated. “Ultimately, increasing power on the desktop will allow us to bring more and more of the downstream elements

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(lighting and effects) upstream, so that the earlier work in layout and animation can be crafted more ‘in context’ and to a higher quality end product.” Elsewhere in this issue of Visual Adrenaline, we look at another popular component of the animation pipeline, Autodesk Maya*, now celebrating its tenth anniversary as leading 3D design and animation solution. The article, Enabling 3D Moviemaking: Autodesk Retools Maya, discusses the advances in the product that support stereoscopic filmmaking and the ways that parallelism has been applied to optimize performance.

InTru™ 3D®1 Showcases Stunning S3D Entertainment As Intel and DreamWorks continue to refine the nextgeneration animation pipeline to create stunning S3D works, much of the effort focuses on two areas: improving real-time interactivity of tasks in the pipeline and making it possible to achieve much higher quality rendering of frames with more realistic effects. “The real challenge,” Phil McNally said, “is get to people to set aside the canvas and actually pick up the clay at the very earliest stage of authoring in 3D. At every step of production there is painting equipment, but there’s also sculpting equipment—both there side by side. Over time, I expect that as we get greater understanding of what we can do with spatial moviemaking, then we’ll be able to more naturally develop those techniques. We’re in the early days; ten years from now I’m sure that we’ll look back on current movies and realize how far that we’ve come. But right now we’re at the exciting stage—there’s a new door open and it’s up to us, the artists, now that the technological barriers have really been eliminated to go through that door and try and work out what the hell we’re going to do with the new possibilities.” Upcoming DreamWorks Animation 3D works to watch for—to sample the fruits of this alliance—include Monsters vs. Aliens, How to Train Your Dragon, and Shrek Goes Fourth. We’re entering an exciting era where animated entertainment takes on an entirely new dimension. • InTru and the InTru logo are trademarks of Intel Corporation in the U.S. and other countries.



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Evil Genius Test Drives the ® ™ Intel Core i7 Processor Extreme Edition Gamers take note: The Intel® Core™ i7 Processor Extreme Edition banishes complacency and injects a heady shot of pure rocket fuel into the cylinders of high-end gaming machines. At the wheel, keenly aware of the thrumming of the high-performance processing engine under his control, Alex Garfield, executive director of Team Evil Geniuses (Team EG 1), was ready to take the highly anticipated gaming machine through its paces. The moment was electric as Alex sat down in front of the Bloomfield system at a recent tournament in Montreal, Canada. “I am one of the lucky few, I am told, who has had a chance to play games on a Intel Core i7 Processor Extreme Edition based desktop,” Alex said. “When I got my hands on the new Intel Core i7 system,” he continued, “the first game I tried was Crytek’s Crysis*. Crysis is a game that’s notorious for murdering systems—it’ll make your box explode if you try to tweak everything up. With Intel Core i7 Processor Extreme Edition, I cranked up the resolution, all of the textures, everything as high as possible. With any other system, you wouldn’t even be able to start the game. But, Intel Core i7 Processor Extreme Edition actually ran Crysis—and ran it with a reasonable fps (frames per second) rate and with good game play. Unbelievable!” 1

Intel Redefines Extreme Gaming Performance Widely heralded as the reigning champion in the ruthless processor performance arena, the Intel Core i7 Processor Extreme Edition escalates parallelism to dizzying levels—with four cores and four additional threads available (through Intel® Hyper-Threading Technology). The result? A brute of a system, delivering an incredible breakthrough in gaming, and a milestone advance in multi-threading technology that can accelerate performance to match workload demands. This lofty plateau on the upper levels of gaming performance is a place that Alex is very familiar with—both from his leadership role in Team EG and his long-standing passion for extreme gaming. To stay competitive in multiplayer venues, pro gamers have become accustomed to dialing back graphics and textures to keep the fps rates as high as possible (around 100 fps is the desired target). The game then runs fast, but looks terrible. “The best part of Intel Core i7 Processor Extreme Edition,” Alex observed, “is that you don’t have to choose anymore. You are able to maintain appearance and performance at the same time.” Highly threaded games benefit substantially from Intel Core i7 Processor Extreme Edition architecture. Demanding

Intel has sponsored Team EG since 2006.

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an evil genius test drives the intel ® core ™ i 7 processor extreme edition

“If I were going to give advice to a gamer today, I would just say: ‘Don’t

compromise. Go for a processor like the Intel ®Core™ i7 Extreme Edition.’ This Intel Core i7 is easily the best desktop processor I’ve ever used.” — Alex Garfield, Executive Director, Team EG

tasks—including artificial intelligence, physics, and rendering—can be distributed across eight threads. Silky smooth gameplay, greater responsiveness, and enhanced graphic realism result from performing processor-intensive operations concurrently.

To the Future and Beyond “We’re now in an era of computer gaming where the processor is the most important part of the computer,” Alex said, “whereas, five or ten years ago people were obsessing over their video cards. Now, the way things are made, the processor is the key to the overall experience.”

Intel® Visual Adrenaline program equips developers, students, researchers, and industry influencers with resources to understand, master, and apply the latest visual computing advances from Intel. Alex firmly believes that Intel® technology will continue its leading role in the pro-gaming experience. “Intel is spearheading the evolution of this technology and allowing game developers to push the envelope, while also providing the user with a fun game play experience,” he said. “The performance is just unbelievable.”

To serve as a catalyst for innovation and to keep the performance wheels turning in the gaming sector, the

Well said, Alex. •

Alex Garfield: The Man Behind the Evil Geniuses Game developers must always be ready to strike a balance between their ambitions for creating the perfect game—with scorching performance and stunning graphic realism—and the stark realities of the available platform technologies. The ultimate gamer—in the mold of Alex Garfield—is the person who keeps competitiveness in the forefront when configuring a system. As Alex discovered in his first foray into extreme gaming Intel® Core™ i7 Processor Extreme Edition style, he can maintain the competitive edge without seriously sacrificing game realism. The opportunity to sample the finest of Intel’s gaming wares while playing a role in the successes of Team Evil Geniuses (Team EG) has been a twin blessing. As executive director of Team EG, Alex Garfield has a unique behind-the-scenes understanding of the stresses competitive gamers face. Alex began managing

