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Linux Used To Make "Star Trek, Nemesis"

timothy posted more than 11 years ago | from the don't-you-mean-dilithium-kernel dept.

Graphics 249

Mike McCune writes "The "Linux Journal" has a nice article about the switch from Irix to Linux at Digital Domain and the use of Linux in 'Star Trek, Nemesis.' I guess this means that Linux is finally ready for 'The Enterprise.'"

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IN SOVIET RUSSIA... (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4837983)

it gets a bit cold at this time of year.

0th post ? (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4837986)

0th post ?

No (5, Funny)

RAMMS+EIN (578166) | more than 11 years ago | (#4837991)

``I guess this means that Linux is finally ready for 'The Enterprise.'''
No. It means the Enterprise is finally ready for Linux.

The big question (5, Funny)

Fembot (442827) | more than 11 years ago | (#4838032)

Can it automaitcaly re-modulate the phase buffer to route power to the primary shields without someone having to crawl through dark monster infeseted tunnels?

Re:The big question (5, Funny)

cioxx (456323) | more than 11 years ago | (#4838122)

Yes. With a kernel patch codenamed "Omega 9".

Re:The big question (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4838340)

It's called a Jeffries Tube ...

Re:No (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4838345)

In Duras Kronos, the Enterprise is ready for Linux!

Data... (5, Funny)

coryboehne (244614) | more than 11 years ago | (#4837992)

I wonder if Data runs on an advanced version of the Linux kernel... It would explain his lack of humor....

Re:Data... (1, Flamebait)

iomud (241310) | more than 11 years ago | (#4838057)

Maybe it also explains his aversion to contractions.

Re:Data... (2)

digitalsushi (137809) | more than 11 years ago | (#4838301)

Maybe the next version of Data will come with bzip?

Re:Data... (2)

JessLeah (625838) | more than 11 years ago | (#4838059)

Lack of humor? Donno, there is some pretty humorous stuff in the kernel. :) "lpX: printer on fire"? And don't forget all those fun fun swear words... the Linux kernel is not only funny, it's PG-rated!

Re:Data... (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4838162)

My idiot friend recently installed RH 8 and jumped on IRC with a client rinning from root. It gave him the verbatim "Running IRC from root is stupid" message, and he wouldn't shut up about it for the next few weeks: "Linux called me stupid"

Those wacky Windows people.

Re:Data... (1)

Subcarrier (262294) | more than 11 years ago | (#4838163)

Lack of humor? Donno, there is some pretty humorous stuff in the kernel.

Lack of humor is available as a separate patch. Linus has so far refused to integrate it into his tree, because it touches a lot of things, there is no conclusive evidence that it improves performance, and we don't need another source of instability right before the 2.6 release. For giggles, you can compile it as a module, though.

Re:Data... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4838262)

OMG, that was SO funny! You, sir, are a comedic genius, in the long tradition of Steve Martin, the 3 stooges, and Richard Pryor. I practically wet myself at the hillarity of your joke. Wait, oh, yep, I read it again and that pushed me over the edge. Magnificent. I will change my underwear now. No doubt the moderators will reward your clever humor with a +1000 funny moderation.

Bah.

Grooooaaannn! (5, Funny)

RavenDarkholme (27245) | more than 11 years ago | (#4837996)



I guess this means that Linux is finally ready for 'The Enterprise.'

Urge ... to ... KILL ... rising.

For that, you should surely be PUNished.

The deeper meaning of switching from Irix to Linux (5, Insightful)

Frothy Walrus (534163) | more than 11 years ago | (#4838006)

When companies switch from Irix to Linux, it means one of two things:

* they bought new SGI workstations, which run Linux, OR
* they couldn't afford SGI workstations, so they bought other Intel workstations with Linux.

It's not an amazing breakthrough jump. It's just that SGI barely sells Irix machines anymore.

Re:The deeper meaning of switching from Irix to Li (1)

TheShadow (76709) | more than 11 years ago | (#4838022)

It's just that SGI barely sells Irix machines anymore.

That's a shame... because Irix is a really nice OS. Too bad they didn't port it to Intel...

Re:The deeper meaning of switching from Irix to Li (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4838177)

Are you kidding? Irix has more holes than swiss cheese.

Re:The deeper meaning of switching from Irix to Li (1)

Monkey-Man2000 (603495) | more than 11 years ago | (#4838073)

It's not an amazing breakthrough jump. It's just that SGI barely sells Irix machines anymore.

