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Linux Journal: Linux and Star Trek

Dec 07, 2002, 11:30 (9 Talkback[s])
(Other stories by Robin Rowe)

[Editor's Note: This may be my personal all-time favorite LT headline... -BKP]

"Linux got its first big Hollywood break in 1997 when Venice, California studio Digital Domain (D2) used Linux to render the special effects for the hit movie Titanic. We spoke with D2 while they were in production using Linux with Star Trek Nemesis, which has a scheduled release date of December 13, 2002. D2 uses Linux for both renderfarm servers and artist desktops.

"D2 has used Linux for 21 motion pictures, including best visual effects Academy Award winners Titanic and What Dreams May Come. D2 has won two Scientific and Technical Achievement Academy Awards: one for Track motion tracking software and the other for the compositing software NUKE.

"Like most studios, D2 was primarily using SGI hardware running SGI's IRIX variant of UNIX, both on renderfarm servers and artist workstations. Experiments at D2 with Dante's Peak in 1996 proved that a move to Linux was feasible. 'The Linux renderfarm came first,' notes D2 Digital Production and Technology Creative Director Judith Crow. 'With Titanic we were working with a company called Areté using Renderworld, their ocean-simulation software. It ran three times faster on our Linux Alphas than on our IRIX SGI machines.' While the renderfarm paved the way, applications such as NUKE and Houdini pushed Linux to the desktop..."

Complete Story

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