Press Release: March 27, 2009

HP Technology Powers DreamWorks Animation’s Breakthrough 3-D Film, “Monsters vs. Aliens”

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Today the power of HPtechnology and the creative strength of DreamWorks Animation SKG,Inc. fuse to explode in 3-D action as the studio’s highlyanticipated film, “Monsters vs. Aliens,”hits theaters worldwide.

Audiences will experiencemonsters that move like liquid, whose arms and mouths disappear,and whose bodies are transparent – characters that exist in partbecause of the unprecedented power of HP workstations, HP ProLiant blade serversand other HP technology that enabled the increased demands of a newgeneration of 3-D filmmaking.

“Monsters vs. Aliens”required more than 40 million computing hours to make – more thaneight times as many as the original “Shrek” and nearly double whatit took to create “Kung Fu Panda.”

“For us, this 3-Drevolution is about immersing the audience into the movie,” said EdLeonard, chief technology officer, DreamWorks Animation. “HP’sunique ability to deliver advanced technical tools that help toeliminate creative limitations has allowed us to dive headfirstinto the exciting storytelling capabilities of stereoscopic3-D.”

HP technology aidedDreamWorks Animation in utilizing the largest number of movingcameras on any of its films to date. The company was able to takecreative elements in “Monsters vs. Aliens” to new levels by usingseveral hundred HP xw8600 Workstations plus the largest and mostpowerful “render farm” – a grouping of HP ProLiant blade serversthat quickly work in concert to process the animation sequence –ever used by DreamWorks Animation.

“DreamWorks Animation isconstantly pushing the limits of creativity to bring the bestvisual realities to audiences around the world,” said PhilMcKinney, vice president and chief technology officer, PersonalSystems Group, HP. “HP thrives on working with customers likeDreamWorks Animation, who continually impel us to bring them thenext breakthroughs in technology.”

HP technology andthe demands of 3-D

To help create visualeffects for 3-D animation, DreamWorks Animation had to re-work itsproduction pipeline and design tools to enable its artists to fullyutilize the capabilities of 3-D.

Stereoscopic films, forexample, require rendering separate left- and right-eye images,which meant that rendering requirements for “Monsters vs. Aliens”doubled those of its non-stereo predecessors. The increased push ofpixels to the render farm also doubled the demands placed on the HPworkstations of the studio.

To create the cutting-edge3-D effects in “Monsters vs. Aliens,” DreamWorks Animation artistsused state-of-the-art HP technology to address the followingchallenges:

  • Render the nearly 100 terabytes of disk storage.
  • Render more than 30 sequences in the movie that would havetaken more than 1,000 years to render on a single workstation.
  • Create one of the most technically challenging sequences of thefilm involving a flyover of a town, including houses, hills andtrees. In this shot, the background trees had to be broken up intomore than 300 layers to render.
  • Stage an explosion in one of the battle scenes, which requiredmore than three terabytes of disk space alone.
  • Bridge 300 physical miles: The HP Halo telepresence systemand HP Remote GraphicsSoftware allowed critical creative collaboration betweenartists located in studios in Glendale and Redwood City,Calif.


HP, the world’s largesttechnology company, simplifies the technology experience forconsumers and businesses with a portfolio that spans printing,personal computing, software, services and IT infrastructure. Moreinformation about HP (NYSE: HPQ) is available at

© 2009Hewlett-Packard Development Company, L.P. The information containedherein is subject to change without notice. The only warranties forHP products and services are set forth in the express warrantystatements accompanying such products and services. Nothing hereinshould be construed as constituting an additional warranty. HPshall not be liable for technical or editorial errors or omissionscontained herein.

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