I think you miss the point. The reason SGI is probably selling less Irix machines is that Linux is available, cheaper, and does what buyers want.

Re:The deeper meaning of switching from Irix to Li (5, Insightful)

Twirlip of the Mists (615030) | more than 11 years ago | (#4838155)

The reason SGI is probably selling less Irix machines is that Linux is available, cheaper, and does what buyers want.

No. Five years ago, SGI was selling fewer IRIX machines because Windows NT was available, cheaper, and did what buyers wanted. Two years ago, it was because Windows 2000 was available, cheaper, and did what buyers wanted. Last year it was Linux. This year it's Mac OS X. Who knows what it will be next year?

The fact that Linux is displacing IRIX in a lot of cases says much more about SGI than it does about Linux.

Benchmarking software on different hardware :( (2)

Flamesplash (469287) | more than 11 years ago | (#4838127)

Given their stock performance it doesn't look like SGI does much of anything anymore.

I should have never bought at $15 3 years ago, My commission would be more than the sale price.

"It ran three times faster on our Linux Alphas than on our IRIX SGI machines."

Ya think? They are different hardware. What I'd like to know is if there was actually a SGI machine that could meet the Alpha's performance. Harware money for a CG outfit like this shouldn't really be a problem, especially if they are just up front costs.

Re:The deeper meaning of switching from Irix to Li (1, Insightful)

mondoterrifico (317567) | more than 11 years ago | (#4838131)

Did you read the article? Guess not.

"It ran three times faster on our Linux Alphas than on our IRIX SGI machines"

The switch to linux was based on performance issues.

Slashbots, should read the article before posting.

Flamewar in the cinema (0, Offtopic)

KAMiKAZOW (455500) | more than 11 years ago | (#4838153)

This reminds me of a posting [heise.de] I once read.

"Haha, look... the lamer goes into the Intel movie."
"You have no clue. Intel movies have a lot higher image quality than AMD movies."
"Pah, but you the story line of Linux movies is crap, while Windows movies rock!"
"Nah, Windows movies are the most sucking movies around. You can only see a blue screen when it get's exciting. Mac movies rule!"
...

Re:Flamewar in the cinema (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4838176)

I want my 15 seconds back.

Re:The deeper meaning of switching from Irix to Li (5, Informative)

dcavens (178673) | more than 11 years ago | (#4838171)

I'm not sure if that's true. Looking over SGI's website, they don't seem to sell ANY linux based workstations any more. Only the Fuel and the Octane2 (both IRIX/MIPS machines.)

They do have a yet-to-be-released NUMA Linux system based on Itanium, but it probably shouldn't be thought of as a workstation.

I'm guessing you're probably right though that "SGI barely sells Irix machines". Not sure how many they're selling, but they're still cettainly losing money. [sgi.com]

Re:The deeper meaning of switching from Irix to Li (1)

Skuld-Chan (302449) | more than 11 years ago | (#4838337)

I dunno - you consider how few actual mips based SGI machines can run linux (like the indy and indigo only pretty much - which these days are pretty old) you have to figure they are using Linux on Intel most likely.

proves that once you have the application (3, Insightful)

zenst (558964) | more than 11 years ago | (#4838007)

The only thing that holds ANY OS or hardware back is applications. Given how well and cheaply a cluster of linux box's can be put together its only a matter of time before people start adopting it. Also the like of MQSERIES (now part of websphere unfortunatly) are available on linux and offer a very simple way to migrate legacy CICS applications or parts of from expensive mainframes, and in a reliable assured way.

And don't forget... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4838008)

Wesley Crusher [wilwheaton.net] uses linux, too!

Sweet!!! One question down...one to go (0, Offtopic)

nebenfun (530284) | more than 11 years ago | (#4838012)

Does it support Ogg Vorbis?

I really want to be able to watch the movie.
nbfn

Don't worry (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4838026)

It'll be out shortly with Ogg Vorbis audio for download from your favorite sources everywhere.

No no wrong question (1, Offtopic)

gatesh8r (182908) | more than 11 years ago | (#4838041)

Choose one of the following:


RPM or DEB? vi or emacs? Which distro is it? Do we have to smack them for having a newbie distro? Do they have the latest patches?

Re:Sweet!!! One question down...one to go (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4838106)

Does it support Ogg Vorbis? I really want to be able to watch the movie.

