Sunday, 18 January 2015


Whilst working on the first How To Train Your Dragon animated film, the animators used a software called 'Emo' which had been used since the 1980's. This software allowed the animators to manipulate the 3D models by using a spreadsheet which would manipulate parts of the character. However there were many disadvantages to the software, for example, when you wanted to edit a characters animation you would have to hide the other characters that were in the scene to begin working on the character, the render time could be anything from 20 minutes to 2 days and at times it would be guess work with the spreadsheet numbers, as the number may not match up with the manipulation of the cg character. This in effect created a demand for a new software, one that would allow the artists to manipulate the character by moving the limbs directly with in the scene alongside the characters that would also be situated in the frame. 

Software used for the first How To Train Your Dragon film, 'Emo' 
This software platform was created and named Apollo, with an animation software called Premo. The creation of this software took five years to make, due to the extensive research and attention to detail with what the animators wanted from this software. This helped the artists reduce an exponential amount of time and focus on create a battle scene with an army of both humans and dragons, which would have been impossible to envision with with previous software.

"The result, with Premo, was a tool that cut down on eye movement, arm strain, eye strain, and time. It used to take weeks to train artists. Now the artists can learn how to use Premo in a couple of hours." -

The Premo software allows you to pose using tablets, gain a high resolution image instantly, and allows you to edit frame by frame, manipulating the character in realtime. To create the Premo software, Dreamworks team collaborated with Intel, to create a cloud system that would help the render process time run faster than the previous software, and to store more data that the scenes would create. With the creation of this new software, the limits are near invisible with the advantage to improve and update the software as the advancement of technology continues.

The 'Torch' renderer, is a lighting package, that allows the animator to create in depth lighting that thinks outside the cartoon lighting, absorbing light that seems more natural and would not have been possible with the predated software. Including these elements it has room for complex imagery and aids the process in creating the overall look of the animation.

The apollo software used for the second film

The Stats for the final movie rendered outcome. 

references used, venturebeat, indiewire

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