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Disney Animation Adopts Python

CmdrTaco posted more than 13 years ago | from the aint-that-interesting dept.

Programming 94

Sommelier writes " Interesting article on the O'Reilly Python site about Walt Disney Feature Animation adopting Python to accomplish a lot of their work. "

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Disney employees love Amigas. (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 13 years ago | (#375984)

In fact the Animators used Amigas for the creation of Dinosaur and were quoted that Amigas still are the best Disney has for doing animations.

Disney is evil! Disney is good! (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 13 years ago | (#375985)

First they are evil because they own all the entertainment media and they are ruthless about use of their IP, now they are good guys because they use Perl?

Not Sickness stains the Brave (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 13 years ago | (#375986)

Not Sickness stains the Brave,
Nor any Dart,
Nor Doubt of Scene to come,
But an adjourning Heart --

Anonymous Emily Dickinson LIVES!

It's time for a Python topic! (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 13 years ago | (#375987)

Why must posts about python always appear under programing or perl.

Re:Disney employees love Amigas. (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 13 years ago | (#375988)

For rendering graphics Disney mostly don`t use Amigans. This because of the fact that it`s a processor intensive task. (Amigas are mostly equiped with 50 mhz 060 or 3 year old 150-233 mhz PPC processors.)

I found this article [] on Techhead:

"Three animators from Disney, Patrick Roberts, Michael Daugherty, and Arthur Argote, provided the conceptual designs for the look of the new hardware reference plans. Some backup band. These guys are lead designers for the new Disney movie Dinosaurs. The designs are beautiful. These guys did their work all on their own time. The designs are a gift. New Amiga wouldn't build them but you can be sure they will be part of the hardware specifications that they will license. Maybe they are just inspiration. If computers are going to be pervasive in peoples lives they need to look a lot better that all these beige breadboxes we've got now. Its good to remember that Disney used to develop animation software for the Amiga. Bill told us that Disney used over 500 Amigas to produce computer animation for their films. This is a company that could use any platform they want and yet they chose Amiga along with whatever additional choices they made. Amiga has clout in media circles. From that perspective its no surprise that now Amiga is aligned with an array of consumer electronic firms including Sony, JVC, and others. "

Python works well in corporate environments (4)

alewando (854) | more than 13 years ago | (#375989)

There was an interesting case study [] about it a while back. But was several years ago, and on a much smaller project. Now that Disney's getting into the action, Python will be more palatable to other suits.

This is great! (3)

Eccles (932) | more than 13 years ago | (#375990)

Now the GPL on our Python implementations won't expire in 95 years, with Disney's support we can keep them out of the public domain forever!

OT: Princess Mononoke (1)

Langley (1015) | more than 13 years ago | (#375991)

Sorry for this off topic post, but whatever.

I was just wondering if it bothered anyone else that Toki (? -- the head female in the camp, the one in the red kimono) was voiced by Jada Pinkett?

I just thought it was a bit hard to picture a woman named Toki, with a strong, sassy, modern, in your face, black girl attitude.

Oh well, I just had to comment on that, other than that I think Princess Mononoke was an excellent film. A few too many western values snuck in, but...

Re:Computer Animation/Visual FX doing this for yea (2)

tolldog (1571) | more than 13 years ago | (#375992)

Blue who?

I have been breathing perl for to long of time...
maybe I should look at this python beast...

Can a python play nice with veggies and penguins?

Computer Animation/Visual FX doing this for years (5)

danimal (1712) | more than 13 years ago | (#375993)

I work in the computer animation industry. All the shops have been using perl, python, tcl, and others for years to do production tasks. At Blue Sky [] we use perl heavily. ILM [] uses python heavily.

It's all great stuff that allows for rapid development and building (sometimes glueing) systems together.


Re:Kaa (2)

Jason Earl (1894) | more than 13 years ago | (#375994)

I would actually vote for Sir Hissss... Jungle Book is a nice movie, but Robin Hood is probably my favorite Disney Movie of all time.

Re:It's time for a Python topic! (2)

Jason Earl (1894) | more than 13 years ago | (#375995)

Perhaps the can come up with a good icon for the Spanish Inquisition.

Nobody ever expects that...

Re:Computer Animation/Visual FX doing this for yea (2)

mattdm (1931) | more than 13 years ago | (#375996)

What I see is: Perl users going "huh, Python, that's nice", and then Python users going "Python is way better than Perl! Perl is awful! No one should use legacy scripting languages like Perl", and then the Perl people being annoyed.

Personally, I don't find the Perl/Python comparison a useful one. Perl is very good at string handling and regular expressions; with Python, to do regexes, one makes a library call just like one would in C. So if I want to make a quick script to parse something, Perl is great. If I were to make a larger project, I might decide between Python or C/C++.

In general, Perl is like English, and Python is like Esperanto. The former is a complicated, flexible mess with which one can be very expressive. The latter is a carefully engineered language, with a logical straightforward grammar that's easy for anyone to learn and understand. Any concept can be expressed in either one, and they both have their uses.


Re:Debian should adopt Python (1)

fizbin (2046) | more than 13 years ago | (#375997)

If by "debian maintainers" mailing list you mean debian-devel, remember that that's a very high-traffic list and that you're likely to get both yes and no to just about any question, with consensus emerging only after many posts on all sides.

