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Computer Graphics World: Linux Invades Hollywood

Sep 19, 2001, 14:08 (19 Talkback[s])
(Other stories by Robin Rowe)
"Shrek was the first major motion picture created primarily using Linux. It won't be the last. Linux is rapidly becoming the professional animator's operating system (OS) of choice, not just at DreamWorks SKG, which produced Shrek, but at top production studios in Hollywood, the Bay Area, and London. An OS that started 10 years ago as a Finnish college student's personal hobby-not even a university research project-is invading film industry servers, renderfarms, and workstations.

Film animators are now using Linux versions of Alias|Wavefront's Maya, No thing Real's Shake, Side Effects' Houdini, and Pixar's RenderMan-the leading commercial applications for animation, compositing, special effects, and rendering. Internally, the studios have ported millions of lines of proprietary code to Linux and are writing more. How did Linux go from a hobby to a professional graphics environment?

...Another Windows pitfall was support. While SGI listened closely to the film industry, market-driven Microsoft did not. The studios realized they must learn to help themselves. To involve themselves in OS development, necessary for their specialized high performance graphics needs, requires access to the source code and more important, a community of others working to do the same. And, it would be a lot easier to port to a more similar, Unix-based OS. Open source Linux was the obvious choice."

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