Sucks to be you. Try getting a real distribution that supports mp3 audio next time like the other 99.99% of the world. Luser.

Re:Sweet!!! One question down...one to go (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4838164)

Myself, I would have said, "Try buying a ticket and seeing the movie in a theater like the other 99.99% of the world. Fucking pirate asshole." But that's just me.

Re:Sweet!!! One question down...one to go (1)

saskboy (600063) | more than 11 years ago | (#4838250)

Didn't you know? The reason we can hear phaser and photon blasts in the space battle scenes is because the vacuum of space actually is Ogg Vorbis compressed nothingness, and Ogg decoders are built secretly into spaceship hulls. Without the Ogg decoders, the Enterprise wouldn't be able to decode alien transmissions.

..heh (-1, Offtopic)

slipped (607955) | more than 11 years ago | (#4838013)

"I guess this means that Linux is finally ready for 'The Enterprise.'"" That isn't funny. At all.

Sequel (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4838014)

and for the sequel - the use of Linux in making
M$, Nemesis :)

yet another movie using a linux cluster.... (3, Interesting)

wuchang (524603) | more than 11 years ago | (#4838015)

maybe you guys should post articles on movies that don't do their CGI with a Linux cluster (along with their cost of production).

Re:yet another movie using a linux cluster.... (0)

shazbotus (623281) | more than 11 years ago | (#4838205)

Do their "CGI" with a linux cluster? I dont think we are talking about web interfaces here. You must mean CG. Just messin' around. BTW, I have noticed a lot of companies using Linux clusters, it must have something to do with the fact that Linux is the best OS.

Re:yet another movie using a linux cluster.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4838264)

I have noticed a lot of companies going bankrupt, it must have something to do with the fact that Linux is the best OS.

I've said it before... (-1, Troll)

TrollBridge (550878) | more than 11 years ago | (#4838020)

...and I'll say it again. THIS ISN'T FUCKING NEWS! What's next, "Linux used to wipe fat man's ass" gracing the headlines? We all understand that "Linux used in X" or "X company/organization chooses Linux" stories are just filler, so please cut the bullshit and post real news stories.

REALLY?! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4838053)

"Linux used to wipe fat man's ass"

Details! I want details! Are there pictures? An FAQ?

Re:REALLY?! (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4838076)

I'd be willing to bet that Linux had something to do with wiping this ass [goatse.cx] .

Re:I've said it before... (1)

jimmy_dean (463322) | more than 11 years ago | (#4838094)

I happen to like this type of news very much so. An in terms of enterprise acceptance, it's important to hear other stories of adoption and success with the Linux OS.

Re:I've said it before... (1)

TrollBridge (550878) | more than 11 years ago | (#4838136)

The problem I have with it is that it's essentially the same story, different place.

We know Linux has these capabilities to meet the needs of the entertainment industry (as illustrated in countless "Linux used to make X-movie" stories). Are we so insecure of Linux's potential that we need to keep patting ourselves on the back for business as usual?

I know I'm burning kharma here, but I'm tired of reading the same story over and over again.

Re:I've said it before... (3, Informative)

Twirlip of the Mists (615030) | more than 11 years ago | (#4838179)

An in terms of enterprise acceptance... ...it's irrelevant. Movie special effects are not what people mean when they say "the enterprise." If you want to talk about Linux in the enterprise, you're going to have to talk about productivity and messaging and stuff like that. Stuff the average white-collar business drones need.

Re:I've said it before... (1)

TrollBridge (550878) | more than 11 years ago | (#4838202)

Actually, in regards to this particular story, I'd be afraid that "enterprise acceptance" would be ministerpreted by many here as an endorsement of Linux by the United Federation of Planets.

Re:I've said it before... (5, Funny)

tortap-0 (306464) | more than 11 years ago | (#4838116)

"so please cut the bullshit and post real news stories"

You are new to slashdot, right?

Linux is Ready (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4838021)

Print the kernal source code on toilet paper, and Linux will finally be ready for my ass too!

I can see it now... (2, Funny)

Yiddishkite (525633) | more than 11 years ago | (#4838025)

"From Red Hat to Red Shirt"

Re:I can see it now... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4838146)

That's funny shiz......

Puns... (0, Offtopic)

Vardamir (266484) | more than 11 years ago | (#4838028)

aren't really funny, except in the way that they make me really angry when I hear them.