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Team EG in his sophomore year of college and has grown the team into a professional gaming brand, expanding the roster from six members to 50 in just two years. “Starting in 2006, I got some really great help from the


an evil genius test drives the intel ® core ™ i 7 processor extreme edition

folks at Intel,” Alex said. “This is just about as wonderful a job as I could ask for. I really enjoy working with the players, as well as working closely with Intel.” Alex has been playing games since his early teens. “I started with unorganized, random game play and then got into online leagues and organized gaming. I’m a Counter-Strike* kid,” he said. In high school, Alex focused on music over sports. He practiced violin at least three hours a day, achieving a high level of mastery. “There was no element of competition or team interaction in the music, and gaming filled that void,” he said. Alex obviously thrives on the added competition. Today, Team EG is one of the longest-standing eSports teams in North America. Established some nine years ago, its players travel worldwide to participate in the highest levels of competitive gaming leagues and tournaments. Based on press rankings and cumulative tournament placements for 2007–2008, Team EG is the top professional gaming organization in North America. Six of their eight divisions placed first in North America, one placed first in Canada, and one placed second in North America.

pros pour hours and hours into play, and most play for years before they have a chance to be pro,” he said. And second? “Keep your life balanced,” Alex said. “Most pro gamers don’t fit the mainstream stereotypes of obesity or social awkwardness. They work hard on nutrition, active social lives, and keeping in shape.” Alex knows all about balance. A recent graduate of Pomona College in southern California, his musical pursuits and his work with Team EG are just some of the activities he juggles. Add to that his future aspiration for business or law school, as well as his desire to professionally compose music and record an album, and it’s easy to understand why Alex values a balanced lifestyle. “The mind/body connection is important,” he said. With all that Alex has before him—a newly earned degree, a strong interest and talent in music, and a job that serves his passion for gaming—his future looks bright. “I’ll stick with pro gaming for at least a few more years,” said Alex. “Pro gaming—either through tournaments or just the casual pick-up game—is part of my life. My current efforts with Team EG and Intel aren’t going away anytime soon. Pro gaming is part of my life and always will be,” he said. •

Alex has pointed advice for potential pro gamers: “First of all, it’s a tremendous amount of hard work. The

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Featured Artist

Damien Thaller: Passion and Talent Bring Stories to Life BY Kim Gratz

Getting Paid to Dream These days you’ll find digital artist Damien Thaller hard at work on two feature films—Australia, starring Nicole Kidman and Hugh Jackman, and The Void, a science fiction bonanza from Duo Art Productions. For Australia Damien is developing matte paintings and concept art along with Animal Logic, a digital production company, while his work onThe Void indulges his passion for designing original creatures and sets. Intel VISUAL adrenaline ISSUE 2, 2009


featured artist : damien thaller : passion and talent bring stories to life

“Inspiration, for me, comes from simply paying attention to the world around me.” –Damien Thaller, Artist

But not long ago—14 years to be exact— Damien’s journey was still a dream. During that time he honed his skills and focused his passion for art—with a great many successes to show for it. He’s worked on several feature films, television shows, commercials, and video games over the years and points to Attack of the Clones–Star Wars Episode 2 as one of the most memorable shows he’s worked on. “It’s a great feeling to walk into a toy store and see something you’ve built selling as a toy,” said Damien. Truth be told, Damien is a self-described sci-fi and epic-adventure addict: “I grew up watching films like The Goonies, Tron, Raiders of the Lost Ark, The Last Star Fighter, Blade Runner, and of course, Star Wars.” Perhaps it was one of these films that ignited his creative spark—Damien had a keen interest in art from early on. “I’ve been drawing, painting, designing, and generating ideas since I can remember.” Damien decided to pursue his dream in spite of the lack of encouragement from his teachers. “My high school teachers never took me seriously with art—they thought art wasn’t a real future, but only for dreamers. Now I get paid to dream.”

A Journey of Self Discovery Damien left the country farm where he grew up to attend art school. He studied Visual Art and learned traditional methods and theories of art. “In my day, art school didn’t have computers with Photoshop* so everything was done with markers, pencil, and paint on paper. I loved it!”

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Humble beginnings laying out press ads at the local city paper led to greater opportunities as he moved on to graphic design and advertising. From there it was a quick jump into computer games—and then finally film and TV. “I also did a stint at a T-shirt company illustrating graphics on T-shirts. You could say I moved around and dabbled a little over the years in many areas of design before finding myself,” Damien said. And find himself is exactly what he did. “I had the time of my life modeling 3D creatures back in ’96. I came from a traditional illustration background in design and advertising, and being introduced to 3D animation absolutely blew me away.” Damien spent six


featured artist : damien thaller : passion and talent bring stories to life

years designing games and then moved into directing TV commercials and working on feature films.

An Uncommon Vision Damien traces his ability to observe detail and explore alternative approaches to his father. “When I was young I drew a picture and my father was watching me get frustrated. I was about to abandon the drawing when he took the pencil and turned the picture upside down and drew in other shapes. He changed the picture into something completely different. This was the moment I began to see things differently.” The power of that moment has shaped Damien’s career. He considers his father a mentor along with great concept artists, such as Syd Mead, whose movie credits include Blade Runner, Aliens and Tron, and Doug Chang, whose work includes Star Wars Episode I, Beowolf, The Mask, Forrest Gump, and many others.

The Evolution of a Career Fast forward 14 years, now a concept artist and animation director—and a seasoned veteran of entertainment art—Damien has his own company, Evolve Pictures, and has worked with some of the largest visual effects companies around the world, including Industrial Light & Magic, Method Studios, Electronic Arts, Ratbag Games, Kojo Group, Ambience Entertainment, and Animal Logic. Damien started Evolve Pictures in late 2006 as a visual development business, and although Evolve is a small company with just two full-time staff and five on-call freelancers, it lays claim to high-profile projects,

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such as creating the visual development and pitch materials for several films, including The Forgotten, Forever, and The Void. Running a business has raised new challenges for Damien. “When I’m working on a project with Evolve I’m a manager, salesman, and an artist,” he said. “You have to be pretty disciplined to work in the film industry . . . the challenges always get bigger,” he said. But, these challenges give way to the creative freedom inherent in owning a business, such as Evolve. “I like to have lots of room with no restrictions . . . I find this way I can explore different ideas and concepts,” said Damien. A recent result of Damien’s creative freedom is a new children’s

TV series with a main character called Shrimphead. The project started with Damien and Evolve Pictures, and Damien had complete creative control, including the development of various characters, and set and environment designs. “Shrimphead is a lovable character that embarks on many funny situations and adventures. I really enjoy working on characterdriven stories and other familyfocused programs,” said Damien.

