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Delivering Studio 100 Group’s Feature Film “Maya the Bee – The Golden Orb”– Featuring Studio Isar Animation

Learn how YellowDog helped Studio Isar Animation deliver the CGI works of the feature film ‘Maya The Bee – The Golden Orb’, with its award-winning multi-cloud render platform.
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Studio Isar Animation is a CGI animation studio owned by Studio 100 Media, based in Munich. It is part of the Studio 100 Group alongside its affiliated animation studios; Flying Bark Productions in Australia, Little Airplane Production in the US and Studio 100 Animation in France. Studio Isar Animation is responsible for the CGI works of the feature film ‘Maya The Bee – The Golden Orb’, which is the latest instalment in the hugely successful franchise.

Learn how Studio Isar Animation built its studio from the ground up with the help of YellowDog’s award-winning multi-cloud render platform. 

Building Leading Edge Pipeline Infrastructure From Day One

As a newly founded studio, Studio Isar Animation had the ability to build leading-edge pipeline infrastructure from day one. It wanted to use the most relevant technology to create a workflow that would be able to deliver a feature film from the get-go, empowering its artists to work to maximum efficiency. On the 3D side this meant using established tools like Katana and Renderman to achieve cinematic quality images. When looking at infrastructure, the studio had the freedom to innovate – to embrace new technologies and ways of working.

As part of this desire to innovate, a strategy was set to optimise computer usage. All studio on-premise compute would be based in a server room, with artists able to connect to their workstations over TCP/IP. Not only would this increase the space in the office and reduce noise pollution, with no physical towers sat under the desks, but when idle, workstations could be quickly re-deployed to the render farm.

When building the render farm, Studio Isar Animation decided that a large on-premise investment wouldn’t make sense. The infrastructure wouldn’t be used for long periods of the production and would then be inadequate to handle the peaks and major deliveries. Studio Isar Animation opted for a hybrid approach: maintaining workstations and local render nodes in the server room to cover the day-to-day load and harnessing the elasticity of the cloud as the production ramped up. This way, the studio could dynamically respond to the fluctuating needs of its production schedule.

Watch the Trailer For "Maya the Bee - The Golden Orb"

Finding the Right Cloud Provider Can Be Tough

With the compute strategy set, the next challenge was selecting a cloud provider in a crowded market, with lots of competition. Studio Isar Animation was looking to find the best place to put its rendering, to meet both its capacity and budget requirements. It wanted a provider that knew the specific needs of the Media and Entertainment industry, so with the help of its trusted local partner, dve advanced systems, it was introduced to YellowDog.

According to Sascha Kremers, Head of Pipeline at Studio Isar Animation, YellowDog was a perfect fit: “We chose YellowDog because they were able to tailor our solution based on their understanding of the industry and support us with a package that met our needs. We had regular check-ins with their Customer Success team throughout, so it was easy to know who to direct our questions to. There were many phases in the beginning, where we were figuring out our initial configurations and to have YellowDog on hand was really helpful. With YellowDog, we knew we were being taken care of.”

The ability of the YellowDog team to look across the major cloud providers and plug Studio Isar Animation into the optimal source of compute for the production was key to this success. Studio Isar Animation knew it was getting the Best Source of Compute for its jobs.

The Importance of Elastic Infrastructure

The flexibility offered by the technologies that Studio Isar Animation adopted really came into their own when the COVID-19 pandemic struck. “Our set-up enabled us to switch to working from home really easily, so COVID-19 didn’t impact us heavily. We were lucky we chose this technology as it has allowed us to be really flexible” Sascha says. Artists were able to connect to their workstations from home and the cloud rendering was simple to manage with no one required in the studio.

As a result, Studio Isar Animation has managed to keep both productivity and morale high for the artists working on this production in the midst of a global pandemic.

As the major cloud providers have recently experienced capacity issues due to COVID-19, using YellowDog’s Platform gave Studio Isar Animation the peace of mind that capacity would not be an issue, with overflow and waterfall strategies built into its solution.

Learn More About YellowDog's Technology Here

What’s Next for Studio Isar Animation?

On what’s next for the studio, Sacha comments, “Considering this was our first project as a new studio, the whole production was really successful. From an IT perspective we will now have some time for R&D work and to review how we can stabilise our process, so we are ready to go on the next big project.

Ultimately, we are working to make sure we can grow as a studio and give our artists a happy life!”

“Maya the Bee – The Golden Orb” will be released in 2020/21. It is the third big theatrical adventure of Maya the Bee. When Maya, a headstrong little bee, and her best friend Willi, rescue an ant princess they find themselves in the middle of an epic bug battle that will take them to strange new worlds and test their friendship to its limits.

Watch the trailer here:

About Studio Isar Animation

Studio Isar Animation is the CGI animation studio owned by Studio 100 Media in Munich. With workstations for up to 40 artists, Studio Isar Animation is responsible for CGI work such as modelling, texturing, shading, lighting, FX, compositing and rendering for Studio 100 Media’s film productions. In addition, it also offers its services for commissioned works by third parties and co-productions. As a first project, Studio Isar Animation took over the CGI works for the feature film “Maya the Bee – The Golden Orb” (completion planned for August 2020).

Studio 100 Media is an international production and distribution company within the children’s and family entertainment sector. Based in Munich, Germany, the company is a 100 percent subsidiary of Belgian firm Studio 100. The Company develops and acquires new content, engages in co-production and co-financing activities and is also responsible for the international distribution of its own and third party rights. Studio 100 Media’s business model is the perfect vertical and horizontal integration of its IP’s. In marketing its license rights, the Company pursues a global strategy within sectors ranging from Content Distribution, Licensing and Home Entertainment through to Theatrical Movies, Stage Shows and Theme Parks.

About YellowDog

YellowDog helps studios accelerate compute-intensive render projects. The YellowDog Platform finds the Best Source of Compute: intelligently and seamlessly managing resources across on-premise and multi-cloud infrastructure. With YellowDog, studios scale, control and optimise rendering to meet critical deadlines and reduce costs.

About dve advanced systems

dve advanced systems specialises in technical solutions for film, video and broadcast post-production: from workflow solutions for visual effects, to grading and storage infrastructure. dveas offers studios tailor-made answers and first-class service, making sure customers are supported from start to finish.

dve advanced systems are the exclusive reseller partner for YellowDog across Germany and Austria.

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