Ho hum, whatever.... (5, Insightful)

Profane Motherfucker (564659) | more than 11 years ago | (#4838029)

Here's the deal: a switch from IRIX to Linux doesn't mean a fucking thing. They've switched from one variant of Unix to another. What was gained in the end? A net gain overall for Unix of not a fucking thing. Zero.

If they switched from Windows- or Mac-based machines, then this would be legit. Other than that it's meaningless in the sense of Linux is Taking Over.

That's all fine and great that it makes for a good story, but if the point is to claim that somehow people are realizing the benefits of Unix-derived operating systems, then it means squat.

Re:Ho hum, whatever.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4838066)

Linux isn't a variant of Unix - its a Unix clone.

Linux is only referred to as a version of Unix because Microsoft try to blur the lines when talking TCO..

Re:Ho hum, whatever.... (4, Interesting)

jimmy_dean (463322) | more than 11 years ago | (#4838068)

If they switched from Windows- or Mac-based machines, then this would be legit. Other than that it's meaningless in the sense of Linux is Taking Over.

Mac OS X is more Unix than Linux is...Linux is only a clone of Unix functionality and style. But jump forward in time to today and Linux is very much doing its one thing - blazing new trails in speed, stability, and of course acceptance of a free OS in the enterprise sector of business.

Re:Ho hum, whatever.... (0, Troll)

ksw2 (520093) | more than 11 years ago | (#4838137)

Open source, Einstein. Big fucking difference.

Re:Ho hum, whatever.... (2)

IamTheRealMike (537420) | more than 11 years ago | (#4838183)

If they switched from Windows- or Mac-based machines, then this would be legit. Other than that it's meaningless in the sense of Linux is Taking Over.

Why? Windows, MacOS X and IRIX are all to some extent POSIX compliant, as is Linux.

Linux has something none of those do of course. I won't bother going into what that something is, I think we've all got the general idea by now.

Re:Ho hum, whatever.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4838223)

you used to swear a lot more back when you posted at -1. your comments were better then.

-a troll

Re:Ho hum, whatever.... (5, Informative)

spitzak (4019) | more than 11 years ago | (#4838287)

Linux has replaced a significant number of NT machines at Digital Domain, both on the desktop and in the renderfarm. The machines are not being bought to replace Irix machines, they are being bought instead of Windows machines. And they are being bought for Linux itself, not because Linux is cheaper (each machine has a W2K license because they are dual-boot in case we need a huge LightWave render, and we pay for RedHat, so they are more expensive!).

Although we still have lots of Irix machines around we use them only because their cost is zero (since we already own them). Believe me Irix is not even considered in any consideration for purchases. We also have a lot of the SGI 320 NT workstations, which were a huge mistake, neither W2K or Linux work right on them. It was a direct competition between Linux and Windows and Linux won.

We could not consider Mac until OS/X came out. I understand it is quite popular at other places, and if our software is ported (which should not be hard) I think it will be popular at Digital Domain. Unless Linux GUI is improved considerably in the next 2 years it may find itself pushed back into the renderfarm and servers and off the desktop by OS/X.

Quote... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4838031)

Anyone remeber the old bumper sticker campaign from back in the original trek days? How about changing it to :

I grok /proc

Linux.Growing up & soon out of the house. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4838037)

As I said on OSNews this is good. Doesn't really help the "poor" person, since what's being ported is high-end and inhouse apps. But you'll note that the beaten path is similiar to the one NT took all those years ago. So this does indeed boad well for Linux.

Ready for the Enterprise (5, Funny)

Kong the Medium (232629) | more than 11 years ago | (#4838038)

I thought,Linux was ready for the enterpise since Kernel 1.7.0.1-D.

Re:Ready for the Enterprise (1)

saskboy (600063) | more than 11 years ago | (#4838277)

And here I am still flying along in OS/2 WARP. Can't wait for version 10...

Little help?

Borg (2, Interesting)

frozencesium (591780) | more than 11 years ago | (#4838044)

At least MS didn't assimilate them...

seriously though...the switching to linux by bigger and more mainstream companies has always been a topic arround here. the comments will come about how linux "is finaly making it". i guess people ARE starting to realize that there are some benifits not paying the SGI premium prices to do awesome 3d rendering, compositing, rotoscoping, etc. don't get my wrong, i love sgi hardware...but i hate the price.

