At Siggraph today, AMD (NYSE: AMD) announced that AMD Opteron™ processor-based servers and workstations are providing the digital backbone for the final Star Wars prequel, Episode III: “Revenge of the Sith.” The AMD64 digital processing pipeline at JAK Films, the production company for Star Wars: Episode III, includes pre-visualization and pre-postproduction, which involves 3-D match moving, 3-D modeling, lighting, shading, texturing, compositing and rendering techniques. The AMD64 processor-based workstation systems are running Microsoft® Windows® XP Pro, Alias’ Maya and Adobe® After Effects software. AMD64 processor-based file server systems are running on clustered Microsoft Windows Storage Server 2003 software.
The full adoption of 64-bit capable AMD Opteron processor-based systems at JAK Films is the result of a long-standing relationship between AMD and the pioneering Pre-Visualization department at JAK Films. The relationship began during the making of Star Wars: Episode II and provided AMD with direct feedback from the world’s foremost digital content creators. JAK Films is now using AMD64 technology to reinvent the digital filmmaking process.
“The unique relationship AMD has developed with JAK Films and the Star Wars enterprise is removing technological limitations for premier artists like George Lucas,” said Marty Seyer, vice president and general manager of AMD’s Microprocessor Business Unit, Computations Products Group. “AMD64 helps keep the artist unencumbered by worries about the technology’s ability to match his artistic inspiration. Now, anyone editing a home movie on the PC can access the same AMD64 technology used to reinvent digital filmmaking on the latest Star Wars feature.”
AMD64 processor-based workstations and servers are helping to shave time and money off the multiyear and multimillion-dollar Star Wars: Episode III project. More importantly, AMD64 is helping to inspire a renaissance in both movies and music by removing technological limitations, enabling the creative mind to remain open to experimentation, new ideas and possibilities towards expanding digital art forms.
“Thanks to our relationship with AMD, George can now direct real-time 3-D assets productively and efficiently. AMD64 technology provides him with an uninterrupted creative flow in everything from designing galaxies and futuristic cities to choreographing action sequences that take place at hyper-speed,” said Dan Gregoire, AMD64 Masters Group member and pre-visualization effects supervisor at JAK Films. “The unprecedented power and reliability of the AMD Opteron processor-based systems are substantially dropping our render times and enabling the team to complete sequences during sessions with George in a matter of hours that used to go back and forth for weeks. The net result is an entirely new and more efficient way of moviemaking.
Digital pre-visualization began as a computerized improvement to traditional story-boarding techniques. “Pre-visualization helps George filter his ideas and make informed creative decisions about a film that is essentially all-digital or on blue screen,” said Rick McCallum, producer of the Star Wars trilogy. “What the pre-viz team does on AMD Opteron processor-based systems affects everyone in the production. It gives a visual representation of the film to the director, the actors, the crew and ILM way before final decisions are made. The difference AMD has made to the production of the film has been immeasurable for both George and myself.”