TIL While rendering Toy Story, Pixar named each and every rendering server after an animal. When a server completed rendering a frame, it would play the sound of the animal, so their server farm will sound like an actual farm.

TIL While rendering Toy Story, Pixar named each and every rendering server after an animal. When ...

This movie had many groundbreaking innovations. For instance "The animators actually turned themselves into toy soldiers for a day."

"For the Pixar animators, their first undertaking was understanding how a toy soldier would move if it suddenly came to life. In order to better study the toy soldiers' movements, animator Pete Docter decided to nail his own sneakers to a wooden board. He unfortunately nailed them from the bottom on his first attempt, but once he got it down, Docter later made these prototypes for the entire team and they spent an entire day moving around with their shoes nailed to wooden planks. Docter also sewed together his own Woody doll during the production."

And also, it was originally titled "You are a Toy."

I wonder if a server was quiet for too long, someone would say "Go check on the chickens"

He unfortunately nailed them from the bottom on his first attempt

How does this ever seem like a good idea.

I don't know if it's a really fun idea, or if it would just drive me mad.

Well I mean he can't even spell doctor so...

I know. Those animal sounds all day would just make me super horny.

I say, I say that server is rendering so slow, you'd think they put a box of crayons in there. Move over son, I'll show you how it's done.

Pixar seems like such a relaxed company I wonder if they ever have formal Fridays just to switch it up.

Meanwhile, I was told that I was no longer allowed to have my computer play a random 3 second clip from the classic track "Whoomp There It Is" each time I make a commit.

"You've got a bad case, of nails-in-shoes."

hm seems like they’ve never heard of a snowboard hub

It doesn't...

I actually had people do that at the game studio I used to work at. It's a pretty casual environment, so they'd come in wearing suits every couple weeks on friday

Red Wings' goal horn

I got a talking to about "abusing my domain admin permissions" for setting my co-worker's shutdown sound to the at max volume.

She's a Blackhawks fan from Chicago.

I'm not a native English speaker so I hope this term has a second meaning I'm not aware of...

This is Doctor Docter. Whats your vector, Victor?

He really missed an opportunity by not getting a PhD.

Too bad they didn't go with that original title since the second one would've been called "You are a Toy Too" amirite XD

Some guy probably thought it would be a funny idea in the beginning and convinced the other animators. By the end of production they were probably looking for ways to kill him in his sleep.

Honestly have no idea. Which would be cheaper, a snowboard hub or a board, old sneakers, and some nails?

I love fancy Fridays when working casual dress workplace.

I try mimick Foghorns dialect/accent (?) to my 18 month old son, and he goes into beast-mode of non-stop laughing.. Probably the greatest feeling ever.

Yes, my degree can finally be put to use!

Ok, so a movie is like a long, fast moving string of pictures, right? Approximately 24 of them per second flash on the screen (as opposed to 29.97 for broadcast TV in the US). So each of these pictures needs to be made from your 3d program.

So in the software, you do all of your modeling (creating EVERYTHING!), animation (moving it), texturing (applying colors), and lighting (making it so you can see all of this stuff). In the software, it doesn't look great, but that's because the software only approximates how the textures and lights work (and doesn't compute things like shadows, how the light bounces, etc). So you have to render it.

Now there are different types of renderers out there, and the one that Pixar is famous for using is called Renderman. That doesn't matter so much, other than to know it's really powerful and really complex. You get to tell it how to do stuff, like "I want light to bounce around the scene like this" and "I want my glass to look this way" and it'll do it. But this takes a lot of computer power. Also remember that Toy Story was made back in 1995, when we barely had internet and the recommended amount of memory in a computer was eight megabytes. So having computers figure out what these pictures would look like took a long time per machine.

In comes the idea of a render farm. You'd hand off a scene of animation to this master, and it would say something like "Ok, there are 500 frames to be rendered" and it would start handing out each scene to a computer in the "farm". Then each machine would do the calculations to render the picture (the info to go to the rendering engine traveled with the file so that's handy) and then, when done, would send the image (probably a TIFF) back to the master server, which would mark that image as done and hand off the next. The image file itself would probably be named something like "scene_001_shot_001_frame_00001.tiff" (I just made that up, but it's similar to how I used to do it).

Then, once the whole scene is done, you can take all of those pictures into a video editing suite and when you import then, it'll put them in numerical order and then, when you hit play, voila, you have your scene.