-frozen

pfff (5, Funny)

grub (11606) | more than 11 years ago | (#4838048)


Rendering pretty pictures is oh-so-boring. I'd like to sit in front of a mic at a console, utter the command "Make it sew!" then watch a beowulf cluster of Singers make the whole crew wardrobe in 4 minutes, including the time needed for Troi's custom boob expansion panels.

Stop this instant! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4838271)

"Make it sew!"
Nooooooo!! No more crappy puns, pleeeeeeaaaaaaasseeeee!!!!

L-Cars Skin (1)

Malicious (567158) | more than 11 years ago | (#4838065)

That's quite the LCARS Skin they use onboard... I wonder if it's Gnome or KDE?

Re:L-Cars Skin (4, Funny)

saskboy (600063) | more than 11 years ago | (#4838297)

Data:
Captain, I'm unable to complete your command. I mistakenly typed in www.abcnew.com when researching current events, and now my console is flooded by what 21st Century humans called "Pop-ups". They are replicating faster than I can close them. I recommmend a complete LCARS shutdown.

Captain:
DAMNIT! I told them we should have installed Adaware at spacedock!

But.. (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4838072)

..does it run Linux?

Ready For The Enterprise... (1)

fredrikj (629833) | more than 11 years ago | (#4838074)

...but when will it be ready for us Klingons?

./ away (1)

frozencesium (591780) | more than 11 years ago | (#4838080)

#1: i recomend we commence the ./'ing

pickard: make it so...

btw...anyone know if it would be possible to ./ data? i think it would funny to see him lie twitching on the floor from an input overload ;-)

-frozen

Re:./ away (4, Funny)

Textbook Error (590676) | more than 11 years ago | (#4838170)

btw...anyone know if it would be possible to ./ data?

Uh, no. You see, web servers are from real life. Data is a character on a TV show.

Re:./ away (2)

sg_oneill (159032) | more than 11 years ago | (#4838310)

DoH! Ya have to spoil it for everyone.

*sulk*

Does this mean there is less chance (4, Funny)

dubbayu_d_40 (622643) | more than 11 years ago | (#4838087)

of it crashing at the box office?

I here by mod... (-1, Troll)

StingRayGun (611541) | more than 11 years ago | (#4838090)

I here by mod the original post +1 to 2:Funny

Thats nothing (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4838092)

I heard that someones making a movie using the HURD!

Its hurting so just in case (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4838099)

Robin speaks with the studio Digital Domain on using Linux to render special effects in Star Trek Nemesis and other films.

Linux got its first big Hollywood break in 1997 when Venice, California studio Digital Domain (D2) used Linux to render the special effects for the hit movie Titanic. We spoke with D2 while they were in production using Linux with Star Trek Nemesis, which has a scheduled release date of December 13, 2002. D2 uses Linux for both renderfarm servers and artist desktops.

D2 has used Linux for 21 motion pictures, including best visual effects Academy Award winners Titanic and What Dreams May Come. D2 has won two Scientific and Technical Achievement Academy Awards: one for Track motion tracking software and the other for the compositing software NUKE.

Like most studios, D2 was primarily using SGI hardware running SGI's IRIX variant of UNIX, both on renderfarm servers and artist workstations. Experiments at D2 with Dante's Peak in 1996 proved that a move to Linux was feasible. ``The Linux renderfarm came first'', notes D2 Digital Production and Technology Creative Director Judith Crow. ``With Titanic we were working with a company called Areté using Renderworld, their ocean-simulation software. It ran three times faster on our Linux Alphas than on our IRIX SGI machines.'' While the renderfarm paved the way, applications such as NUKE and Houdini pushed Linux to the desktop.

Figure 1. Preparing to insert a star field into the window of a spacecraft using NUKE. The tree graph to the right is a nodal view of the composite script.

A compositor is what software artists use for overlaying moving images, for example, the starship Enterprise flying past a background matte of a space station. ``Digital Domain has been running NUKE on Linux since 1997 when it was used extensively on Titanic'', says Digital Effects Supervisor Jonathan Egstad. Egstad, along with D2's Bill Spitzak, Paul Van Camp and Price Pethel received an Academy Award for the NUKE compositor.

``NUKE is essentially a 2-D renderer'', says Egstad. ``It is five or six times faster on Linux than IRIX, but it wasn't until the beginning of 2001 that the Linux GUI was able to run fast. Back in 1993, NUKE was the original scanline-based design. It only took 20MB of RAM to render a typical composite instead hundreds of megabytes.'' Later commercial compositor applications, such as Shake, the popular node-based compositor sold by Apple, have a similar design.

