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

Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.
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

Cool Tech

Toys for Boys

Family Friendly

Stocking Stuffer

SmartLens - Clip on Phone Camera Lens Set of 3

Learn more >

Christmas Gift Guide

Click for more ›

Brand Post

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Aysha Strobbe

Microsoft Office 365/HP Spectre x360

Microsoft Office continues to make a student’s life that little bit easier by offering reliable, easy to use, time-saving functionality, while continuing to develop new features that further enhance what is already a formidable collection of applications

Michael Hargreaves

Microsoft Office 365/Dell XPS 15 2-in-1

I’d recommend a Dell XPS 15 2-in-1 and the new Windows 10 to anyone who needs to get serious work done (before you kick back on your couch with your favourite Netflix show.)

Maryellen Rose George

Brother PT-P750W

It’s useful for office tasks as well as pragmatic labelling of equipment and storage – just don’t get too excited and label everything in sight!

Cathy Giles

Brother MFC-L8900CDW

The Brother MFC-L8900CDW is an absolute stand out. I struggle to fault it.

Luke Hill

MSI GT75 TITAN

I need power and lots of it. As a Front End Web developer anything less just won’t cut it which is why the MSI GT75 is an outstanding laptop for me. It’s a sleek and futuristic looking, high quality, beast that has a touch of sci-fi flare about it.

Emily Tyson

MSI GE63 Raider

If you’re looking to invest in your next work horse laptop for work or home use, you can’t go wrong with the MSI GE63.

Featured Content

Product Launch Showcase

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?