Inspiration is Where You Find it With a passion for telling stories through 3D animation, Damien finds inspiration and clues to creating realistic visual images in everyday life. “I find the best references are objects around us so I’m always observing and absorbing my surroundings.” Even on the walk to work Damien is


paying attention. “I look around at architecture, organic shapes, and colors. Every day I see and learn something new. Sometimes I even see a shape on the ground or an interesting texture on a wall and take a photo for reference. People often walk past and wonder what I’m looking at,” he said. Damien believes that great art doesn’t need to be overly detailed. “The most simple images can be well crafted and communicated,” he said. But paying attention to attributes, such as lighting and color, pay off as well, “Lighting, colors, and shapes are really important—lighting sets the mood and defines the light and dark shapes in my art,” Damien said. Damien also bases many of his character designs on the personalities in his everyday life. “They’re often people that I know or work with, or have met,” he said.

The Tools to Dream Whether it’s pens, pencils, or computers and computer software, Damien considers them all tools of the trade. ”My computer is a tool no different than my pencils and markers. When creating art I generally start on paper and rough out ideas; it feels more natural and less restrictive.”

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“I came from a traditional illustration background in design and advertising, and being introduced to 3D animation absolutely blew me away.” –Damien Thaller, Artist

“Once I’m happy I transfer my sketches and drawings to the computer and use software, such as Photoshop, Painter*, and Maya*, to work up final renderings. For film production, Photoshop and Maya are my primary software tools as I find them the most applicable and fast. They offer a great range of freedom for my concept art and design,” said Damien. When it comes to new tools, Damien is always on the lookout for something to make his work shine. “Recently I’ve been learning a new tool called ZBrush*. It’s a powerful and intuitive software tool for sculpturing high amounts of detail in 3D.”


featured artist : damien thaller : passion and talent bring stories to life

“I have two personal machines—a Sony Vaio* laptop PC and an Hewlett-Packard XW* 6600 2.5 GHz Intel® Xeon® processor-based workstation with six gigs of RAM for anything 3D heavy,” said Damien.

Dreams on the Horizon How does Damien see the future unfolding for computer-generated art? “These are very exciting times,” he said. “The computer is an instrument of art so as the technology grows and CPUs become faster, artists will have more control with less downtime.”

And what of the future for Damien? “Well, I loved the film The Dark Crystal as a kid, and it would be pretty cool to revamp the franchise and develop a new film, perhaps combining CGI with live action,” he said. “For now I’ll continue generating ideas and creating art for film while expanding my skills as an artist and director. I also look forward to one day directing my own feature film!” A wistful hope? Not a chance. Not for a dreamer like Damien. •

About the Author Kim Gratz is a writer living on a small farm in Oregon with her husband, daughter, one dog, one cat, and two ducks named Donald. She cut short a career in corporate marketing for a corner office in her home with a view of a lone apple tree and the foothills of the Coast Range. All images for this article are © Damien Thaller:

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on the lookout

Havok Physics* & Havok Animation* Innovation Contest Finalists Announced

Intel® Extreme Masters Season III—The World is Watching

Discover what these finalists did with the world’s best simulation tools from Havok. Using the Intel-sponsored versions of Havok Physics* and Havok Animation* for the PC, they developed innovative, playable PC games. Winners will be announced at the Game Developer Conference in San Francisco on March 23-27, 2009. Names, entries, and pictures of the winners will be published on the contest Web site the same day.

Don’t miss the 2009 Intel® Extreme Masters events! Season three features the world’s best players competing in Counter-Strike* 1.6 and World of Warcraft* for total prize money of USD 750,000.

2008 Intel® Game Demo Contest Winners Intel has announced the winners of its third annual game demo contest. With the power of Intel® processors, tools, and development kits, the winners created outstanding games and took home more than USD 100,000 in cash and prizes in three categories: Best Threaded Game, Best Game on the Go, and Best Game on Intel® Graphics. For a list of the winners, downloadable game demos, and more information on the contest, visit:

Participants play on the highest performing Intel processors on Alienware Area-51* systems from Dell’s Gaming Group and meet online and off to demonstrate their skills and give the fans an incredible show.

2009 January 16-18 Chengdu, China Continental Finals Asia February 13-15 Hamburg, Germany Continental Finals Europe 

March 3-8 CeBIT, Germany    Global Finals For complete details about 2009 events visit:             

Break into the Hottest Market Around! PC gaming is where it’s at—join the Intel® Software Partner Program to optimize your 3D games, middleware, and media apps for Intel® multi-core processors and Intel Graphics today!

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by lee purcell

Enabling 3D Moviemaking: Autodesk®® Retools Maya®® Enabling 3D Moviemaking:


roducing animated feature films presents daunting challenges for storytellers, but not nearly as daunting as those posed by stereoscopic 3D (S3D) moviemaking. Whether dealing with special effects in a film with live actors or computer-generated character movements in an animated feature, many of the most difficult computing tasks are literally doubled—to support two individual streams of images, one slightly offset from the other, creating a sense of depth.

With the release of Autodesk® Maya® 2009, the developers at Autodesk have generously equipped the latest version of their 3D design and animation software with features and capabilities to enhance stereoscopic 3D digital content creation. In support of evolving animation pipelines and the advanced physics algorithms that underlie special effects, the Autodesk development team capitalized on next-generation multicore processing advances from Intel and engineered their code to use parallel threads for boosting performance and efficiency. 3D moviemakers enjoy faster rendering, higher quality previewing, richer end results, and additional perks that enhance creative storytelling.

Enabling moviemaking in S3D requires rethinking many of the cinematic conventions that have held sway for decades and then building tools and processes that help storytellers exercise their craft. With Maya 2009, the innovators at Autodesk have done just that.

Growing Studio Commitment to Stereoscopic Entertainment Studios have demonstrated a growing interest in S3D production, particularly as moviegoers have flocked to theaters in record numbers to watch 3D films. Kevin Tureski, product director at Autodesk, said in an exclusive interview with Intel® Visual Adrenaline, “We’ve been working very closely with the leading studios creating stereoscopic films. These include Sony Picture Imageworks, the studio that created Beowulf; Disney Animation, the makers of Meet the Robinsons, Chicken Little, and Bolt; as well as DreamWorks Animation, the company behind the upcoming Monsters vs. Aliens.“ “The quality of the content in stereoscopic productions will very much depend on the filmmakers,” said Sebastian Sylwan, senior industry manager for film at Autodesk. “One of Autodesk’s main drivers,” he continued, “is to give our customers what they need to make the best production possible. All the enabling technologies—and the current resurgence of stereo filmmaking—are really driven by a particular alignment of knowledge: knowledge about digital cinema, single projector stereo, and digital projection techniques. Many of the technical hurdles that were in the previous iterations of projecting and creating stereo, as well as obstacles with digital cameras, are being intrinsically solved by these technologies.”

