Enabling the Future Today: Pixar and the Cloud

Enabling the Future Today: Pixar and the Cloud

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By Keith Barnett, M&E Industry Marketing Manager


Momentum is building. Today, at PDC 2010 (the Microsoft Professional Developers Conference here in Redmond), we announced growing adoption of Windows Azure, Windows 7, Internet Explorer 9 and Windows Phone 7 by developers who are using the technology to create innovative experiences for the media and entertainment industry.  Windows Azure is our focal push right now around Cloud Computing and received a lot of attention at the event.  Since the commercial availability of Windows Azure was announced earlier this year, we’ve seen strong growth with close to 20,000 applications to date, and we’re predicting the momentum will continue.


 Among the customers to speak at PDC was Pixar Animation Studios who discussed how they are benefiting from Windows Azure and cloud computing on a daily basis. Pixar’s Chris Ford was on stage demonstrating how the company uses its industry-leading rendering software (RenderMan) in the cloud to improve performance and scalability during production of 3D animated movies. By leveraging Windows Azure and Microsoft’s High Performance Computing software, Pixar artists can dynamically allocate computing resources based on job priority, which becomes extremely critical during the final phases of production where there are numerous last-minute changes.


It’s pretty amazing. Pixar's RenderMan has evolved to become the gold standard in the industry for computer-generated imagery (CGI) rendering, used everywhere by studios large and small to create outstanding graphics for feature films and broadcast television. In fact, Pixar's RenderMan has been used on every Visual Effects Academy Award Winner of the past 15 years, and 47 out of the last 50 nominees for Visual Effects have chosen Pixar's RenderMan to produce the highest quality special effects possible.


We see the cloud as a huge enabler for media companies. As entertainment shifts more to digital production and distribution, the need for powerful and scalable computing resources increases exponentially. By moving compute-intensive applications like rendering and transcoding to a platform like Windows Azure, media companies can improve efficiency and substantially reduce IT costs, allowing them to focus more on creativity, innovation and their business. 


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  • i just love where pixar is going with theyr stuff :)


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