[lug] Another win for Linux

Kelly Brock krbrock at pacbell.net
Mon Nov 5 23:35:48 MST 2001

Hi All,

	Err, small mistake corrections...

> > I've slowly converted about a quarter of my company to Linux on the
> > dekstop. I've managed to integrate them into a windows
> environment. The
> > Star Office 6.0 suite is great and really makes things
> easy. I've heard
> > that the final release of 6.0 will have M$ Outlook support.
> > What I'm leading up to here is that Red Hat has some great migration
> > papers available upon request.
> >
> > PS - Did anybody see the thing about how ILM is wanting to
> switch to Linux
> > Render farms??
> I think they did that quite a while back. In fact, one of the people I
> sent email to about the attempted ban of open source software was ILM
> and George Lucas. He indirectly owns the company that makes Maya, the
> very top end animation software, that costs $8000 a shot. Imagine
> telling all your clients they have to throw the software in the trash,
> and tell ILM they'll have to install a completely new set of
> software to
> be legal in producing the next Star Wars film :>

	ILM is related to Pixar, not Maya.  Pixar writes the rendering system
(PrMan, an implementation of Renderman) that ILM uses.  Maya is
Alias/Wavefront which is a separate company that ILM has used for a long
time but I don't know that ILM has any large hold on it directly other than
being one of the largest know *users*.  Anyway, a little history lesson,
Pixar broke off of ILM/LucasFilms sometime before The Abyss came out.  I
don't remember how long before, but it was a semi-notable amount of time.
The Abyss was the movie which moved computer generated imagery out of the
'neat trick' phase into the real world we can do it for less or we can do
the impossible and make it look real phase.  Anyway, the ILM-Pixar
relationship is one that Pixar was contracted, as part of the split, to
supply ILM with rendering technology for some amount of time.  I again, do
not know the amount of time involved, other than the fact that while Pixar
works with Disney most of the time now, it also upgrades PrMan for ILM
constantly still.  Perhaps ILM pays them lots of money now, but originally
it was a deal where ILM would get all upgrades basically for free.

	There is a little hierarchy of 3D software at the high end.  You have
SoftImage as kinda the "has been" which is fighting to reposition itself as
the animation king which it lost recently.  You have Alias/Wavefront which
came out with Maya which took over the position of animation king recently.
And you have Pixar in the middle of the largest users by providing a
rendering engine for various tasks, not to mention their own such as Toy
Story I/II and Bugs Life done in conjunction with Disney and *not* ILM.

	Then after all that, you have the up and coming.  Shrek was rendered with a
Renderman based system written from scratch as I understand it.  Or the
older items such as the fact that Titanic was rendered using Lightwave, Lost
in Space was done with 3DS Max, etc etc.  Of all of them of course, Shrek
and Titanic are the most notable.  One done with custom software and the
other done with a $2500 off the shelf system, plus several months of custom
plugin software of course.  Or, let's see.  More movies and
rendering/animation software involved:

Fight Club:  Final building explosions rendered with Mental Ray.  Mental Ray
is the renderer from SoftImage though it split into a separate company and
is now owned by Discreet who makes 3DS Max.

The Fifth Element:  Modelled in SoftImage, rendered with MentalRay.

Star Trek episodes:  A mix.  Many in SoftImage, many in Lightwave.

Babylon 5:  All in Lightwave.

	I could keep naming various shows, movies and related systems but it
becomes pointless very quick.  The only important item is that Maya has
managed to displace SoftImage for the moment.  Otherwise the various parties
involved in all your best films and shows generally are from a fairly small
group that are not generally related other than using each other's software
or writing software custom based on similiar systems..  I'm fairly certain
that Lucas probably has a large stake in Pixar still but he doesn't control
what they do.

	Anyway, sorry for all the details, and while I may get a couple of the
items wrong the original relationship mentioned is incorrectly stated, I


	Kelly Brock
	The Sims Online
	Maxis - Electronic Arts

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