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Pushing Redshift Hard for LEGO Animation – Featuring M2 Animation

Learn how YellowDog helped M2 Animation spin up so much GPU power that it was officially rendering on the 8th fastest supercomputer in the World.
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M2 Animation is an animation house situated in Bangkok producing primarily high-spec CG & 2D character-based animation for series work, TV commercials and short films. 

YellowDog caught up with Head of Studio, Marty Knox, to learn how the team benefited from spinning up so much GPU power that they were officially rendering on the 8th fastest supercomputer in the world.

Working on LEGO Friends

M2 Animation has been working on the LEGO Friends TV series for a number of years. Marty reflects on the work by saying, “Every day is spent thinking about LEGO. We do full pre-production & production on site, which includes concept art, design, editorial, assets, layout, animation, lighting, compositing, FX, and of course, rendering with both CPU and GPU facilities.”

The production keeps the studio on its toes, but the demanding schedule can place pressure on its rendering capabilities.  

High Quality Animation Requires High Quality Rendering

M2 Animation has equipped itself well to cope with most of its rendering needs. It has invested heavily in its people and has made the effort to get up to speed with Redshift, to make sure it could pump out high quality renders as fast as possible. It is also familiar with using cloud rendering solutions during times of peak demand, or emergencies.

However, despite this impressive setup and the level of internal knowledge, the team encountered a need that they couldn’t meet. According to Marty, “When we had this latest crunch, we needed something special to help us. We needed a reliable, easy to use render solution. But most of all, we needed crazy levels of GPU on demand.”

This particular job needed high levels of dedicated, secure GPU power, which is when M2 Animation turned to YellowDog.

In under two days, YellowDog performed 7,750 hours of GPU rendering for M2 Animation. And this wasn’t ordinary GPU: this was over 200 instances of dedicated dual NVIDIA Tesla P100 technology, securely rendered with Oracle Cloud Infrastructure.

Learn more about Tesla P100

It’s Not All About the Technology

Not only was the infrastructure significant but Marty appreciated the personal service from YellowDog too, “Their whole support team was quick to respond and eager to help.”

Marty says: “As we were faced with incredible time-pressures, upload time became a serious factor. YellowDog laid on customised solutions to get the files transferred to us quicker than with their standard set-up. We made the seemingly impossible, possible. We delivered top results and met our deadline.”

The Future of Productions

So what impact will faster renders, and faster deliveries mean for producers like Marty?

“Technologies like Redshift and YellowDog are turning previously slow renders into fast ones. Producers will rightfully take advantage of the technology but it will put different pressures in different places.”

Producers know that there is no such thing as ‘more time’, just ‘time spent elsewhere’. That elsewhere, for Marty at least, could be in the emergence of higher quality entertainment, which he considers an exciting tipping point in the industry:

“We can start to achieve things that we couldn’t do before because the barriers of time have been lifted…almost. If you watch some streaming sites, you see straight away where budget decisions have been taken to compensate for the impact of render times on higher quality images. That kind of stuff is going to disappear from our screens over the coming years.”

The Creative Reputation of South East Asia

Marty is particularly buoyant because of the shift in Thailand’s creative reputation.

“For years, people have turned to Korea, Philippines, China, and India,” Marty acknowledges. “These are the big four for international animation and there are some good reasons why that is the case – but there is an incredible talent pool in South East Asia. The industry seems to be realising that we’re creating world class work and it won’t stay under the radar for much longer.”

Countries like Thailand, Indonesia, and Singapore are on the up and we believe that at YellowDog, we’re doing our bit to help studios scale no matter where they are based.

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