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More on Pixar's OS X Migration

MacRumors

macrumors bot
Original poster
Apr 12, 2001
51,578
13,194
Several readers note this story about Pixar's migration from Linux to Mac OS X for its production work in 2003.

With this impressive technology [Pixlet], the new G5 systems and OS X's Unix underpinning, all the pieces were in place

This has been previously reported... with first rumors in July 2003, and subsequent details provided in this article in October 2003.
 

swissmann

macrumors 6502a
Sep 17, 2003
784
38
The Utah Alps
Funny how Pixar hasn't been with apple hardware. I guess they knew like everyone else that the G4 wasn't really that competitive.
 
Comment

Opteron

macrumors 6502
Feb 10, 2004
434
0
South Australia
I just goes to show that Linux and windows are still the main two operating systems used when it comes to digital media creatation, when Pixar is making such a fuss about moving from Sun/Linux-G5/OSX.
 
Comment

midiman

macrumors newbie
Jan 25, 2002
24
2
Opteron said:
I just goes to show that Linux and windows are still the main two operating systems used when it comes to digital media creatation, when Pixar is making such a fuss about moving from Sun/Linux-G5/OSX.

Actually, I think it goes to show that Steve Jobs is the ceo of pixar, that they are making such a fuss about the switch. You'd better define your terms "digital media creation", as I know(since it is my profession) the large percentage of digital audio creation is done with macs, not to mention FCP being an integral part of many digital video suite(and now the defacto choice for portable editing suite - fcp/powerbook). Linux farms definately are the predominant rendering choice, but even those are often fed data from mac creation stations.
 
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rt_brained

macrumors 6502a
Jan 13, 2002
551
0
Creativille
Wonder Boy said:
good news, though i dont see how it effects me.
The next time you see a Pixar film, when the hero saves the princess from certain doom and the tiny hamster village can finally come out from hiding and erupts with joy and welcomes the hero as they would their own and you feel that solitary tear of joy slowly running down your cheek...

...that, my friend, is when you will reflect on this story and thank god that Pixar switched to switched to the G5.
 
Comment

jrv3034

macrumors 6502a
Oct 23, 2002
802
0
rt_brained said:
...and the tiny hamster village can finally come out from hiding...

That's just a weird statement right there. ;)

This is great news. It's more exposure for Apple in Hollywood, and we can now say the best CG animation is being made on OSX. Talk about bragging rights!
 
Comment

MongoTheGeek

macrumors 68040
Reading the original story I don't think it has anything to do with Pixlet and what was talked about in July. At WWDC they demo'ed Pixlet and their other conversion tools going from 9 to 10. It was one of the enterprise sessions. can't remember the number and don't have the disks here. Anyway the desktops were pretty much always mac's. The wintel/lintel machines were for the render farm. Which was 6 months or so old at the time. It could be that this talk about switching from linux to Mac OS X and G5's could have to do with upgrading the render farm. This could easily be where the hell the G5 Xserves are.
 
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Chobit

macrumors member
Jan 4, 2003
97
0
NY
swissmann said:
Funny how Pixar hasn't been with apple hardware. I guess they knew like everyone else that the G4 wasn't really that competitive.
Its true pixar hasn't been using macs for production, but all the administrative stuff at pixar is done on macs. A bit odd that they would use macs for business and not for the art end of things, but 3D rendering has been pretty slow on macs before the G5s.
 
Comment

JGowan

macrumors 68000
Jan 29, 2003
1,765
22
Mineola TX
Funny? Funny How? What's so funny about me!?

swissmann said:
Funny how Pixar hasn't been with apple hardware. I guess they knew like everyone else that the G4 wasn't really that competitive.
Funny how you compare a consumer computer with dedicated (and very expensive) hardware/software of SUN workstations and Silicon Graphics workstations. As far as being competitive, the Mac has always been competitive with its PC counterpart. Now, that Pixar is going to the G5, it's showing that they're now coming into their own along the likes of SG and SUN... I think that's damn fine.

A little bit about Pixar and the computers they used...