Image courtesy of DreamWorks Animation SKG

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Efforts coordinated by industry groups, including the Digital Cinema Initiatives LLC (, are paving the way toward


enabling 3d moviemaking : autodesk ® retools maya ®

wider distribution of 3D content. We made sure that data Maya highly interactive environment for On the home front, Intel is actively creates can be taken into Autodesk working in stereo. Using the various working with companies, including Toxik, our 3D compositing system.” 3D display systems at DreamWorks, DreamWorks Animation SKG, to bring artists are able to view in stereo premium stereoscopic entertainment “So Autodesk offers a nice throughout the production pipeline.” to audiences through big screens seamless stereoscopic workflow in the movie theater and computer between your 3D package, your “In Maya,” McNally continued, “we screens in the home. Another venue compositor, and even our color grader, can interactively control the 3D effect where 3D continues and see these changes to gain momentum happen in real-time. We is computer gaming, can quickly adjust the tereoscopy, or stereoscopic imagery, uses in which immersive scene composition and the characteristics of human binocular worlds acquire an extra even adjust a character vision to create the illusion of depth, making measure of reality to be in front of the objects appear to be in front of or behind with the addition of screen or behind the stereoscopic depth. screen-all in a highly the cinema screen. The technique relies on interactive environment. presenting the right and left eyes with two Strengthening The example would be slightly different images, which the brain Workflow with something like: if you’re automatically blends into a single view. High-Performance a sculptor working Subtle right-left dissimilarities in the images Platforms in clay, now we have Through close our hands on the clay create the perception of depth and can be collaboration with Intel, as opposed to being manipulated to creative advantage. Therein Autodesk developers in some remote room lies the art of stereoscopic filmmaking.” have tuned their product writing up parameters performance to the of what we want From Autodesk® Stereoscopic Filmmaking Whitepaper: The Business and Technology of Stereoscopic Filmmaking platform capabilities of the clay to be like.” multiple processing cores, multi-threading many The prevailing trend The Business and Technology of Stereoscopic Filmmaking of the most demanding, in today’s animation Stereoscopic Filmmaking Whitepaper: data-intensive tasks (of which From Autodesk® Autodesk Lustre®,” Tureski explained. pipelines—which are undergoing there are many in the 3SD pipeline). “We made sure to add stereoscopic lies the art of stereoscopic filmmaking.” rapid evolution in the industrySupporting two separate streams capabilities to all of these products, leading studios—is to integrate manipulated to creative advantage. Therein of digital image data to support the so that when you’re working in processes throughout the pipeline create the perception of depth and can be stereoscopic model clearly requires stereo you’re not just working in 3D. for more fluid workflow and greater dissimilarities in the images a truckload of processing power. Subtle right-left You’re not just compositing. You’re visualization possibilities. Performing Intel and Autodesk found many automatically not just color grading. able to blends intoBeing a single view. complex operations concurrently areas where Maya’s 10-million slightlycarry stereoscopic data between different images, which the brainhelps speed overall workflow lines of code could be refined to all these different tasks is required performance. Advanced multi-core presenting the right and left eyes with two take advantage of parallelism. to provide the best experience for processing architectures, as provided the cinema screen. The technique relies onIntel® Core™ i7 Processors enable the audience. Film studios need this by objectsstereo appear to be to in manage front of “One of the things that has been continuity theor behind the performance-driven platform great—now that Maya is part of vision to complexity of theillusion extra dimension.” capabilities that are revolutionizing create the of depth, making Autodesk—is that we can take a the characteristics of human binocular digital cinema production techniques. pipeline-wide view of stereoscopy,” Phil McNally, the global stereo “Stereoscopy, or stereoscopic imagery, uses “In the past,” McNally explained, Tureski said. “Instead of just providing FX supervisor at DreamWorks a point solution in a single product, Animation, said, “Using Maya, we “what you were trying to do is we’ve taken a very holistic, producthave developed a 3D toolset and take the idea of the storyboard line, wide view toward stereoscopy. workflow that gives our artists a and create an animated version of


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Image courtesy of DreamWorks Animation SKG

Monsters vs. Aliens, scheduled for release by DreamWorks Animation in March 2009, builds on the stereoscopic techniques that have been refined over the past months, inspiring the latest capabilities in Maya 2009 for pre-visualizing and previewing scenes on 3D-capable display systems or projectors during editing.

that storyboard, which supports the same compositional idea. The choices include which lens to use and what’s the actual framing of the shot going to be. That’s a very two-dimensional workflow—based on drawn images in a two-dimensional view. Even though we’re in a 3D world, it’s still a two-dimensional view of that world. What we’re trying to encourage now is different. Although the storyboard is still there as the basis of the idea, in Maya the space becomes three-dimensional. We’re suddenly within a spatial world and we can compose spatially. Ultimately, audiences will see this as a spatial composition. It’s no longer going to be seen as a flat 2D composition.” “If you think of three dials with the lens choice, framing, and stereo depth,” McNally said, “those are the three things we’re trying to achieve a more fluid balance among.” “Giving our film makers these highly interactive 3D tools is enabling a whole new element to story telling. For DreamWorks Animation, we couldn’t be more excited about the potential for 3D,” said Ed Leonard, CTO, DreamWorks Animation.

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Maya can also support computer-generated effects that rely on content imported from live image capture. Sebastian Sylwan, senior industry manager for film at Autodesk commented, “If you have a live-action shot filmed with stereoscopic cameras, you can track the cameras and apply them inside Maya, or inside a compositing package, and then composite them together. The next step for us in the pipeline is Toxik, which actually has just been introduced with stereoscopic features. Toxik can read the Maya cameras (that have been tracked or processed to identify the camera moves) and produce those same camera moves onto the CG element. That element can then be brought into Toxik and composited with live action footage that comes from cameras.” “These systems are designed to be extremely flexible,” Sylwan said. “This is one of the reasons why partnerships with our clients are extremely important: because almost every project has a specific workflow that needs to be followed. We need to be very aware and very active in supporting those workflows and enabling the client. One of the main capabilities of both Maya and Toxik is to be extremely extensible and extremely flexible—to be very adaptable tools for pipelines. That’s why big facilities, our largest clients, have built their pipelines around these tools.”