But now thing about an average move. 24 frames per second * 60 seconds in a minute * 60 minutes for just an hour would be 86,400 frames. If each frame of animation takes a minute to render, that would be 5,184,000 seconds, or 60 days just of rendering time. So if you can split that up between multiple machines, you're going to save yourself a ton of time... and they best part is that you can do a lot of this math ahead of time and figure out what resources you're going to need (include hard drive space) so you're prepared.

For Toy Story, the stats are as follows:

114,240 – Frames of animation in the final film, requiring 800,000 machine hours to render at 2‑15 hours per frame.

2-15 hours per frame. 1995 computers were less powerful than the phone in your pocket.

Doctor Docter, give me the news

This is like a real life fallout 3 dialogue you find in the old computers in some factories/old buildings

Wat

You're cluckin right they did

Well, one makes for a sweet winter vacation, the other makes for an awesome home video.

Besides having sex with men, would you say Finer Things Friday is the gayest thing about you?

I'll never forget that winter vacation where I nailed my shoes to a 2X4

Mmm that'll do, pig.

Foghorn Leghorn nice reference broh

R.I.P. Daughter 2006-2017

We do Fancy Friday where I work. A faction of people have split off into a similar "Finer Things" Friday.

The absolute worst thing after a hang over is a clever pun that involves a room full of animal sounds

To be covered in horns

The use of "will" in this past-tense sentence is making me irrationally angry.

I mimic zee French chef from Little Mermaid, and my 11 year old daughter still dies of laughter.

I would love to hope one of the servers was of one of those screaming goats. Would really make my day.

Ya man let’s buy 20 400 dollar snowboards so we can see how you soldiers walk for a day. Seems like good money management to me

Your username screams ragrets.

I'm absolutely unconvinced that this whole thread wasn't just a setup for this joke.

He's an animator, not a Carpenter, cut the man some slack.

He was probably also looking for a way to kill himself in his sleep.

A while back, I had a hand in setting up the default "security compliant" Ubuntu image for the lab machines. Of course, in accordance with tradition, I configured it to play a 10 hour loop of "They're taking the Hobbits to Isengard" at midnight on April Fools day.

However, all computers are supposed to lock after 30 minutes of inactivity, at which point the partition which stored the media file was supposed to be unmounted and encrypted - a fact I had actually failed to consider. So really, what happened is that on April Fools, we found 4 people who had disabled this security measure, and the "joke" was allowed to stay in the image moving forward.

yep! urrite!

I just remoted in when she walked away from her desk and left her computer unlocked. It wasn't even a permissions thing, I was just lazy and didn't feel like walking across the office to her machine.

People like you are why I didn't take my kids to see Zootopia in theaters

Just want to point out that rendering is done in 3D art software on a computer and not over the Internet. The OP added in the word “server” (which doesn’t appear in the article) and now I see a lot of comments saying “server” and “lagging” and “internet connection” which don’t really make any sense given that there’s not going to be any lag or anything like that since it’s not done over the Internet.

Rendering is how you finalize a piece of 3D art. When working on it it’ll be all grey and lifeless (to reduce hardware strain) but when you press “render” the image will churn out a HD version of the 3D scene with lighting, reflections, textures, etc like so https://img.gawkerassets.com/img/18r5g8qwvljhejpg/ku-xlarge.jpg 

One 3D image can easily take an hour or several hours to finalize/render. When it comes to animation you have to render 24 frames to make one second of your film which is why they need entire farms of computers to produce these movies over the course of many months.

Sorry if this is all pedantic since t started off as a “akchooally!” rant, but 3D is one of the mysterious things people don’t really know a lot about and it can’t hurt if someone learned something new. So yeah.

Just want to point out that rendering is done in 3D art software on a computer and not over the Internet. The OP added in the word “server” (which doesn’t appear in the article) and now I see a lot of comments saying “server” and “lagging” and “internet connection” which don’t really make any sense given that there’s not going to be any lag or anything like that since it’s not done over the Internet.

Rendering is how you finalize a piece of 3D art. When working on it it’ll be all grey and lifeless (to reduce hardware strain) but when you press “render” the image will churn out a HD version of the 3D scene with lighting, reflections, textures, etc like so

One 3D image can easily take an hour or several hours to finalize/render. When it comes to animation you have to render 24 frames to make one second of your film which is why they need entire farms of computers to produce these movies over the course of many months.