For what it's worth, the installation scripts for the apt-move package were written in a strictly posix-compliant sh and wouldn't (due to a minor defficiency in bash's interpretation of the posix spec) install if your /bin/sh was bash. Only recently (probably after getting sick of the weekly bug report + patch telling him how to "fix" his script) did the author make it possible for apt-move to be installed on the vast majority of Debian machines.

Incidentally, bashisms are allowed if and only if the script starts with #!/bin/bash - though maintainer scripts are free to assume that bash is always installed on a debian system, they are not free to assume that /bin/sh is /bin/bash, so if you still have those old bashism bugs, submit them.

Re:Kaa (1)

PCM2 (4486) | more than 13 years ago | (#375998)

I've observed that people who point out how obscure their own references are probably don't understand the motive for making obscure references.

WDFA::Shortcomings (1)

_14k4 (5085) | more than 13 years ago | (#375999)

"WDFA is a heavy Perl shop, but some shortcomings with Perl led the software group to investigate other scripting alternatives for the ambitious new project."

Guess they shouldnt use that module any more. Oh well. Too bad Perl isnt hardcore enough. *sarcasm again...*

Python vs. Perl, LIVE on Slashdot! (2)

Zach Baker (5303) | more than 13 years ago | (#376000)

s/Python/Tcl/g if (year == 1994); # ;^)

No, it's true, there has been a PvP holy war going on for a while now. But I've heard much of it before, back when Tcl was coming on strong (mostly on the strengths of Tk, but nevertheless). However, I don't mean to slight Python by comparing the two languages and I certainly don't think Python is on the road to irrelevancy...

Personally, I first became uncomfortable with Perl with Perl 5's, er, novel OO implementation. Although objects were made easy-to-use in Perl, I was disappointed in the OO features and how they were integrated. I only use boilerplate OO features in Perl to this day. Then there was the time I tried to read the source. Traumatic. Sure, I'll agree that too many Perl users are a little over-invested in the language for their own objectivity's sake.

But the primary reason I haven't used Python more is the syntax, and, I even admit, the whole whitespace formatting issue. Tsk tsk, I know... look, I didn't say it was a compelling reason. Same thing with, say, Eiffel. Yet I think Eiffel is a very cool and worthwhile language.

Yes, I'm being intransigent, perhaps irrational, but syntax matters. It's a user-interface issue. Now if I had to program in Python, I'm sure I could "get over myself" and fully appreciate the language. But otherwise, I reserve the right to follow my personal tastes. =^)

I have pretty much forsaken Perl for Ruby now, actually, except for the one-liners as I mentioned. I believe most people would be better off using Python rather than Perl on a daily basis...

I like playing around with Squeak quite a bit, but I can never seem to fit it into my programming tool set, you know? A shame. I really should try harder at that.

Re:Computer Animation/Visual FX doing this for yea (3)

Zach Baker (5303) | more than 13 years ago | (#376001)

I have been breathing perl for to long of time...
maybe I should look at this python beast...

Can a python play nice with veggies and penguins?

Sure... Python's a language that seems to get along well with others. =^)

Personally, though, I've settled on Ruby [] . It delivers on clean, simple reuse and has a flexible and very object-oriented syntax that agrees with my Perl-addled sensibilities. Have a look at the very nice introductory book [] which is now available online.

Of course, I still do one-liners in Perl...

Re:WDFA::Shortcomings (1)

Rob Riggs (6418) | more than 13 years ago | (#376002)

Choice of language can (and does) have an amazingly profound impact on the success of many programming projects. It, like talent, design, etc. all contribute to the likelyhood of the completion, adoption and maintainability of a software product.

Python's main strength is compactness of expression -- without the loss of information on intent. It is really easy for programmers to comprehend other programmers' Python code. In many cases it is not even necessary to have ever seen Python code prior.

This ease of comprehension is the key to Python's success. I've witnessed more than one programming project run into trouble because the cost of communicating programmer intent was so high that it became hard to actually get any coding done.

I've encountered more than a few languages that reach a breaking point after a certain level of complexity. I'm sure Python has its breaking point (and my guess would be that involves issues with weak typing and code validation) but I have yet to see those limits reached.

Re:Computer Animation/Visual FX doing this for yea (2)

FFFish (7567) | more than 13 years ago | (#376003)


Chances are you settled on Ruby, simply because you couldn't eat the humble pie of going with Python.

The competition between Perlistas and Pythonians is pretty fierce. If I could charactize the attitudes I've seen, it's that Python users tend to feel confidently superior in their language choice, while Perl users tend to be shrilly superior.

For a Perl user to admit that there's a better solution is a big step... so expecting him to admit that the very same language that he's shrilly decried is better, would be too much. Far too humbling.

Of course, this is something of a troll. But at the root of it, as someone who's pretty much a bystander in all this, I think there's some kernel of truth to be found.

[Worth noting, of course, that Ruby advocates frequently compare their language to Python, whereas Python users never compare it to Ruby. "If you're focused on the competition, you aren't the leader" may be a maxim here.]

Personally, I think Squeak is the best of the alternatives to Python. Talk about a cool language and system.


well obviously! (2)

DarkClown (7673) | more than 13 years ago | (#376004)

don't you remember that snake that hopped around in the robin hood cartoon? oh wait - wrong article, oh, no it's not.