Thanksgiving day's release of the film "A Bug's Life" wouldn't have been possible without the 100 Sun Microsystems Inc Enterprise 4000 servers which brought the tiny animated creatures to life. So says Greg Brandeau, director of IS for Pixar Animation Studios, which spent the last four years creating the film from its headquarters in Point Richmond, California. The servers, each of which contained 14 high-speed UltraSPARC II processors, were used to form a "rendering farm," Brandeau said; a non-stop computer processing room where the graphic images created on Silicon Graphics Inc servers are converted into real- life motion pictures. In total, the servers processed 138,000 frames for the film, at the rate of 400 billion calculations per second. Once created, the images, a total of 4.5 terabytes of data, were stored on Sun StorEdge A3500 and A1000 arrays. "That's equivalent of having 1 inch floppy drives piled 8.6 miles high," Brandeau said. He added that the company chose to go with Sun over both Unix and Win dows NT systems because of the level of scalability and reliability it offered. The price performance ratio was also best for the Sun servers, he said. "The servers achieved unbelievably excellent uptime," he said, "some things are always going to break down. On average we lost about one processor in one server per week. But that was minor in the grand scheme of things and didn't affect the running of the farm as a whole." Brandeau said Pixar's animators and technical staff used SGI servers on the desktop to create the actual images, design them and add the necessary color, digitally. Both SGI and Sun systems were also behind the company's last big hit, Toy Story.

http://www.findarticles.com/cf_dls/m0CGN/1998_Nov_27/53282301/p1/article.jhtml
 
Comment

MacsRgr8

macrumors 604
Sep 8, 2002
7,876
1,190
The Netherlands
rt_brained said:
The next time you see a Pixar film, when the hero saves the princess from certain doom and the tiny hamster village can finally come out from hiding and erupts with joy and welcomes the hero as they would their own and you feel that solitary tear of joy slowly running down your cheek...

...that, my friend, is when you will reflect on this story and thank god that Pixar switched to switched to the G5.

How nice.... <snif>
 
Comment

nuckinfutz

macrumors 603
Jul 3, 2002
5,502
314
Middle Earth
Opteron said:
I just goes to show that Linux and windows are still the main two operating systems used when it comes to digital media creatation, when Pixar is making such a fuss about moving from Sun/Linux-G5/OSX.

Ummmmm no. Linux is used in Render Farm situations but SGI and Mac boxen is still the front end. Windows is diminishing in content creation they never did get the large 3D vendors to buy into DirectX.

The market is still wide open.
 
Comment

ginoledesma

macrumors member
Jan 11, 2002
33
0
Philippines
Most likely since XServe G5s are excellent value for their money, it wouldn't surprise me that Pixar would consider them (ok, ok, Jobs is a big factor there). These days, even Sun has had to admit x86 into their hardware line-up, delegating the SPARC series to their high-end offerings. The G5s are excellent competition to both. :D

It would be interesting to see just how scaleable and robust Mac OS X + Xserves can be. Big Mac at Virginia Tech's TeraScale computing facility was nice and all, but I'd like to see a real-world, non-academic/scientific-type of work done on a huge farm of Mac-based systems.
 
Comment

HiRez

macrumors 603
Jan 6, 2004
5,987
1,992
Western US
Pixlet...not so impressed!

Has anyone else downloaded the space shuttle HD Pixlet footage (1/2 res) from the Apple site? The compression artifacts are very apparent, I'm not all that impressed with it. Jobs was raving about how perfect the image quality is, but not from what I saw. Unless for some reason it was precompressed using some other codec but that would kind of defeat the purpose wouldn't it? So what's the deal with the Pixlet codec? Does it work as advertised?
 
Comment

inkswamp

macrumors 68030
Jan 26, 2003
2,769
856
ginoledesma said:
Most likely since XServe G5s are excellent value for their money, it wouldn't surprise me that Pixar would consider them (ok, ok, Jobs is a big factor there).

I don't think Jobs is that big a factor at all, nor do I think the cost of the machines is either.

I see so many people (not just here but on Slashdot and elsewhere) making an issue of the fact that Jobs is CEO of Pixar and Apple and so... well, that's why the decision was made, of course, of course.

