Thanks Geronimo for this. In late May, DreamWorks' new animated film "Spirit: Stallion of the Cimarron" will hit theaters and mark a major milestone for the studio, as well as for the Open Source community at large. "Spirit" was created entirely on Linux.
While "Shrek" and other movies including "Lord of the Rings" have used Linux to power server farms, the creators of "Shrek" also used IRIX on SGI workstations. So "Spirit" is DreamWorks' first animated feature using Linux both on the front and back ends.
Pacific Data Images (PDI), the animation co-production arm of DreamWorks SKG, is best known for its cutting-edge animated films "Shrek" and "Antz," and it pioneered computer-assisted animation and 3D rendering using high-powered SGI servers and workstations. But as the hardware began to show signs of age, PDI/DreamWorks looked for a better platform, according to Scott Chapin, with DreamWorks animation technical support.
The company needed a system that was reliable, scalable, and capable of high performance on the desktop -- and system that was cost-effective to maintain and used commodity, Intel-based hardware. This new platform would replace not only the the back-end "render farm" of servers, but also the desktop workstations of the artists. After evaluating a wide range of solutions, including Windows 2000 and Mac OSX (which was still in beta at the time), PDI/DreamWorks settled on Linux on Hewlett-Packard graphics workstations.
"When we evaluated potential systems, Linux presented its own set of problems. It was not quite ready for our desktop environment," Chapin says. But, he continues, "efforts from HP and Red Hat met those needs."