Pre-Visualization Adds Creative Flair to Productions Under the direction of DreamWorks Animation CEO Jeffrey Katzenberg, every film produced by the studio will be produced in 3D beginning with Monsters vs. Aliens in 2009. At this year’s SIGGRAPH, DreamWorks Animation proudly showed off the 3D test sequence of Kung Fu Panda as a taste of future CG film making. The expertise that DreamWorks Animation is acquiring is being reflected in a new pipeline designed to better accommodate stereoscopic workflow and new tools that have been created in collaboration with Autodesk to better explore the creative possibilities of the medium.


enabling 3d moviemaking : autodesk ® retools maya ®

Unlike traditional animation, where the workflow follows a very serial process, larger studios are increasing the use of digital design tools to perform pre-visualization of scenes. Pre-visualization allows the luxury of being able to explore the effectiveness of different approaches to a scene and decide what works and what doesn’t before going deeper into the animation work. Reporting from SIGGRAPH 2008,1 Anne Hall notes that DreamWorks Animation formed a Previs Department for the creation of Kung Fu Panda. “The traditional ‘2D’ animation approach of hand off from Story/Storyboard Dept. to Layout Dept. to Animation Dept. is extremely regimented. This was necessary when bringing a scene to life required hundreds of labor-intensive drawings and handmade background paintings, but in a fully 3-D feature where the cameras and characters are comparatively easy to move around it seemed unnecessarily ,” Hall commented. “ John [Stevenson, the director of Kung Fu Panda] seems to agree in his insistence that the opening fight sequence of Kung Fu Panda benefited greatly from their ability to use Pre-visualization techniques to choreograph that complex sequence.” “More and more studios,” Hall continued, “seem to be adopting previs into their animation and layout process, changing cameras and angles to work with new ideas directors and animators come up with on the Source:

In stereoscopic works, this type of flexibility extends to determining how effective the stereo effects are, providing cues to the creative director as to camera movements, intraocular distances, and scene composition.

Gauging the Popularity of 3D Nick Dager, who produces the Digital Cinema Report* ( and keeps a thumb in the wind on new developments, is unwavering in his optimism for this new technology. “I believe stereoscopic 3D is going to transform the entire movie experience from top to bottom,” Dager said, “and, in fact, it will cause a greater change than the introduction of sound. The kinds of movies that are made, how they are made, and the intensity of the movie-going experience are about to get bigger and better than ever.” “I strongly suspect,” Dager continued, “that once the public at large has a taste of this, people will start demanding more stereoscopic 3D than they already are. The success of the Beowulf example wasn’t atypical. So far every digital 3D movie that has come out has done at least a factor of 2.5 times the box office return of the same film in 2D.” As long as the public continues to demonstrate their interest in S3D movies, voting at the box office through ticket purchases, the studios will continue to improve their storytelling skills in this format. Tools such as Autodesk Maya, with integral application features that make it easier to design, pre-visualize, create, and render 3D, help drive down production costs and enhance the creative edge, giving animators and moviemakers a fresh palette of techniques to hone their craft. As interest in 3D expands into gaming and television, opportunities will likewise blossom for those innovators at the peak of their game. Digital content creators looking for a new medium to reach audiences could discover that 3D is the way to go. • Image courtesy of DreamWorks Animation SKG


fly. It will be interesting to see how this new process will affect filmmaking in the future. If Kung Fu Panda is any indication, it could quickly become part of a new standard in the creation of animated films.”

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g n i k a M e IGOR: Th t i H r e t s n o of a M by

John Sundman

Igor, the delightfully droll, gothic-like, animated film from Exodus Film Group, tells a fractured Frankenstein tale with a twist. Voiced by John Cusack, the eponymous Igor is a hunchbacked slave to evil genius (not) Dr. Glickenstein (John Cleese), an inventor of diabolical intent. Igor secretly dreams of becoming a scientist. Like the original Doctor Frankenstein, he wants nothing less than to create life itself, in the form of a malevolent monster. Throwing together a little of this and a bit of that, he builds an improbable assemblage and, with great trepidation, throws the switch to invigorate it. To his dismay and our delight, his magical, quirky creation turns out to be not evil, but quite wonderful and actually beautiful in an odd sort of way. Intel VISUAL adrenaline ISSUE 2, 2009


igor : the making of a monster hit

Appropriately enough, a similar process of assembling wildly disparate parts into something new, oddly beautiful, and very much alive was used to create Igor the game. The PC version was recently released by Legacy Interactive to the delight of would-be monsters everywhere.

It Starts with a Vision “Igor was a natural fit for us,” said Ariella Lehrer, founder and CEO of Legacy Interactive. “We’ve always liked developing games based on licenses of popular TV shows and now movies.” Ten-yearold Legacy Interactive pioneered the art of making mass-market games for the casual player, starting with their Law & Order* game in 2000. “Our core mission is coming out with games that appeal to the largest audience, and we like making games for families,” Lehrer added. “We have always had this focus. We were looking for a children’s title, and when we saw Igor, we just fell in love with it.” Igor, the movie, is the first feature from Exodus Film Group, of Venice, California and Paris, France. Led by a management team that has decades of experience on some of the most successful animated movies of all time, Exodus boldly announced its arrival with Igor.

“Legacy Interactive works with well-known properties and brings them to mass market. This means that their games must work well on Intel® Graphics, in order to give a low price-point option to families looking to refresh or buy a new PC on which to run the game. With that audience, we need to make sure that the game will run on our graphics. A game for such a large audience must run well on notebook and desktop PCs. That’s doubly true for games for kids.” cathy kinzer, strategic relations manager at intel

When Legacy Interactive and their partner, Interactive Game Group, acquired the rights to develop a game based on Igor, they knew just what they wanted: • A family game that would appeal to the largest possible audience. • A game for all types of PC gamers that would run well on a notebook or desktop. • A visually impressive game that would not only run smoothly on older PCs, but also take advantage of the resources available on today’s more powerful machines. • A release date that coincided with the opening of the movie.

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and the game, and also creating the movie’s distinctive characters: Igor, Eva, Scamper, and Brain. But the game needed more than just great graphics and gameplay; to keep the full magic of the movie, the unique sound also had to be replicated. Enter SomaTone Interactive Audio.