Re:They're also the home of Allan Kay & Squeak (2)

PD (9577) | more than 13 years ago | (#376005)

>Its so much faster, cheaper and better.

Now hold it just a minute. You've to pick just two out of three. Don't be greedy.

Excuse me (2)

PD (9577) | more than 13 years ago | (#376006)

Man: Excuse me, do you have any Dickens?

Shopowner: Sorry, we're fresh out of Dickens. Can I interest you in this ANNOYING MOUSE?

They're also the home of Allan Kay & Squeak (2)

crovira (10242) | more than 13 years ago | (#376007)

Disney's been supporting the Squeak! Smalltalk community (Squeak! is as open an OpenSource language as you can get!) for some time now.

If you want to see where you're IDE's heading, look at Squeak!

Someday everybody will develop software this way. Its so much faster, cheaper and better.

Debian should adopt Python (5)

SurfsUp (11523) | more than 13 years ago | (#376008)

Debian is a most wonderful distribution. No commercial distribution can touch Debian's level of care and attention to package building and installation. However. Have you ever looked at those install scripts? They do work, and work well - but the mix of bash, perl and sed is an unholy concoction that could stand replacing. Python can do the work of all three in a way that is readable and maintainable. Python could easily be included in the base distribution - the interpreter and builtin classes come in at around 380 K, considerably smaller than Perl.

ls -l `which python1.5`

Naturally it would take some time to change over those 1,000's of scripts, and why fix scripts that aren't borked. But for new packages...

If you are a debian maintainer, please consider this carefully.

Re:Python works well in [dining rooms] - OT (2)

Dr.Dubious DDQ (11968) | more than 13 years ago | (#376009)

I find rattlesnake much more palatable, though I still don't know whether to serve it with red wine or white.

White. It's a lot like Chicken. (No, really...)

"They have strategic air commands, nuclear submarines, and John Wayne. We have this"

It's all nice, but... (1)

Ravenscall (12240) | more than 13 years ago | (#376010)

IT is nice that they are making the most effective use of technology for thier animation, now, if they could actually start doing things like

1) Shading in thier Characters. That 2d cutesy look just isn't good

2) Develop a script to write a script! While I will admit that the animation is of a good quality, they haven't had a script since The Black Cauldron, just more of thier nonsensical talking animal films. If I want talking animals, I'll watch Princess Mononoke

3) NO MORE MASS MARKETING CAMPAIGNS!!!! I think that is the most annoying thing about EVERY Disney Movie.

Great... (1)

Spud Zeppelin (13403) | more than 13 years ago | (#376011)

Now, just like the window-peeping scene in The Rescuers and the phallic mushrooms in The Little Mermaid, we have to be on the lookout for some guy named Guido showing everyone his Python in all the forthcoming Disney cartoons -- just what every expectant father wants to hear!


Gee, imagine that (1)

Zico (14255) | more than 13 years ago | (#376012)

Could it possibly be because there just naturally happens to be more newsworthy things going on with larger companies (simply because they have their fingers in more pies), but in your simplistic view of the world, the larger a company is, the more evil you find it? Why don't you go to, maybe they'll be thrilled to post the latest adventures of your little three-man anarchist cell.


shrewd advertising (1)

grappler (14976) | more than 13 years ago | (#376013)

And of course this has a plug for python books right in the middle of the text of the article...

Re:Debian should adopt Python (2)

kaisyain (15013) | more than 13 years ago | (#376014)

Actually, last I checked (admittedly several years ago) Debian stuff did use bashisms. At the time I complained, sending an email to the debian maintainers mailing list. I was told it wasn't a real issue because /bin/sh was bash under debian. Of course, it meant that you couldn't replace /bin/sh with anything other than bash without breaking your system horribly. I always thought that /bin/sh should be one of those virtual packages and zsh or ksh or newfoobarsh could then provide /bin/sh if it was actually POSIX compliant.

Disney + Python = ? (3)

KFury (19522) | more than 13 years ago | (#376015)

My first thought on reading the headline was:

What? They're reverting to crudely cut out and meticulously airbrushed Monty Python animation?

Um, cool! ... ?

And there was much rejoicing... "yay..."

Kevin Fox

Re:Python works well in corporate environments (1)

Black Parrot (19622) | more than 13 years ago | (#376016)

> Now that Disney's getting into the action, Python will be more palatable to other suits.

I find rattlesnake much more palatable, though I still don't know whether to serve it with red wine or white.


Speaking of languages... (1)

david_g (24196) | more than 13 years ago | (#376017)

This is pretty off-topic but, what the heck.

People interested in a very cool, completely object-oriented, beautiful, powerful language should check out ruby [] .

I think that ruby's clean syntax and pure object orientation outclasses (is this a word?) perl and python easily.

And, for anyone interested in learning, Dave Thomas and Andy Hunt (who wrote The Pragmatic Programmer [] , a book that all programmers should read) have written a book about ruby [] and placed it under the Open Publication License.

Re:Speaking of languages... (1)

david_g (24196) | more than 13 years ago | (#376018)

Those are books every programmer should read. _The Pragmatic Programmer_, well, is just plain bad.

Do you really think so? To me it's pretty cool. It has a lot of cool tips, and it shows that they like and care about what they do.

Btw, I already have Code Complete and Programming Pearls. Thanks for the tips on the other books, though (although I'm not quite sure if "Thinking Forth" will help me much :).

