IBM invests in On Demand digital studio

IBM has signed a four-year multimillion-dollar deal with digital animation firm Threshold Digital Research Labs of Santa Monica, California, to build a digital studio that will be leased out to special effects firms looking for short-term, on-demand access to IBM's computers.

"We were looking for a more efficient, more flexible, less technology-dependent way to animate feature films," said Threshold Chief Animation and Technical Officer George Johnsen. "The only way to make these kind of movies, up to this point, has been to spend a large truckload of money and set up an infrastructure," he said.

Threshold has 100 employees and has worked on such projects as "I Know What You Did Last Summer," "The Faculty," and the Armageddon attraction at Disneyland Paris.

Under the terms of the deal, which IBM said is the first of its kind, Threshold will work with IBM to develop a standard set of hardware components. Animators will be able to lease or buy Intellistation Z Pro workstations with enhanced graphics cards from either Nvidia Corp. or ATI Technologies Inc., while the image rendering and data management will be done at a new facility that IBM is building at Threshold's office in Santa Monica.

IBM and Threshold are also working together to build a customizable project management software suite on top of WebSphere and DB2, which will track animation work in progress and manage changes in the animation across different machines. "It's essentially a production manager for the animation project," said Johnsen.

Threshold will begin selling the Animation On Demand service in the fourth quarter, but the digital film studio will itself be the first user of the service. The company has begun work on a $50 million animated feature called "Foodfight!" which will be the first film to use the new facility and software.

Construction of the new facility is expected to be completed in a couple of months, said IBM Director of Blade Strategy Tim Dougherty.

"Foodfight!" is expected to be completed in 14 to 18 months, Threshold said.

Join the newsletter!

Or
Error: Please check your email address.
Rocket to Success - Your 10 Tips for Smarter ERP System Selection
Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Robert McMillan

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Essentials

James Cook University - Master of Data Science Online Course

Learn more >

Mobile

Victorinox Werks Professional Executive 17 Laptop Case

Learn more >

Exec

Budget

Back To Business Guide

Click for more ›

Brand Post

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Louise Coady

Brother MFC-L9570CDW Multifunction Printer

The printer was convenient, produced clear and vibrant images and was very easy to use

Edwina Hargreaves

WD My Cloud Home

I would recommend this device for families and small businesses who want one safe place to store all their important digital content and a way to easily share it with friends, family, business partners, or customers.

Walid Mikhael

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

It’s easy to set up, it’s compact and quiet when printing and to top if off, the print quality is excellent. This is hands down the best printer I’ve used for printing labels.

Ben Ramsden

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

Brainstorming, innovation, problem solving, and negotiation have all become much more productive and valuable if people can easily collaborate in real time with minimal friction.

Sarah Ieroianni

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

The print quality also does not disappoint, it’s clear, bold, doesn’t smudge and the text is perfectly sized.

Ratchada Dunn

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The Huddle Board’s built in program; Sharp Touch Viewing software allows us to easily manipulate and edit our documents (jpegs and PDFs) all at the same time on the dashboard.

Featured Content

Product Launch Showcase

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?