From Many Parts a Team Emerges Legacy Interactive knew that developing Igor, the game, was an ambitious project, requiring a top-notch team from around the world: financiers, animators, game developers, moviemakers, sound-effects designers, voiceover artists, writers, translators, and distributors. Legacy’s plan called for the game to be released for several different platforms in five different languages, both as physical products in retail outlets and as files for download from the Web—and at the same time as the movie opened in theaters! Realizing that Igor, the game, was going to be an expensive undertaking, Legacy Interactive sought out Interactive Game Group to help finance and manage the project. With financing in place and rights secured, Legacy Interactive had to get to work designing and building the actual game. After a quick analysis by Craig Bannon, vice president of product development for Legacy Interactive, showed that it would take too long to ramp up their in-house team, the company hired Santa Cruz Games to design and implement the game. Santa Cruz Games had already proven themselves with Madagascar, and had the ability to capture and adapt a film’s distinctive visual feel, which was of critical concern to everyone involved with Igor. And, of course Exodus Film Group was actively involved, as their movie, Igor, was still in development and on-going changes were expected. Exodus brought with them Sparx Animation Studios (of Paris, France), which was creating the distinctive look of Malaria, the fictional setting of both the movie

Intel VISUAL adrenaline ISSUE 2, 2009

Because everyone was committed to developing a game that would be a visual, aural, and thematic match for the movie, tight collaboration between all team members was paramount. Orchestrating the careful and frantically paced collaboration among the various team members was Don Marshall, Legacy Interactive’s producer for Igor, the game. It was Don’s job to be the Igor on the project, pulling together all the parts, connecting them to each other, and flipping the switch to bring it to life for game players around the world.

Bringing Igor to Life Jason Lars, the Igor program manager for Santa Cruz Games, explains how the game development worked: “We came up with the basic idea of the game, and Legacy hired professional writers to write the scripts. There was a lot of feedback from Legacy at every step of the way—great feedback! And Exodus even invited us down to their office for screenings. Some of the elements we came


igor : the making of a monster hit

up with were not a match for the universe that Igor occupies, so we got rid of them in order to stay true to the spirit of Igor. It was very much a feedback process.”

team. The movie actors didn’t participate in the voice recordings, and the licensor had to approve the soundalikes. If you’re trying to sound like John Cusak or Molly Shannon or Jay Leno, you have to hit it just right.”

A similar close connection was established with Sparx Animation Studios in Paris. A pipeline was set up from Sparx Animation directly to the programmers working on the game. As models were completed in Paris, they were sent to Santa Cruz Games for examination and implementation.

The PC Challenge Legacy Interactive wanted Igor to be experienced and enjoyed by the largest possible audience of PC gamers. This meant that Igor had to run well on PCs purchased up to five years ago, as well as take advantage of the greater performance and features of today’s PCs. Unfortunately, what can be accomplished today in a movie isn’t doable on a five-year-old PC, which was one of the target platforms for the game. Igor needed to

Having artwork and digital models from the movie was a great start, but it wasn’t simply a matter of cutting and pasting. Movie people have pretty much unlimited

“This project is exactly why I created I2G: to bring talented people together and facilitate the creation and distribution of interactive entertainment.” Frederic Chesnais, president of Interactive Game Group

resources in terms of geometry, filters, texture maps, and other special tricks that just aren’t feasible—performancewise—for PC games today. So, although Sparx Animation sent files in Autodesk Maya* format, the developers at Santa Cruz Games had to figure out what kind of geometry runs on today’s PCs, and what kind of texture sizes, special effects, and maps they could use. They also had to decide what to cut out, as well as what to keep or adapt. What was true of the visual aspects of the game was equally true for the music, sound effects, and voice-overs. Adding the sound was a complex bit of work, as Lars explains, “SomaTone did our sound design, sound effects, and the multi-track music used in all levels, with an on-site person as part of our

Intel VISUAL adrenaline ISSUE 2, 2009

have the best possible game results on a range of Intel® architectures, from legacy PCs with older chip-sets to today’s PCs with multi-core processors from Intel. Jason Lars states, “Our whole internal pipeline is based on the PC. Everything is designed first and foremost for the PC. For Igor our target baseline play system was a five-year-old PC, and our low-end spec PC was the slowest Intel® Pentium™ 4 processor. The game is a playable 3D game even on a laptop with the Intel® 950 graphics chipset. I found that pretty extraordinary.”


Murali Madhanagopal, graphics architect in Intel’s Graphic Developer Relations group, put the game through its paces to validate the performance of Igor on platforms with Intel Graphics. “I played the game hard, deep into the first level, on our Intel Graphics chipsets.” “Igor ran great on older Intel Graphics,” said Madhanagopal. “If the game had not played well during this test, I’d have done further analysis using our internal graphics performance analysis tools to see how the game was using the CPU or Intel® Graphics Media Accelerator (GMA)—that is, to see if the game was hardware constrained. But Igor played great right out of the gate. No tuning was required.” Multi-threading is brought to bear on managing Igor’s soundtrack. Because of the complexity of the sound effects for the game, Santa Cruz Games dedicated an entire thread of the game for audio processing. Lars explains: “Sound processing became a bottleneck. Igor (the

character) is an inventor, but he’s a messy one. His laboratory is filled with mechanical things that collide into each other. In any scene there might be dozens if not hundreds of pieces, and each one is associated with a sound. So you would have to create dozens of sounds simultaneously as the pieces fly around. Putting it on a separate thread allowed us to get more complexity into the game sound for those PCs that support it.” Though Igor plays well on lowend, five-year-old machines, the game is also able to take advantage of the resources of today’s more powerful machines. When played on PCs with higher resolution and with anti-aliasing, the game looks crisper. Mike Mayers, a programmer at Santa Cruz Games, explains, “We used much higher texture sizes than you can see on a low-end PC. Look at the hump on Igor’s back. On low-end machines, it’s just a hump; on higher machines you can see contours and textures, providing the best PC gaming experience supported by the gamer’s PC.”

The result? Regardless of whether your family is playing Igor on an older PC or a new one, the experience is as delightful as are Igor, Eva, Scamper, and Brain themselves!

Flipping the Switch As game development entered the closing stages, Interactive Game Group set up publishing agreements for North America (with SouthPeak Interactive) and Europe (with Koch Media). Because of the number of game-play platforms, supported languages, distribution methods, and distribution locations, the permutations and combinations of the final game were extensive. When the switch was finally flipped, on September 18, 2008, Igor, the game, came to life on store shelves and download sites worldwide—one day before the movie was released in theaters nationwide! •

About the Author John Sundman has been writing about hardware and software since 1980. His novels Acts of the Apostles (about nanomachines, neurobiology and a Silicon Valley messiah), and Cheap Complex Devices (about the Hofstadter Prize for Machine-Written Fiction) are available from his site

Intel VISUAL adrenaline ISSUE 2, 2009


The $1 Million Intel Make Something Unreal Contest—the ultimate modification competition brought to you by Intel and Epic Games. Phase I of the competition is complete. Thanks to everyone who submitted entries! Check out the winners, play the winning mods, and submit your entry for the next phase of the Make Something Unreal Contest at:

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contest Epic, Epic Games, the Epic Games logo, Unreal, Unreal technology, the Unreal Technology logo, Unreal Tournament, and the Unreal Tournament logo are trademarks or registered trademarks of Epic Games in the United States and elsewhere. Intel does not make any representations or warranties whatsoever regarding quality, reliability, functionality, or compatibility of third-party vendors and their devices. All products, dates, and plans are based on current expectations and subject to change without notice. *Other names and brands may be claimed as the property of others.