Sorry if this is all pedantic since t started off as a “akchooally!” rant, but 3D is one of the mysterious things people don’t really know a lot about and it can’t hurt if someone learned something new. So yeah.

I’m unclear what rendering means in the context of animation. Why do they need so many servers? Could someone ELI5yo’s toy?

One of the few computer pranks I ever pulled in high school was loading an .exe (from the 3.5" floppy I brought from home, for God's sake) on all the library computers that drifted every desktop icon and the active program window by 1 pixel at a time every 10-15 seconds or so. It was small enough to not get noticed by inattentive students rushing through a 45-minute class period, but large enough that by the end of Day 2, every single desktop had all its icons piled in a mess in one corner of the screen. The librarian would notice and fix it manually, but it would just keep happening every day because the computers weren't turned off overnight.

After about a month of this, the librarian discovered that shutting down the computers at night prevented whatever drift was going on. So I installed a new version of the bug (that if found online, of course) that added the feature of forcing the mouse to jump away from the Start button, making it impossible to click. When the user tried to shut down through Ctrl+Alt+Del, the CD tray would suddenly stick out and a raspberry noise would play at max volume. Boy, did that ever make her mad! It lasted less than a week before she called the district's IT to come in and reimage the machines.

So I installed one last prank, where each computer would blow a raspberry at max volume at random intervals throughout the day. There were about 18 computers or so, all within sight of the librarian's desk. That was my finest moment as a 15-year old, I do believe.

Relaxed dress code and fun but expect to work 90+ hours per week and devote your life to work.

Some say she is still dieing to this day.

He only survived because nobody was sleeping during the deadline crunch

Generally, a very long time. (Some sources report some projects had frame render times of minutes to around a day).

On an extreme scale, think of a video game, which may be expected to take no more than 1/60th of a second to render a complete frame on consumer hardware. The result can be a little rough, but it is acceptable for the given purpose.

However, with a multi-million dollar budget and ample time, it doesn't make too much difference how long a frame takes to render. (Light calculations take a lot of power). Just let the server farm run overnight if one needs to.

2 Toy 2 Story

There's a great behind-the-scenes from the movie Shrek, where they said they often left a small scene to render over the weekend. Often they'd get back in and something would be hilariously, frighteningly wrong, and have to re-do it.

So it's not just the frame time, but the time it takes to re-render things when the feedback loop is imperfect... which it always is.

Mmm That'll do.

Change it to 'push it to the limit' for every git push

https://img.memecdn.com/speechless_o_2899449.jpg

Toy Story: Toykyo Drift

Fantastic.

In high school, a buddy of mine and I set all of the library computers' home page to the Hamster Dance, and cranked all the external speakers to max volume for April Fool's day.

Coming in to do some work on April 2nd, and they had updated the local GP to no longer allow the home page to be changed.

So next year we set a password lock on the screen saver, and changed the Marquee message to something vulgar.

How long did it take to render a frame?

And if they halfed the time how much "worse" did the frame look?

Adult IT me hates you.

Teenage me is laughing his ass off.

That boy will need a slide rule to find me!

It's the latter. But not for the server noises. It's the legacy that it leaves behind. I've seen the same thing where servers get named after some theme or idea while companies are small. But a bunch of stuff gets designed around that and as the company gets bigger you really need to have things with proper naming schemes to make it easier on new guys and make things less confusing. It's really much more of a PITA in practice to go back and rename a bunch of badly named servers than one would expect until you go and try to do it.

It was the "I can't believe we have to have this conversation", and a little of the first.

I responded, "well if she had locked her computer, it wouldn't have been so easy for me to do it".

Which got her a talking to about computer security practices.

I wouldn't have said anything, but the only reason we even had the meeting was because she complained about it.

Ever heard the phrase "beer is cheaper than benefits"? There's a reason a lot of "kooky and innovative" companies have kegs, nap rooms, and foosball tables.

That’s my secret. I’m always dying.

That'll do donkey, that'll do.

“Those chickens are up to sumthin’.”

We had that too. One guy owned it by rocking up in a full suit of armor.

Why is the floor sticky?

Your logic has no place here. Begone with you!

Adobe After Effects and Media Encoder used to play a goat sound when an encode failed. Not sure if they’ve phased that out in recent years. It’s scared me more than once when I’ve had my speakers at full volume.