``There are many instances where 2-D can assist in the workload'', points out Egstad:

We can build a complete 3-D scene in NUKE then refer to that in a 3-D package like Maya and vice versa. A 3-D scene can be created and rendered in Nuke3, complete with lighting, texturing and shader support--diffuse, Blinn and Phong are built-in. There's a complete 3-D subsystem in NUKE. That's a trend in all 2-D packages. 2-D packages are more and more turning into 3-D packages.

Houdini, a commercial 3-D package of which D2 is a big user, offers its own integrated compositor called Halo in its latest version. As with NUKE, it is hierarchy-based in conjunction with 2-D hierarchy. D2 also uses the commercial 3-D packages LightWave and Maya.

FLTK, the Window Toolkit of NUKE

NUKE version 3 has been in use at D2 since 2001, running on Linux, IRIX and Windows. D2's first Linux renderfarm was on Digital Alphas and still gets some use. The NUKE design retained the keystrokes used in IRIX, so users, especially freelancers working at D2, wouldn't face a learning curve when moving between operating systems. ``The NUKE interface is deliberately Spartan, designed more toward feature work'', notes Egstad. ``It probably has the strongest color-correction tools of any major package.''

D2's Linux Movies

D2 had requests for years to make NUKE into a commercial product for use by other studios, and the pressure increased after Apple purchased industry-leader Shake. Studios became concerned when Apple dallied with announcing future Linux support.

``We've founded the D2 Software Company to sell and market NUKE and other applications that currently exist or don't exist within the studio'', says Digital Production and Technology VP Michael Taylor. He continues:

We have NUKE evaluation sites out in the field. We're providing the latest NUKE 3 version that we use internally. About two years ago when making the decision to do a complete NUKE rewrite incorporating a 3-D into 2-D model, we considered switching to Shake, but decided we had a better program.

Taylor says Linux, Windows and IRIX versions will be available in early 2003. There are no plans yet for Mac OS X. Pricing starts under $10K US, which is comparable to Shake. For students, there will be a free-of-charge or inexpensive version, comparable to the apprentice versions of Maya and Houdini.

Digital compositor Brian Begun describes working on a scene in NUKE for Star Trek Nemesis:

I'm working on a temp, that's a shot that isn't finished--isn't ready for film. We have a production intranet for each show we work on with a web page for each shot. A lot of artists need to share information. Our job system uses Netscape with a lot of HTML forms and a server written in Perl. Rather than files in directories, we have links in directories. We can keep files in any directory on any drive anywhere without seeing what drive it is on. This allows our Systems department to juggle our disk space when necessary and to use it as efficiently as possible, without affecting production.

Begun walks us through setting up a typical effect in NUKE--moving the Enterprise across a star field:

Figure 2. A NUKE window displays an OpenGL 3-D wireframe of the virtual viewing camera.

Here's Trek's environment. We have a predefined list of variables for each show. Let's say I choose Star Trek SS145A:

$ job trek [sets show variables]
$ shot ss145a [sets job variables]

The cs command switches to my work directory, in this case work.begun:

$ cs

From here, I can go to an image directory that contains elements, parts of composite--or the work directory that contains NUKE scripts and if we do tracking, the in-house Track scripts. The work directory will contain files for NUKE, Flame, Track and Elastic Reality (old but cheap software used for roto and Avid morphing, such as bad frame or wire removal by morphing).

If I need to create my work directory, I use the jsmk command. Other directories, such as image directories also are created this way. They contain each green screen, full-resolution and scaled-down proxy image, previz and temp comp (which gives the client a rough idea of the shot, but is not necessarily pretty).

The lss command displays files in a more readable format than ls. For example, instead of looking at files like this:

test.0001.rgb
test.0002.rgb
test.0003.rgb

Typing lss displays files like this:

test.%04d.rgb 1-3

Before launching NUKE, I change to the NUKE subdirectory in my work directory:

$ cs
$ cd nuke
$ nuke3

When I launch NUKE, it brings up a GUI window, and I choose Image®Read®File and then ss145a.wh to load the foreground (green screen) images. When working on a project, I use both high-resolution images and quarter-resolution proxy images.

The images are Cineon 10-bit log. NUKE itself will convert that to 16-bit float. NUKE is capable of displaying up to ten images in one viewer. By simply entering 1 to 0 on the keyboard, I can have up to ten views.