Light It Up! * Quake Wars Gets Ray Traced

BY daniel pohl

A scene unfolds in the computer room of a major university. Those watching sense electricity in the air, the kind of tension that builds before a thunderstorm, as a cluster of 20 networked PCs, each equipped with spanking new dual-socket technology and dual processors, warm to the task assigned to them: distributed ray tracing of the game Quake* 3 ( Though the modest display resolution (512x512) and a frame rate of 20 frames per second (fps) aren’t overwhelming by the standards of the day, this doesn’t diminish the accomplishment in the least. Special effects never before seen flimmer across the display screen. The viewers watch with rapt attention and a feeling of satisfaction as the intricately rendered images move about the screen. Amazingly, this happened in 2004, a time when most people rejected the concept of real-time ray tracing.

images to show the process in action. By the time you finish this article, you’ll have a better idea of the ways in which ray tracing can quickly and easily render light and shadow.

STARTING FROM SCRATCH For this project, we started rewriting the renderer from ground zero. Because of this, the very first images from the renderer were not of typical raytracing caliber, but displayed only the basic parts of the geometry, without any shaders or textures (Figure 1).

Figure 1. Quake Wars*: Ray traced without textures.

BACK TO THE FUTURE (2008, THAT IS) A new research project from the ray-tracing team at Intel advances beyond the 2004 achievements, this time converting the game Enemy Territory: Quake Wars*, which was created by id Software and Splash Damage, to use ray tracing. Read on to learn about the development process that followed, the challenges we had to overcome, and the benefits we ultimately achieved—all of which provide valuable insights into the future of ray tracing. To pump up your visual adrenaline level, we’ve also included numerous

Intel VISUAL adrenaline ISSUE 2, 2009


light it up ! quake wars gets ray traced

Figure 2. Quake Wars*: Ray traced with textures (unlit).

stored in resolution-limited textures in between. These approximations fail in certain cases. Let’s look closer at shadows. With ray tracing, you only need to check if the path from the light to the surface is blocked or not. This can be easily determined with just a ray (the so-called “shadow ray”). If the ray from the light source can reach the surface, the point on the surface is lit. Otherwise, it is in shadow. The gameplay in Quake Wars: Ray Traced takes place primarily outdoors, where the most important light source is sunlight. We were able to apply this form of lighting to the scenes quite easily, and the appearance of the shadows is what one would expect. TRANSPARENCIES

Instead of employing real 3D geometry, game developers sometimes approximate 3D properties with a 2D quad surface (or two triangles, as shown in Figure 4) and a texture on which transparency values have been applied. Figure 3. Quake Wars*: Ray traced with textures (lit).

Typically, games load their geometry from a variety of different model formats—either created over the in-game map editor or through external modeling tools. Once it is verified that there are no missing objects, the loading of textures can begin. Modern games have their own material description language that allows designers to easily modify texture parameters, blend textures, use bump and specular maps, and write small shader programs. For example, compare the untextured image in Figure 1 with the unlit (Figure 2) and lit (Figure 3) textured images of the same scene.

Today’s games all use a rendering technique called rasterization. Rasterization requires difficult programming work and as many special effects (such as shadows or reflections) need to be calculated as approximations over multiple rendering passes and are often

Creating correct shadows from partially transparent quads is not an easy task for a rasterizer. The most commonly used algorithms for calculating shadows in rasterization (called “shadow mapping”—see Shadow_mapping) does not deliver additional information that might help in the case of shadows from

Figure 4. Example of a partially transparent leaf texture applied to a two-triangle surface.

Intel VISUAL adrenaline ISSUE 2, 2009


Figure 5. Different shadows from different amounts of transparencies that change over time.

transparencies. For that reason, shadows are sometimes baked into textures, and, because of this, they don’t change when the light position changes (such as when a scene changes from sunrise to sundown). When using ray tracing, however, the algorithmic solution is simple. If the shadow ray hits an object, the program can read the transparency value of the texture and continue tracing that ray, when the texture sample is transparent. This offers interesting special effects, but also creates challenges. The images in Figure 5 show an animated force-field shader effect that casts a different intense shadow depending on the transparency values of the orange force field.

is that they don’t need to be sorted by their depth. This makes it easier for the developer, but there is a downside: increased rendering costs. Whenever a ray hits such a surface, another ray needs to be shot from that point in the same direction. If this happens once, the impact is small. But what happens if you have ten or more of these surfaces in a row? This can happen if a tree, for example, consisting of a mix of partially transparent quads, is rendered [Figure 6(a) and (b)]. Rendering a large number of those trees in the outdoor world quickly became our biggest performance bottleneck. During several optimization cycles, we came up with many improvements. The following improvements had the greatest impact on performance.

Another advantage of using a ray tracer for partially transparent objects

Figure 6(a). Tree model consisting of many partially transparent quads.

Intel VISUAL adrenaline ISSUE 2, 2009

• Avoid shooting a new ray each time after reading the transparency value; instead, we reused the same ray now originating from the hit position and continued in the same direction afterwards. • Signify whether a texture uses transparencies with a single flag. If not, there is no need to shoot additional rays through potential transparencies. The bark inside a tree is an example of an opaque texture mixed in between many partially transparent textures. • Decrease the number of rays that are bundled together. In many cases, bundling rays with almost the same path can lead to substantial speedups. However, if one part of the bundle hits another surface then the other one, it produces some reorganization

Figure 6(b). Same tree model rendered with textures and transparencies.


Figure 7. Performance costs encoded in colors. Blue takes less time than red.

overhead to split those bundles. In the case of rendering the trees, this overhead can become significant, slowing everything down. Even after a great deal of tweaking, rendering the trees is still very time consuming. We visualized the costs of rendering a single pixel in a color scheme where a blue pixel represents a quickly calculated pixel and a red pixel an expensive one (Figure 7). An intense red is also more costly than a light red tone. As can be seen in the figure, rendering the trees is still more expensive than rendering a reflecting water surface or other parts of the scene. More research needs to be done on rendering these trees to discover if further improvements are possible.

original game, we began adding enhancements and more special effects. Ray tracing does a very good job with reflections and refractions. The most common everyday objects in the world that exhibit this behavior are glass and water.

for glass (which you can find in your favorite physics books), we wrote a shader to accurately depict the reflections and refractions. The code is about 15 lines long in our HLSLlike ray-tracing shading language and generates very pleasing results.



