Pixar runs on Power Mac G5s and Mac OS X

“From the beginning, even before Jobs signed on as CEO, Pixar has been at the forefront of technology, said Nick DeMartino, associate director for strategic planning at the American Film Institute. When the company started, its primary claim to fame was a superior rendering engine, called RenderMan, that it licensed to other companies. The company continues to refine RenderMan, and many digital-effects houses and computer-graphics specialists use it,” Elizabeth Millard reports for ECT News Network.

“‘They have deep technical roots,’ DeMartino said. ‘It put them ahead of others in understanding how computer graphics work and can be used effectively,'” Millard reports. “In March, Pixar moved to using Mac OS X and Power Mac G5s for its workflow needs. In a recent speech, Apple senior systems engineer Don Peebles noted that Pixar challenged his company to come up with a way to review HD-quality video on the desktop at a reduced file size, but keeping the same level of quality.”

“The technology that resulted from the challenge was based on wavelet compression and named, fittingly, ‘Pixlet.’ Pixlet lets high-end digital film frames play in real-time with any Panther-driven Mac, without an investment in proprietary playback hardware,” Millard reports.

Full article here.

21 Comments

  1. “In March, Pixar moved to using Mac OS X and Power Mac G5s for its workflow needs.”

    But does not use them for creative work.
    “Workflow needs”…what is this? Secretaries using iMacs to push memos around?

  2. Since RenderMan does run on OS X and G5 Xserve nodes would make perfect components for a render farm, oh and Jobs is CEO of both companies, it’s safe to say Pixar will be rendering movies on G5 Xserves and G6 dual core Xserves in the future.

    It’s a matter of IBM getting the new G5 production line cranking. With The Incredibles nearing release and Cars in production, I’m sure Pixar is itching to transition its renderfarm over to the beefier iron of G5s.

    It’s also hard to imagine that the creative team aren’t moving to G5s if the animation software and modeling apps they use run on OS X. SGI boxes are slipping behind and NT boxes are just sad and wrong.

  3. Geez, Pixlet. Kewl.

    Uh, someone is FINALLY getting around to covering this. Forgive me, but Pixlet has been out now for just about a year….
    <scarcasm/>

  4. “Workflow needs”…what is this? Secretaries using iMacs to push memos around?

    The article says “Pixar moved to using Mac OS X and Power Mac G5s for its workflow needs”. PM G5 != iMac, but maybe your emotional outburst blinded you from noticing that.

  5. “Pixlet lets high-end digital film frames play in real-time with any Panther-driven Mac, without an investment in proprietary playback hardware.”

    Erm, no. When Pixlet was announced, Apple stated a minimum of a 1GHz G4 rather specifically. Panther itself runs on a lot less.

    That said, Pixlet IS very pretty. ” width=”19″ height=”19″ alt=”smile” style=”border:0;” />

  6. Pixar just recently switched to G5’s, there’s several studios using in excess of 500 Dual 2 Ghz G5’s each for their rendering needs.

    Steve Jobs sold a lot more of those early G5’s than just to Virginia Tech, Microsoft bought a truckload as well.

  7. mr jacobs my social studies teacher told me that apple is going to buy genentech so they can produce human brains with a bunch of computer chips and wires attached.

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