Re:It's time for a Python topic! (1)

Drinky Crow (27112) | more than 13 years ago | (#376019)

Guido has already said that the preferred Python icon should be the 16-ton weight.

It only makes sense... (2)

TheDullBlade (28998) | more than 13 years ago | (#376020)

"Disney Adopts Python"

Well, they already have over 101 dalmations to feed it with. What else would they do with them, make a coat?

Don't do it Guido! (5)

mav[LAG] (31387) | more than 13 years ago | (#376021)

Don't do it please. Resist the temptation now! Python is not a Mickey Mouse language. We get useful work done with it so don't introduce any jokes like this at your next speaking appointment.

One a slightly less childish note (or perhaps not) I was fantasising about the potential of the EBEDA Public License (Everything But The Evil Double A's Public License). Wouldn't it give you a warm feeling to read that BeOpen Labs had taken legal action against Disney for using Python? viz.:

"Our client has advised us that as a member of the MPAA, you are forbidden to use the Python programming language in any shape or form anywhere in your organisation."

I know it's petty and childish but then is so is the current scenario:

  1. Python released under GPL by hackers
  2. Disney uses Python to help create next movie
  3. Disney sues hackers for wanting to watch same Disney movie on DVD
    • Sigh.

Stop right there! (2)

VP (32928) | more than 13 years ago | (#376022)

I am sure Disney will come to their senses! After all, Microsoft has declared that Open Source is an Intelectual Property killer. Python is Open Source, and I can't believe that such high-profile promoter, defender and benefactor of Intelectual property as Disney is just about to commit suicide...

Re:Debian should adopt Python (2)

divec (48748) | more than 13 years ago | (#376023)

those install scripts [...] do work, and work well - but the mix of bash, perl and sed is an unholy concoction that could stand replacing. Python can do the work of all three in a way that is readable and maintainable.
Debian scripts aren't supposed to use bash, but I guess you meant bourne shell which is a subset so I'll stop being pedantic. Yeah, I'm sure Python could. So could perl. So could sh. Debian is a democracy and script-writers largely do what they want - unless a majority of developers think something's important enough to force everyone to conform to it (things like file system layout, for example).

Re:It's time for a Python topic! (1)

Devil's Avocado (73913) | more than 13 years ago | (#376024)

Hear Hear!

*Amiga* has it's own topic, for God's sake!

Unfortunately, the can of spam is already taken for an icon, and so is the Monty Python foot. How about a dead parrot?

Damn, where are my moderator points when I need 'em?!


Re:It's time for a Python topic! (1)

Devil's Avocado (73913) | more than 13 years ago | (#376025)

You don't program Python, do you?


Re:It's time for a Python topic! (1)

Devil's Avocado (73913) | more than 13 years ago | (#376026)

The rabbit would be very good, but I always liked the penguin on the telly.

Announcer: "It is now time for the penguin on top of your television set to explode."
Penguin: KABOOM!

Is the penguin icon available? :-)


Re:Disney is evil! Disney is good! (2)

Keepiru (78270) | more than 13 years ago | (#376027)

There is a lot of irony in Disney, part of the MPAA/DVD-CCA that claimed the open source movement was "dedicated to the proposition that material, copyrighted or not, should be made available over the Internet for free." [] using Python.
Now they are using software developed by the open source community. Perhaps we should add a new clause to the GPL.
"companies that sue us cannot use GPL software"

Get involved

Cease and desist letters to MPAA (3)

Ukab the Great (87152) | more than 13 years ago | (#376028)

I think it would be interesting to write cease and desist letters to the MPAA and movie studios asking them to please stop using open source software in their movies. It would follow something along the lines of MPAA nasty letters. I'm taking a few liberties with info (Not all the software mentioned is under GPL), so don't split hairs. And it would not be legally binding in the slightest, although it would provide excellent propoganda value, especially if forwarded to the press (if the free press, who are owned by many of the people involved in the lawsuit, don't censor it).

Free Software Foundation Voice: +1-617-542-5942
59 Temple Place - Suite 330 Fax: +1-617-542-2652
Boston, MA 02111-1307, USA
Free Software Foundation


The Free Software Foundation Represents the following projects:

And many other free software projects covered under the GNU Public License (GPL).

We have received information the motion picture studios listed have been using open source software created by the aforementioned open source software projects our organization represents. These projects create their software using the open source engineering model, which your organization and the studios it represents are trying to eliminate through legal action. We request that the following movie studios and all parent companies that own them cease and desist in all usage of open source software.

Columbia Pictures Industries, Inc.
Disney Enterprises, Inc.
Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Studios Inc.
Paramount Pictures Corporation
TriStar Pictures, Inc.
Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation
United Artists Pictures, Inc.
United Artists Corporation
Universal City Studios, Inc.
Warner Bros., a Division of
Time Warner Entertainment Company, L.P.

We have forwarded a copy of this letter to the United States Justice Department for future use in any trial regarding the open source reverse-engineering of the Content Scrambling System (CSS).

Thank you for your prompt attention to this matter

Richard Stallman
Free Software Foundation

Please contact us at the above listed address or by replying to this email if you should have any questions.

Re:Don't do it Guido! (2)

jemfinch (94833) | more than 13 years ago | (#376029)

Python isn't released under the GPL. It's released under a much freer license reminiscent of a two-clause BSD license.


