NVIDIA Premiers Animated Short "The Plush Life"

NVIDIA Premiers Animated Short "The Plush Life"

SIGGRAPH, short for Special Interest Group for Computer GRAPHics, is an annual conference on computer graphics attended by tens of thousands of computer professionals from the computer graphics, CAD, rendering and interactive technology industries. At this year's conference, held in San Diego from August 5th to 9th, NVIDIA will premier an animated short film called "The Plush Life". The film, which features two plush characters named Lundo and Flint and their adventures while joyriding in their 1969 Buick Electra, is the brainchild of Timothy Heath of the NVIDIA Digital Film Group and is the first of several films which will showcase NVIDIA's Gelato GPU-accelerated rendering software.

The film, which took seven months to complete, is modeled and animated in Autodesk's Maya 3D software and rendered entirely with Gelato Pro on NVIDIA Quadro professional graphics boards utilizing some of the program’s advanced features such as depth-of-field, motion blur, ambient occlusion, and raytraced reflections. Other effects incorporated into the animation include subsurface scattering, which allows materials to absorb and scatter light, depth-of-shadows for rendering of the hair, and new shader technology used to create the velvety appearance of the “Flint” character.

Although it was originally developed to render film and broadcast visual effects and animation, Gelato can handle just about any 3D application.  As the following screen captures will demonstrate, when used in concert with Maya, Gelato can produce some stunning results.


If the above images aren't enough for you and you can't make it to the film's premier today at SIGGRAPH 2007, you're in luck because you will be able to visit NVIDIA's "Gelatozone" web site to watch the film in its entirety and get a firsthand look at the advanced rendering features of Gelato software, and a glimpse of future rendering technology from NVIDIA, powered by the latest NVIDIA Quadro solutions.

Feeling especially inspired? You can download the basic version of Gelato for free from the Gelatozone. Gelato basic currently supports Windows XP and Linux operating systems running on NVIDIA GeForce 5200 graphics hardware or higher, as well as NVIDIA Quadro professional graphics solutions. Gelato Pro, which offers advanced rendering features and greater scalability for professional production pipelines, is only certified and supported on NVIDIA Quadro solutions and it will cost you $1500 for the suite.
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The lighting effects in these screen-caps are awesome. The first shot especially, of Flint sitting in the car, looks like a photograph and not a still from an animated movie.

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The lighting and shadowing has to be some of the best I've seen yet. I wonder if this clip could be rendered in real-time on a pair of GeForce 8800 GTX cards in SLI? Most likely it would be a slide show at best but that's what movies are for. We need game engines that look this good!

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I love the appearance of the "hair" on the blue guy. Very realistic and believable. I totally buy that he is made of some kind of stringy cloth, rather than imagining it.

Depth-of-field isn't too impressive though, but that could have been intentional to suit the artistic style of the film.

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