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Madagascar 3 gets HP power

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DreamWorks Animations used over 200 HP Z800 workstations, its ProLiant BL460c blade technology, networking solutions and Managed Print Services to produce Madagascar 3: Europe’s Most Wanted.

HP technology and DreamWorks Animation’s have combined to give audiences a treat with the breakthrough animation of the studio’s 3-D movie, ‚Madagascar 3: Europe’s Most Wanted,‚ which hits theatres on 15 June.

HP technology was used to help DreamWorks animators solve the artistic challenges that bring ‚Europe’s Most Wanted‚ to the big screen in the third instalment of the blockbuster ‚Madagascar‚ franchise.

DreamWorks used HP technology that included HP Converged Infrastructure, HP Z Workstations, HP networking and server solutions, and digital rendering.

‚Our goal with every film is to push the limits of our creativity to bring the story to life for the audience,‚ said Ed Leonard, chief technology officer, DreamWorks Animation. ‚HP technology enables our artists to exceed those limits and focus on creating the most powerful 3-D animation experience.‚

DreamWorks Animation uses HP technology throughout the production cycle, for everything from day-to-day tasks to developing the most detailed animation scenes and processing massive amounts of rendering data. Throughout the years, HP technology has played an integral role in creating DreamWorks’ ground-breaking animated features, including the ‚Shrek‚ series, ‚ How to Train Your Dragon,‚ ‚ Kung Fu Panda,‚ ‚ Kung Fu Panda 2‚ and ‚Puss in Boots.‚

‚Madagascar 3‚ tapped the power of several HP technologies, including:

РArtists utilising more than 200 HP Z800 Workstations to help create a wide variety of deeply intricate, organic environments that exist in part due to the HP Workstations with multicore processors. Artists used these workstations to help design everything in the film—from the Zooster characters to digital effects such as complex fire and highly detailed crowd close-ups.

– HP DreamColor technology was utilised in the film’s production process to provide accurate and consistent colour across print, monitor and the big screen.

– HP ProLiant BL460c blade technology, geographically dispersed in four server render farms across the United States and India, provided peak compute power at crucial stages of production. The blade servers powered an incredible 200 terabytes of data and more than 65 million render hours.

– HP Networking solutions including HP 12500, 5800 and 6120 series switches, HP Networking Intelligent Management Center, and HP Intelligent Resilient Framework provided significantly improved levels of network performance while providing a simplified, single-pane-of-glass network management across the studio’s scalable 10G WAN/LAN environment. HP IBRIX X9720 Network Storage System enabled DreamWorks to respond to the demanding unstructured data requirements of the studio while allowing for future growth.

– HP Enterprise Services Flexible Hosted Rendering has provided DreamWorks with high-performance computing power to get dynamic capacity on demand for multiple computer graphics (CG) films. Over the course of the production cycle, 12 percent of ‚Madagascar 3‚ was rendered in the cloud.

– DreamWorks Animation also used HP Managed Print Services (MPS) to ease the complexity of print management and increase productivity during the production of ‚Madagascar 3.‚ This process facilitates greater visibility into information, thus enabling faster revenue generation. Through HP MPS, DreamWorks Animation is transforming paper-based workflows to reduce waste, cut costs and unleash employee productivity.

‚HP Z Workstations power the creative genius at DreamWorks and help bring the next big thing in animation to audiences around the world,‚ said Jeff Wood, vice president, Worldwide Marketing, Commercial Solutions Business Unit, HP. ‚HP is committed to professionals in media and entertainment and will continue to work with leaders like DreamWorks to understand the needs of the industry and bring in the next big thing in technology.”

‚Madagascar 3‚ fun facts

– More than 120, 000 individual computer-generated frames were used to create the film.

РThe majestic Circus Act sequence features the largest, most detailed crowd in DreamWorks production history—more than 5,000 individual characters. The scene includes several special effects including haze, sparks, glow, fire and rain, and required 1.6 million render hours to produce.

– The Flashback sequence incorporates massive fire effects and highly detailed crowd close-up shots that required 2.8 million render hours.

– In the Running for the Train sequence, nearly 1,200 Euros are thrown into the air.

– The Manhattan skyline originally didn’t have the new World Trade Center‚Äîa DreamWorker from New York City who had just been down to that area was awestruck by the partially completed building and asked that it be put in to show the amazing architecture.

– Gia’s eyelashes have 96 tracks that can be animated.