Re:I love Walt Disney! (1)

Peter Harris (98662) | more than 13 years ago | (#376030)

Hey, I already embed sexually-related messages in all my Python code. Maybe that's just me. I'm not sure about the erections though. But please lets not have a zillion posts about embedding erections into various ruminant quadrapeds and repurposed pasta. Anyway, every Python program is a sexually related message: "VB? Fuck off!"

They're not the only one (1)

MrBlack (104657) | more than 13 years ago | (#376031)

I'd have to disagree with some of these points. Firstly I think most people would conceed that to make C++ backwards compatible (with C) some things that would have been good to do weren't done. Python feels like a language that was designed rather than evolving in a more hap-hazard fassion. I like the terse syntax and clarity of python. Perl may be terse but sometimes at the expense of clarity. You imply that anyone who likes python or dislikes certain features in Java or C++ is either a clueless newbie or not a "real programmer" whatever that is. I don't think python claims to be a solution to every problem. Python inter-operates nicely with java (via jython) and there is plenty of python docs on re-writing stuff for C++. Why do you consider python a third-rate scripting language?

Re:Cease and desist letters to MPAA (1)

bockman (104837) | more than 13 years ago | (#376032)

Point 1 : half of the sofware you mentioned is not under GPL but have they own licences ( surely python[bsd like], perl (artistic) and apache (can't remember but not GPL )

Point 2 (more important) : One of the clauses in GPL prevents from discriminating software usage for reason of race, religion, ideals etc ...

A better idea, IMO, would be embed a new module in next standard distribution of the tools you mentioned : python-decss aka apache-decss aka perl-dcss aka Linux API for DeCSS and so on.
Then letting know Disney and Co that they are using the same 'illegal' software theyr lawyers are trying to ban from the internet.

Re:Right tool for the right job (1)

AsbestosRush (111196) | more than 13 years ago | (#376033)

One of the things that many people don't realize is this exact thing. I work with perl zealots, which, while it is a great language, has shortcomings when you need an interface aside from the web or a console. My $0.02USD

Re:about time (1)

malducin (114457) | more than 13 years ago | (#376034)

Yep they used ton of of MEL (Maya Embedded Language) scripts to do a great many deal of things. But it's not like some were a few hundred lines long, but some were several thousands line and in essence became mini apps or plugins for Maya accesible from within Maya and have their mini-GUIs. Some good examples of their MEL scripts use was the CG people walking around the stadium, and the Pods behaviour. And you can get better endorsment than in the Learning Python book from O'Reilly that has a little quote from an ILM TD.

But a ton of other stuff was indeed custom stuff, like their choreography app, cloth simulations, terrain generation, etc.. There are some nifty details here:

ILM tools for Episode 1 at CGW (free reg. required) []

Most major FX companies use some form of scripting or the other. After all since most generate RIBs to render on Photorealistic RenderMan, since they are just huge text files in essence you can massage them with something like Perl before being sent to the renderer. At last years SIGGRAPH course on Dinosaur, they showed this clips of their Maya extensions to do the facial animation, and on the Stuart Little one how hair was handled from Maya.

If you just look at the FX houses recruting pages, you can see that there has been for quite some time demand for scripting langages, from csh to Perl, Tcl/tk and Python.

Kaa (1)

Mr_Icon (124425) | more than 13 years ago | (#376035)

That's what they should call their version of it. (hint: this is an obscure reference to the Jungle Book/Mowgli cartoon)

Re:Great... (3)

donglekey (124433) | more than 13 years ago | (#376036)

Now, just like the window-peeping scene in The Rescuers and the phallic mushrooms in The Little Mermaid, we have to be on the lookout for some guy named Guido showing everyone his Python in all the forthcoming Disney cartoons -- just what every expectant father wants to hear!

Better than a girl showing her Perls for everyone to C, giving away her Ruby, or using a french TCLer or some character taking PHP I guess. Its all industry Smalltalk anyway and just another Scheme by the MPAA. Drinking Java, getting VB from some Gimp girl giving them uncalled-for Access on the first date and not having to decency to Serverlet her breakfeast in the morning.

I'll stop now.

about time (4)

donglekey (124433) | more than 13 years ago | (#376037)

Scripting languages have been a big part of production work for a while and for good reason. Lightwave, 3D studio, Maya, Softimage all have some good scripting languages that enanble some nice benefits from the productive side. I read that the many of huge battle scenes in $tar War$ the Phantom Menace were done with Maya scripts. Not some huge AI package that ILM bought or built in-house, but scripts. High end production demands some kind of programming solution but doesn't need it to be as fast as possible, half the development time and half the speed is a very nice trade off. If you wanted to make a program to automate something you are tired of doing manuall, would you do it in C or Perl? If you chose C you are eighther a glutton for punishment or running on a 286 in my opinion. Computers can be bought, but programmers must be rented, so it doesn't really surprise me, but it does intrigue me.

Re:Computer Animation/Visual FX doing this for yea (2)

RevAaron (125240) | more than 13 years ago | (#376038)

I have to agree with you on that Squeak thing... For those that are sick of perl, and want some even more elgant than Python (with a real IDE, even), I suggest checking out Squeak.