But let's remember--Pixar is in the business of making the best movies they can and they are not exactly some little out-of-the-way animation house. They're Pixar. They can (and do) work on the best available, cost notwithstanding. Jobs may have weighed in with his opinion but he's not going to singlehandedly issue a decree that Macs are the way to go unless he's looking to upset shareholders and other executives as well as the talent... and if he's looking to screw up Pixar's unblemished record of creating amazing feature films.

I think the cost of the machines and Jobs' presence at both companies may have been factors, but they were (I bet) very low on the list of factors influencing this decision. This wouldn't have happened unless the G5s were not only up to the task, but the best equipment for the job.
 
Comment

agreenster

macrumors 68000
Dec 6, 2001
1,892
2
Walt Disney Animation Studios
JGowan said:
Funny how you compare a consumer computer with dedicated (and very expensive) hardware/software of SUN workstations and Silicon Graphics workstations. As far as being competitive, the Mac has always been competitive with its PC counterpart. Now, that Pixar is going to the G5, it's showing that they're now coming into their own along the likes of SG and SUN... I think that's damn fine.

A little bit about Pixar and the computers they used...


Thanksgiving day's release of the film "A Bug's Life" wouldn't have been possible without the 100 Sun Microsystems Inc Enterprise 4000 servers which brought the tiny animated creatures to life. So says Greg Brandeau, director of IS for Pixar Animation Studios, which spent the last four years creating the film from its headquarters in Point Richmond, California. The servers, each of which contained 14 high-speed UltraSPARC II processors, were used to form a "rendering farm," Brandeau said; a non-stop computer processing room where the graphic images created on Silicon Graphics Inc servers are converted into real- life motion pictures. In total, the servers processed 138,000 frames for the film, at the rate of 400 billion calculations per second. Once created, the images, a total of 4.5 terabytes of data, were stored on Sun StorEdge A3500 and A1000 arrays. "That's equivalent of having 1 inch floppy drives piled 8.6 miles high," Brandeau said. He added that the company chose to go with Sun over both Unix and Win dows NT systems because of the level of scalability and reliability it offered. The price performance ratio was also best for the Sun servers, he said. "The servers achieved unbelievably excellent uptime," he said, "some things are always going to break down. On average we lost about one processor in one server per week. But that was minor in the grand scheme of things and didn't affect the running of the farm as a whole." Brandeau said Pixar's animators and technical staff used SGI servers on the desktop to create the actual images, design them and add the necessary color, digitally. Both SGI and Sun systems were also behind the company's last big hit, Toy Story.

http://www.findarticles.com/cf_dls/m0CGN/1998_Nov_27/53282301/p1/article.jhtml

Dude. This article is OOOOOLD. Pixar hasnt used Sparc processors for their farm in years. They replaced those with intel chipped' boxes long ago.

I think by and large the animators and artists still use SGI/Irix, but they are considered old by most standards. Most studios have moved on. PDI/Dreamworks uses HP/Linux and many many studios do the same. However, Apple and OSX are beginning to become major players, and not just at Pixar. I must say though it is nice to hear that G5's are taking over the Emeryville shop. Makes me want to go there even worse...
 
Comment

AndrewE

macrumors newbie
Mar 11, 2004
2
0
I am interested if there will be more developement of Maya (on the mac) before this. I understand that Pixar mainly use Maya and Renderman. The 'unlimited' version of Maya has been available on all the operating systems, EXCEPT for the MacOS 10.

or,

will we see an Apple program for 3D modeling and rendering, just like they have done for other profressional applications; Final cut, shake and Logic.
 
Comment

JDOG_

macrumors 6502a
Nov 19, 2003
786
0
Oakland
Wow, hope theirs don't crash as much as my G4 iBook does or else we'll never have a Finding Nemo 2.
 
Comment

wdlove

macrumors P6
Oct 20, 2002
16,568
0
It can only be good news when Apple can gain ground into an industry. This could really open up a market for sales of the G5 and OS X in Hollywood.
 
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