– Alex has more than 2,000 individual controls to allow the animators to position him into any conceivable pose.

РEach person in the crowd scenes had three possible bodies, six possible heads and various wardrobe item possibilities, for a total of more than 19 million unique person combinations—for comparison, the New York City Metropolitan area just reached a population of 19 million this year.

– There were 2,393 buildings in the Monaco set comprising 42 different models, most of which had three variations. Many of the buildings had other models scattered atop them (chairs, shrubbery, planter boxes and other constructs).

* Follow Gadget on Twitter on @gadgetza

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Arts and Entertainment

Timberlake to headline iTunes London festival

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Apple has announced that Justin Timberlake, Thirty Seconds to Mars, Jack Johnson and Jessie J are among the headliners at this year’s iTunes Festival in London.

Running every night in September at the Roundhouse, the iTunes Festival features more than 60 acts performing at the legendary venue.

Performances can be watched live or on-demand by millions of iOS users around the world on their iPhone, iPad or iPod touch, as well as by music fans with iTunes on their computer or in stunning HD with Apple TV. Tickets are free for competition winners only.

Music fans from across the world, including the US, Australia, Brazil, Canada, Europe, Japan and Mexico can win tickets to the iTunes Festival through competitions run by local media partners. In the UK, fans can win tickets using the iTunes Festival app and the iTunes Store as well as select media partners including Channel 4, Global Radio and Metro.

Sir Paul McCartney, Amy Winehouse and Crowded House played the first iTunes Festival at London’s Institute of Contemporary Arts in 2007. Since then over 370 artists have performed in front of more than 370,000 fans and tens of millions more online and on television. Other performers have included Adele, Coldplay, Foo Fighters, Alicia Keys, Paul Simon, Jack White and Oasis. Performances are available for purchase and download on the iTunes Store.

Apple designs Macs, the best personal computers in the world, along with OS X, iLife, iWork and professional software. Apple leads the digital music revolution with its iPods and iTunes online store. Apple has reinvented the mobile phone with its revolutionary iPhone and App Store, and is defining the future of mobile media and computing devices with iPad.

* Follow Gadget on Twitter on @GadgetZA

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New PS games ready for download

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Sony has announced its June line-up for PlayStation Plus subscribers, including Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning, and two new catalogue releases, Demon’s Souls and ICO and Shadow of the Colossus HD Collection.

Immerse yourself in the ancient world of Amalur and its 10,000 years of magical history in the action-packed tale Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning, created by acclaimed New York Times bestselling author R.A. Salvatore. Take destiny into your own hands as you combat your way through this vast and vibrant world as envisioned by the visionary creator of Spawn and much-admired artist, Todd McFarlane.

In Demon’s Souls you are summoned by a mysterious maiden as the last hope for humanity to take on a mighty demon horde that has taken over the kingdom of Boletaria, after a terrible curse was mistakenly unleashed by King Allant the XII whilst in search of greater powers. Prepare for a battle that has so far defeated all other realm champions as you set out on this epic journey to save the Kingdom from a fate worse than death.

ICO and Shadow of the Colossus HD Collection brings two exciting worlds to PS Plus ready for fans to explore. Adopt the role of ICO, a young boy who finds himself imprisoned by the people of his village inside the walls of a menacing castle before joining forces with a young girl named Yorda as she attempts to escape in ICO. Take on the role of a young man named Wander in Shadow of the Colossus as you journey through an enchanted land, battling 16 enormous beasts known as the Colossi in order to restore the life of a girl named Mono, whose soul is trapped in this haunting world.

For gamer’s on-the-go, grab your PlayStation Vita (PS Vita) and transport yourself to lush forests in the cartoon-quality action title Rayman Origins. Alternatively, weave through airborne mazes as you avoid falling coconuts in Coconut Dodge HD, both available on PS Plus from 5th June.

PS Plus provides subscribers with access to top-rated games on PS3 and PS Vita, extending the service to two platforms for a single price for a one-year subscription. Additionally, 90 day subscriptions are also available giving user’s access to the same fantastic titles and great PlayStation Store discounts.

PS Plus subscribers receive an array of exclusive features, including 2GB cloud storage (1G for PS3 & 1G for PS Vita) for game saves. Automatic updates and beta access, as well as a huge collection of exclusive dynamic themes and PlayStation Network avatars, makes PS Plus the place to be in 2013.

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