Re:You've heard it before: (2)

cyber-vandal (148830) | more than 13 years ago | (#376039)

Because it's not the l33t gibberish so beloved of men who don't bathe regularly.

the more evil, the better it is? (1)

amphgobb (148975) | more than 13 years ago | (#376040)

is slashdot's editorial policy that the more evil a company is, the more exciting the news when they use open source software? personally i'd like to see news stories about groups using open source to do something cool that they could not afford to do otherwise. but i guess that isnt as good as something that disney does huh. by the way, my use of the word disney throughout this post is probably illegal. fight corporate media! don't become corporate media! []

Disney Crap? (1)

Zenten (163988) | more than 13 years ago | (#376041)

I agree with you on the Little Mermaid, as well as most other disney films. But for some reason mulan wasn't bad, even with the semi anoying dragon. Guess I just have an asian fetish or something.

Author's TOP 10 REASONS he loves Python! (5)

Curious__George (167596) | more than 13 years ago | (#376042)

The author of the ZopeNewbies [] web site reports from the Python Conference in Long Beach, California that "the closing speaker for the conference was Bruce Eckel [] , of "Thinking in C++" and "Thinking in Java" fame. He was a good choice to give the closing talk, as he was without a doubt the most naturally-gifted speaker I saw this week. He says that he is in love with Python, and he reaches for it first to solve his own programming problems.

Moving from C++ to Java results in a 2x improvement in programmer productivity, he says, while the move from C++ to Python results in a 5x to 10x improvement. He is still developing his reasons as to why this is the case, but he believes that Python allows a programmer to focus on concepts, rather than on mechanics.

Lacking any scientific studies, Bruce offered his top ten reasons why he loves Python:

10. Reduced Clutter - The indented nature of Python makes it easier to read, an important criteria since code is read more often than it is written. According the the extreme programming (XP) folks, consistant formatting really is important.

9. It's not Backward Compatible in Exchange for Pain - Many popular languages promote their backward compatability, but at the cost to the programmer of awkward syntax (C++ and Perl) and lots of typing (Java).

8. It Doesn't Value Performance Over Productivity - Rather than forcing the programmer to implement awkward coding sequences for the sake of "speed," Python implements easy-to-learn idioms (but allows extensions to be written in C when performance becomes an issue).

7. It Doesn't Treat Me Like I'm Stupid - Python doesn't prevent operator overloading, doesn't insist on type declarations, and it doesn't pretend to be something that it isn't.

6. I Don't Wait Forever for a Full Implementation of the Language - C++ still does not fully implement features invented by the C++ committee.

5. It Does Not Make Assumptions About How We Discover Errors - Python does not force static type checking, moving the programmer quickly along to the discovery of errors using "real" data.

4. Marketing People Are Not Involved... Yet -- Java and MS Visual C++ have been over-hyped.

3. I Don't Have to Type So Much - Not obscure like APL, not endlessly inventive like Perl or FORTH, not verbose like Java.

2. My Guesses are Usually Right - Java and C++ require programmers to constantly look up syntax in a language reference. Python idioms are easier.

1. Python Let Me Focus on Concepts - No stumbling through Java designs, no fighting with C++ compilations or runtime bugs."

PS...if you've been living under a rock, Zope [] is the Open Source Application server and is Python's "killer app". Also, Bruce's books are available for free online and available from mirrors listed at []

Curious George

Re:And quit plundering (1)

dolbywan_kenobi (168484) | more than 13 years ago | (#376043)

I don t think too many realize that Hans Christian wrote the original.

Re:about time (1)

EvlPenguin (168738) | more than 13 years ago | (#376044)

If you wanted to make a program to automate something you are tired of doing manuall, would you do it in C or Perl?




Re:Right tool for the right job (1)

EvlPenguin (168738) | more than 13 years ago | (#376045)

perl -le '$_="6110>374086;2064208213:90][ LEOR!AUBGNSTY];print'

I couldn't agree with you more.


Re:It's time for a Python topic! (2)

Abreu (173023) | more than 13 years ago | (#376046)


We want our Slashdot icon!!!

The dead parrot is a good idea, but my vote goes to the ferocious rabbit.

C'mon, flame me!

Alice (4)

Happy Monkey (183927) | more than 13 years ago | (#376047)

The guy [] who's in charge of the Alice [] project, a Python based 3D/VR environment designed for beginners, has been working with Disney extensively. He mainly concentrates on interactive rides rather than movies, though.

Re:I love Walt Disney! (1)

shokk (187512) | more than 13 years ago | (#376048)

Looks like I misinterpreted how you were to go about doing that last part and they now have me cleaning out my desk.

Re:You've heard it before: (1)

shokk (187512) | more than 13 years ago | (#376049)

What could be more entertaining than real religious wars, but religious wars in the computer world...

I love Walt Disney! (5)

xmutex (191032) | more than 13 years ago | (#376050)

Wow. Disney's doing Python. That's great.. Some things we can look forward to:

1. A complete misrepresentation of Python's history.

2. Horrible, obnoxious, loathesome songs by Elton John singing the praises of Python and the open-source movement.

2. Python coders being paid $0.10 a day in faraway lands to produce Disney-related work.

3. Erections and sexually-related messages secretly embedded into all Python code.

I love it!

Mein Mickey, I can walk!

Re:Excuse me (1)

stubob (204064) | more than 13 years ago | (#376051)

Shopkeeper: Listen, tell you what. I'll file its legs down a bit, take its snout out, stick a few wires through its cheeks. There you are, a lovely pussy cat.