It's ok. It's still smarter than "2y story"

enjoy a doodle doo. don't choke on the bone fragments.

Can't help but make the end of my sentence sound dumb because it's such an equally stupid and obvious joke.

Even riskier click...

Well, you're not wrong.

It’s all ogre now.

Animators move things, they don't build things. Animators are the ones who position each limb, change facial expressions and move characters and objects around.

Best explaination yet! Thanks boss!

I read that in Ron Howard's voice lol

Yeah his first account was a mistake.

The tetanus was worth it!

Rendering is basically outputting the final animation into a standard format, for example .Avi or .MPEG. rendering can take quite some time even on a powerful computer for even a short clip.

So if it takes a long time to render a short clip, it would take a really long time to render a 2 hour clip. That's where the idea of parallel rendering comes into play. In simple terms, what you do is break up the source into say 50 chunks and send it to 50 different servers to render. Each of the servers then respond with their rendered portion and then there's probably another server that is responsible for stitching those 50 pieces together. In essence, this will complete your task about 50 times faster than just using a single computer.

Note: I don't know if this is how it actually works out not, but this is the fundamentals for doing big Data analysis

And also, it was originally titled "You are a Toy."

With its sequel, "You are a Toy Too!"

follow by: "W3 Are Toys!"

next: "Waiting 4 a good toy"

Finally: "Toy Story 5"

Don't animators need even more in depth knowledge of the things they're building because they have to try to simulate the real world vs carpenters who don't have to worry about a plank of wood suddenly launching into the stratosphere?

Oh man, I just remembered that time we changed the error sound for every Mac in the school's computer lab to an audio clip of one of the teachers saying "teapot." I can still hear that chorus in my head to this day.

This is what the render farm looked like:

https://i.imgur.com/SsHp6UE.jpg 

...and here’s a contemporary article with its tech specs — it was built with Sun SPARCstations. For everyone asking about “sound cards” for the animal noises, these professional workstations had onboard audio capabilities and an internal speaker built into each case.

http://sunsite.uakom.sk/sunworldonline/swol-11-1995/swol-11-pixar.html

This is what the render farm looked like:

...and here’s a contemporary article with its tech specs — it was built with Sun SPARCstations. For everyone asking about “sound cards” for the animal noises, these professional workstations had onboard audio capabilities and an internal speaker built into each case.

http://sunsite.uakom.sk/sunworldonline/swol-11-1995/swol-11-pixar.html

The worst part: those animators shouldn't be anywhere near the servers, which are gonna be in a climate controlled locked room.

The poor sysadmins are the ones who are gonna have to hear that cacophony of animal noises any time they go in there.

YOU! ARE! A TOY!

What kind of talking to was this? The sort where they go "haha, that's funny, but for legal reasons, don't" or the sort of "look I heard you did a funny and that simply won't do, we'll have no laughter here"?

The server farm would be in a separate room from most workers.

More like devote my life to the foosball table they have.

No problem! Took me a year to do my 1 minute thesis movie and a fair amount was dealing with rendering so I know a fair bit about the process ( and I didn't use a farm, just my poor machine)

IMO, the attention to detail is one of the (many) things that make Toy Story one of the best movies of all time.

Dan Lyons wrote an excellent book about this phenomenon. Here's an excerpt

It plays into a larger, much more insidious element of start up culture. The obsession with startups is a tremendous bubble in the purest sense of the word. Remember Theranos? It might be one of the most extreme examples of this malfeasance but it is not a tremendous outlier. Most startups fail within the first few years, but investors (the smart ones, anyway) always seem to make money. That is by design. It becomes a game between investors about who can get shares in which round of valuation, and thus how early they can sell them when the company in question goes tits up. It is the buy in to this process that causes the soaring valuations of so many of these companies without any regard for, you know, what the company actually does.

In this game of liar's poker, the stakes are high but at the end of the day, everyone playing knows the pot will be empty. This is a perversion of the traditional idea of investment: theoretically, an investment should be a gamble on the success of a venture. Now it's a game of chicken between investors without any degree of relation to the company in question other than the narrative such a company can evoke in the minds of the public and less shrewd, later round investors.

VC Investors are betting on how long they can convince the world the emperor is still well-dressed, and it's damaging our economy by inflating perceived growth.