The latest action flick starring Jason Statham – The Meg – also features a two million year old Megalodon.

Obviously the Megalodon shark doesn’t exist so the folks at Scanline VFX had to use CGI to recreate the animal. The thing is, animating something underwater, especially a creature that lives in that environment can require quite a bit of power to recreate.

Thankfully, the folks at Scanline VFX had more than “quite a bit of power”.

“To create ‘The Meg,’ we needed a massive amount of performance in our computer system,” president and VFX supervisor at Scanline, Stephan Trojansky said.

“Years ago, you would have needed a huge render farm and a large crew for a very small amount of footage – today, we can use 2,500 Intel Xeon processors with almost 100,000 cores that are used to compute all of the needs of the movie. This enables fast iterations and the ability to present multiple options to the director, which is critical in making the best possible visual effects,” said Trojansky.

Intel’s Xeon Scalable processors also helped to accelerate the physics engine contained within the Ziva VFX software. This allowed animators to generate the shark’s movements using AI.

Simply put, an algorithm was trained to learn how a shark of that size would move, these movements would then be animated to make it more realistic.

“When you want to train a machine learning process, it needs to know how something is going to behave in order to anticipate itself, or extrapolate how it expects something to behave – in this case, the movement of the shark itself. Intel Xeon technology helped the film’s creators do that quickly and efficiently and in the most realistic way possible,” chief executive officer at Ziva VFX, James Jacobs said.

We know that CGI and digital animation is nothing new but seeing how artificial intelligence is being used in the arts brings a smile to our face.

[Source – Intel]
Brendyn Lotz writes news, reviews, and opinion pieces for Hypertext. His interests include SMEs, innovation on the African continent, cybersecurity, blockchain, games, geek culture and YouTube.