Man: Its not a proper cat.

Shopkeeper: What do you mean?

Man: Well it wouldn't meow.

Shopkeeper: Well it would howl a bit.

Man: No, no, no, no. Er, have you got a parrot?

Shopkeeper: No, I'm afraid not actually guv, we're fresh out of parrots. I'll tell you what though ... I'll lop its back legs off, make good, strip the fur, stick a couple of wings on and staple on a beak of your own choice. [taking small box and rattling it] No problem. Lovely parrot.

Man: How long would that take?

Shopkeeper: Oh, let me see ... er, stripping the fur off, no legs ... [calling] Harry ... can you do a parrot job on this terrier straight away?

Harry: (Graham Chapman, off-screen) No, I'm still putting a tuck in the Airedale, and then I got the frogs to let out.

Shopkeeper: Friday?

Man: No I need it for tomorrow. It's a present.

Shopkeeper: Oh dear, it's a long job. You see parrot conversion ... Tell you what though, for free, terriers make lovely fish. I mean I could do that for you straight away. Legs off, fins on, stick a little pipe through the back of its neck so it can breathe, bit of gold paint, make good ...

Man: You'd need a very big tank.

Shopkeeper: It's a great conversation piece.

Man: Yes, all right, all right ... but, uh, only if I can watch.

Nice headline (2)

micromoog (206608) | more than 13 years ago | (#376052)

Disney Animation Adopts Python

Is this how they plan to dispose of the occasional screwed-up Mickey Mouse?

It's been awhile... (1)

Z4rd0Z (211373) | more than 13 years ago | (#376053)

since we've had a good ol' fashioned Python vs. Perl flame war here on Slashdot. Thanks, Taco, for this opportunity.

Re:It's time for a Python topic! (1)

Z4rd0Z (211373) | more than 13 years ago | (#376054)

How about, um, a python?

Re:When does copyright on 1st M. Mouse toon expire (1)

m2e (215374) | more than 13 years ago | (#376055)

Of course, now with DMCA, Disney don't need to extend copyright. There will be no way to legally extract Steamboat Willie from DVD or some-fancy-new-medium and all tapes, films etc. will be already unusable.

Re:Disney (1)

Bug2000 (235500) | more than 13 years ago | (#376057)

We will continue to use C++, Java, Perl, and a number of other languages, but Python certainly will have its place.

That's not such a big deal I agree. It only means that for a certain kind of activity they use what they think is the best language. Having Python among these is a small step for Disney, but a big step for the Python community, a good way to be legitimated in any case. Disney has been for some time in the open source business (can I put these words together ?) like with search engine and their Tea language so I'm not surprised that they get into Python now. One potential very good aspect of this proof of interest though is there is now a real chance that some Disney graphists will be kind enough to propose new flashy ideas to replace their crappy logo [] .

Python for the Slashdot crowd (2)

f3e2 (235629) | more than 13 years ago | (#376058)

If you're behind the curve and just now figuring out that you should learn Python, do yourself a favor and read Dive Into Python [] .

Just as Python itself doesn't treat you like you're stupid, Dive Into Python assumes that you're smart and that you have a working knowledge of at least one other real language, be it Perl, Java, or C++. It was written with the Slashdot crowd in mind (well, the Slashdot crowd as I see it -- but I read at +2 nested reparented).

Oh, and it's under the GNU Free Documentation License. To quote everybody's favorite communist RMS, "Free software deserves free documentation."

Share and enjoy.


"Ryan Koppenhaver" a known troll (1)

OlympicSponsor (236309) | more than 13 years ago | (#376059)

The brainiacs at geekizoid think that this "Ryan" person is me. (they are wrong, which shows just how dumb they are) Anyway, they created this account to try to annoy "me" and are trolling with it to give it negative karma.
Non-meta-modded "Overrated" mods are killing Slashdot

What's the Big Idea? (1)

TekkonKinkreet (237518) | more than 13 years ago | (#376060)

I saw a lecture in '99 by Cassidy Curtis, the TD (technical director, for the rest of you) on David Gainey's "Fishing" among other remarkable shorts.

He spoke about the need for perl and the like to glue together the bits in a pipeline process. He would take the z-buffer for a frame and take the cross product with the gradient, use the vector to drag a pen stroke which decayed with distance, and wound up with a beautiful squiggly outline of the original object. Then you flatten out the colors in the original, overlay your lines, and they look like loosely inked color barriers in a comic strip.

Anyway, the point was that each of these was a separate utility, and you needed the scripts to lay them all end to end.

Re:When does copyright on 1st M. Mouse toon expire (1)

arnex (238036) | more than 13 years ago | (#376061)

It's only been 73 years, actually, since Steamboat Willie was copyrighted (1928), and thanks to Sonny Bono, it won't expire under current law until 2023 (95 years). That gives Disney, Inc. 22 years to lobby Congress for another law to extend it yet again.

The character of Mickey Mouse is covered separately as a trademark, I'm sure, so regardless of whether Steamboat Willie ever drops into the public domain, I doubt you'll ever be able to capitalize on the image of the mouse in and of itself.

But of course, IANALNAIAABIAFKCWWSIA. (I am not a lawyer, nor am I an animator, but I am from Kansas City where Walt started it all.)