A large dome exists in the original game. We changed the surface properties of the dome so that it would appear to be made out of glass (Figure 8). Using the refraction index

Rendering water can be accomplished different ways. We investigated two approaches: water on a 2D surface and water with genuine 3D properties1. Source: Implementation by Jacco Bikker



In our ray-tracing conversion, once we reached the same quality as the

Figure 8. Dome appears to be made out of glass after applying a shader.

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light it up ! quake wars gets ray traced

To render the water in 2D, we used a bump map to simulate waves [Figure 9(a)]. The 3D water image uses a mesh with around 100,000 triangles in several subgrids [Figure 9(b)]. Those subgrids are updated every frame, depending on their visibility. (During rendering, subgrids that are not visible are ignored.) The visibility test is performed over rays.

Figure 9(a). Water with a 2D surface and a bump map.

THE PERFORMANCE ISSUE Performance is the main reason why ray tracing is not yet used in mainstream games. Compared to special-purpose rasterization graphics hardware—such as current-generation GPUs—ray tracing is fairly slow. Also, a lack of texture units for our CPU-based approach to ray tracing causes significant slowdowns when trilinear filtering is used for all texture samples. With Intel’s latest quad-socket systems—equipped with a 2.66 GHz Dunnington processor in each socket—we can achieve approximately 20 to 35 fps at a resolution of 1280x720. Nonetheless, this represents a significant improvement over the experiments in 2004 that required 20 machines to render a simpler game more slowly and at a lower resolution. The greatest performance gains result from research efforts around the world that improve efficiency and the new, many-core hardware platforms that use parallelism to accelerate graphics operations.

Figure 9(b). Water with a real 3D surface.

THE FUTURE OF RAY TRACING As mentioned earlier, creating very realistic shadows in games is not an easy task. Given the current state of our demo work, only hard-edged shadows are produced. Modern games tend toward soft shadows, which usually require many more rays. This important topic deserves more study; smarter approaches to this task need to be developed. Also, to obtain higher quality images, better anti-aliasing methods are needed. Adaptive super-sampling is a smart way of refining the rendering of the scene at those exact places where it will deliver the greatest benefit. There are experimental implementations, but they need to be tested and tuned for the best results. With the industry moving from multi-core to many-core (that is, greater than ten cores), improving the algorithms so they can fully use the newly acquired power will be interesting.

Even though Intel’s upcoming many-core graphics architecture, code named Larrabee, has been primarily developed as a rasterizer card, it will also be freely programmable. This opens up some extremely interesting opportunities to perform ray tracing with the Larrabee architecture. Stay tuned for more information about our upcoming ray-tracing projects! •

About the Author Daniel Pohl started researching real-time ray tracing for games in 2004 during his study of computer science at the Erlangen-Nuernberg University in Germany. As his master’s thesis, he developed a ray-traced version of Quake 4. In 2007, he joined Intel’s ray-tracing group. In 2008, he moved from Germany to sunny California where he continues to research game-related ray tracing. Intel VISUAL adrenaline ISSUE 2, 2009



RESOURCES Intel® Software Intel’s heightened focus on visual computing and graphics processing is complemented by software development products, graphics chipsets, professional services, technical expertise, and developer-oriented resources. Keep up with the activities of Intel’s Visual Computing Software Division through

Explore topics from this issue of Visual Adrenaline further: Alert: Latest Call of Duty* Release Breaks New Ground

Enabling 3-D Moviemaking: Autodesk® Retools Maya®

For an insider’s view of the Treyarch work on Call of Duty*: World at War, go to

For details about advances in digital cinema, visit the Digital Cinema Report* at

To learn more about the history of cooperative gameplay, view this Wikipedia entry:

For more on the history of Autodesk Maya® and its 10th anniversary celebration, go to

For the latest releases from Activision, visit

An Evil Genius Test Drives the Intel® Core™ i7 Processor Extreme Edition For the latest adventures of Team EG, visit To learn more about the Intel® Extreme Masters events, go to To follow the Electronic Sports League WC3L series, visit

Damien Thaller: Passion and Talent Bring Stories to Life To view more of Thaller’s portfolio, posted in the CG Society gallery, go to For information about Evolve Pictures, visit To learn more about Animal Logic, go to

DreamWorks Animation and Intel: Forging an Alliance to Advance S3D Entertainment For a look behind the scenes of modern day animation, go to and click the Studio button. For more background on InTru™ 3D and the history of animation, go to

For lists of 3D motion picture theaters in different parts of the country, go to

IGOR: The Making of a Monster Hit For a spirited introduction to the characters that populate the world of Igor (the game), visit For a trailer and the inside scope on Igor (the movie), visit To tap into the energy at Santa Cruz Games, visit Check out the Sparx Animation Studios activities at

Light It Up! Quake Wars* Gets Ray Traced For more details about the original ray tracing of Quake* 3, visit To learn about recent ray-tracing developments, go to (Quake 4: Ray Traced) and (Quake Wars: Ray Traced). For the latest Intel news and development on the ray-tracing front, visit the Visual Computing Developer Center:

• Subscribe to the Intel® Software Insight magazine: • Sign up for the Intel® Software Partner Program, available to software companies: • Tap into multi-core resources: • Find out more about Intel® Software Network: • Explore Intel® Software Development Products: • Build your knowledge base with books from Intel® Press: • Find online and classroom training courses from Intel® Software College: • Interact with a lively community of individuals in the Intel® Graphics Developer Community:

Intel VISUAL adrenaline ISSUE 2, 2009

To sign up for an on-going subscription (gratis) of the Intel® Visual Adrenaline magazine, as well as the Intel® Software Dispatch for Visual Adrenaline e-mail program, go to:


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Intel does not make any representations or warranties whatsoever regarding quality, reliability, functionality, or compatibility of third-party vendors and their devices. All products, dates, and plans are based on current expectations and subject to change without notice. Intel, Intel logo, Intel Core, InTru, the Intru logo Pentium, VTune, and Xeon are trademarks or registered trademarks of Intel Corporation or its subsidiaries in the United States and other countries. *Other names and brands may be claimed as the property of others. Copyright Š 2009. Intel Corporation. All rights reserved. 01/09/SM/CS/PDF

Intel Visual Adrenaline e-zine, Dec 2008  

This issue highlights games Call of Duty: World at War, discusses DreamWorks animation and 3D animated film development, discussion with ext...

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