Talking animals rule. (1)

Graham_Thomas (255229) | more than 13 years ago | (#376062)

2) Develop a script to write a script! While I will admit that the animation is of a good quality, they haven't had a script since The Black Cauldron, just more of thier nonsensical talking animal films.

Cmon! You can't be serious! All hackers love talking animals. Stop being weird :P

Actually might be semi-feasible... (1)

paranormalized (278300) | more than 13 years ago | (#376063)

Or at least we could prevent them from using the latest, greatest up-to-date versions of the software. Here's the angle.

While released under various Open Source licenses, there still is the original copyright ownership to consider. If every sympathetic hacker added an addendum to their patches arguing that certain companies/subsidiaries couldn't use these until the DMCA is repealed, well, they own the copyright to those patches, don't they? We could force the movie studios to fork their own versions, and go it alone, while incompatibilities pile up between the movie-studio versions and the better, more public versions. It might temporarily hurt the cause of Open Source deployment, but it might be worth it, in ensuring our future rights...

IANASRP- I am not a self-referential phrase

Python (2)

deran9ed (300694) | more than 13 years ago | (#376064)

Pretty neat that Disney would use Python, maybe now more shops will realize how easy and functional Python is to use.

When I worked at one of the largest Latin American web content providers, we had an almost all Python based shop which worked wonders. About the only complaint I ever had was not learning Python earlier. As for Python vs. Perl in my opinion, there are subtle differences for using Perl and diff's for using Python. When it comes to GUI based apps, I've never seen anything easier than Python, and have always figured Perl was best for text/command line/terminal based work.

Aside from this rambling, personal experiences in my eyes show Python's methods are easier to understand and get a grap than Perl's.

while($rant =~ /[a-z]['")]*[.!?]+['")]*\s/g) {

print "shuddup your $nonsense makes no sense\n";

Right tool for the right job (1)

ryants (310088) | more than 13 years ago | (#376065)

I've used both Python and Perl, and I've always been happy with both. For the kinds of things the Disney guy was talking about, Python is the right tool (or so my experience has taught me). For other kinds of work (processing/parsing text files, automating some task, etc.), Perl is the right tool.

Ryan T. Sammartino

Re:Another important announcement: (1)

Feeling bored (317022) | more than 13 years ago | (#376066)

Yeah, my posts are feeling very bored.

Mice playing with snakes? (2)

jdog44 (318845) | more than 13 years ago | (#376067)

Hmmm, that just doesnt seem right...

Quite a write-up. (1)

Ryan Koppenhaver (322154) | more than 13 years ago | (#376068)

Come on, folks. If you can be bothered to submit a story, you can at least write it up!

As for you, Taco, you should demand better. Do you have so few submissions that you have to post every submission you get? I find that hard to believe. I don't mean to sound too condemning, but I really believe Slashdot can do better.

research for WDFA (3)

HempCar (323294) | more than 13 years ago | (#376069)

as part of my last year of college (99-00) i was part of a group of four students that was sponsored by WDFA to do research on this very subject. we designed and implemented an algorithm to add a random yet not "jittery" sense movement to line art, in order to save labor and eliminate the need for "tracebacks", hand traces over previously drawn images to create the same effect.

disney was very pleased with our results, but we never designed any sort of interface, just the algorithm. i had been wondering what they were going to wrap it with, but now i see that they're using python. i guess now they'll put this into some sort of GUI.

oh and they never paid us anything for our year of labor, just the pleasure of becoming acclimated to a corporate environment. our school got a nice fat check (far less than they would have had to pay us though).

Re:Disney employees love Amigas. (1)

hondo77 (324058) | more than 13 years ago | (#376070)

No, they didn't use Amigas. They used SGI's, just like everybody else.

Get a Clue (1)

hondo77 (324058) | more than 13 years ago | (#376071)

"The Lion King" has made over a billion $$ for Disney by NOT following your suggestions. Wake up.

Re:WDFA::Shortcomings (1)

hondo77 (324058) | more than 13 years ago | (#376072)

They couldn't successfully finish the project with C++ or Perl, might as well try Python. Oh yeah, it MUST be the languages' fault ;-).

Re:Disney employees love Amigas. (1)

hondo77 (324058) | more than 13 years ago | (#376073)

There is no such thing as a lead animator for a movie. Disney TV Animation used Amigas way back when but WDFA doesn't use Amigas.

Re:Disney employees love Amigas. (1)

hondo77 (324058) | more than 13 years ago | (#376074)

Maya, in-house tools, and more. Basically, whatever they could get their hands on that did what they needed it to do.

Re:Get a Clue (1)

hondo77 (324058) | more than 13 years ago | (#376075)

Animators make plenty, not even counting the huge bonuses handed out for TLK. Don't cry for animators. TLK was not the same as Mermaid, not the same as Hercules, and nothing is the same as Atlantis.

Re:Disney employees love Amigas. (1)

hondo77 (324058) | more than 13 years ago | (#376076)

Let's be absolutely clear on this: Disney does not use Amigas to render for their feature films. Period. Not "The Rescuers Down Under", not "The Lion King", not "Atlantis". THEY DO NOT USE AMIGAS.

Amigas were used by TV Animation for "Tale Spin" way back when. WDFA just doesn't use them. Why would they?

Re:It's time for a Python topic! (1)

inha (324180) | more than 13 years ago | (#376077)

Rabbit is taken by the fine Plan 9 folks.
I'd vote for exploded penguin :)
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