Figure 3. Adjusting a green screen Ultimate composite in NUKE while inserting stars into spacecraft cockpit window.

Here's a green screen of a cockpit [see Figure 3]. I bring in the background image of stars. When pulling a green screen, you'll typically pull three types of mattes. An edge matte is used to retain all the fine detail present in the photography. A fill or ``innie'' is used to fill any holes that may occur due to green spill or green material in front of the foreground subject. And, a cleanup or ``outtie'' matte is used to remove anything that is supposed to be replaced by the background--such as stage lights. To pull these mattes, I'll select a ``backing color'' in Ultimatte's color picker that best represents the color I want to remove, and that will give me the best matte. After that, I'll make any necessary tweaks, including pulling additional mattes where necessary, or additional cleanup.

Technical Director Jason Iversen is responsible for energy beam effects and debris for Star Trek:

For ships exploding we use as many practical effects as possible. Practicals are faster, even though it takes time to build the model. That may take two guys two months, but it is three people for four to five months to create a 3-D shot. We shoot the explosion at 300 fps slo-mo. It's a big task, and still might not get realism. Some explosions are enhanced with digital debris using Houdini. Some Enterprise shots are still real, but not the hull-scraping beauty shots.

As we're talking, one of his SGI machines is being taken away for use on the renderfarm. At D2, workstations are being upgraded to dual-Pentium PCs.

Star Trek work at D2 was previously all done in Houdini on Linux, but most of the Maya artists are on Windows NT because of Maya plugins not being available on Linux. ``One of the largest sequences we've got is the avalanche sequence, all in Linux Houdini plus our own internal tool called VoxelB for doing volumetrics'', notes Iversen. He continues:

The avalanche is a huge powdery trail that is generated in a 3-D sense--not a 2-D cheat. Our voxel compositor VoxelB is a plugin. All of our tools can take in data from Maya or Houdini. We often combine those with our fluid dynamics software to create flowing water.

``Terragen is our terrain-generating program that was used in Time Machine for planet shots'', says Iversen. He adds:

We use it for previz and to create the initial plate for digital painters. Digital actors are all in Maya, primarily on NT. Our pipeline is based on previz rolling into production. All artists do precomposites of our work, then get assigned a compositor to take it to film out.

Although Linux supports popular 3-D packages such as Houdini and Maya, Crow says she feels frustrated by a dearth of Linux paint packages. ``There's a depth to Photoshop that Film GIMP doesn't have. Film GIMP isn't mature enough.'' Crow says a promising development is Amazon16, a 16-bit paint package that maker Interactive Effects is porting to Linux. Amazon has a long history on IRIX. ``It was layer-based before Photoshop, supports user-defined macros, provides 3-D texture paint capabilities, and most importantly, supports HDR formats like Cineon that are critical for film work'', says Crow. ``Another promising development is the 32-bit Linux paint package Photogenics by Idruna, currently in beta.''

According to Crow, porting D2's IRIX-based applications to Linux went rapidly, especially with their compositing software NUKE. The Linux conversion at D2 happened in stages, first the renderfarm that performs batch processing of movie effects, then the desktops where artists work. ``When Linux was ready for the desktop we were eager to adopt it'', says Crow. ``As soon as we got an OS like Linux supporting the features we relied on we were excited to move to it.''

Resources

Robin Rowe (Robin.Rowe@MovieEditor.com) is a partner in motion picture technology company MovieEditor.com and founder of LinuxMovies.org and OpenSourceProgrammers.org.

One of the first big movies to use Linux was... (4, Informative)

BoomerSooner (308737) | more than 11 years ago | (#4838103)

Titanic. It was on the cover of Linux Journal back in 98/99 or whenever it came out. At the time I was astounded at what they did. Now it's getting redundant (as are these articles).

Don't go to their website though. It's slower than crap.

Re:One of the first big movies to use Linux was... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4838148)

Back in 1997 linux was obscure to all but the geekiest geeks, I only heard of it in march 2000 and it was only practical for the desktop when kde 3 came out. But Linux is now gaining a lot of momentum. Linux will mature by 2003 (when linux 3.0 comes out) and you will see it everywhere!

Re:One of the first big movies to use Linux was... (0, Flamebait)

stratjakt (596332) | more than 11 years ago | (#4838274)

>> Linux will mature by 2003

HAHAHAHA..

Every time theres an impending release everyone thinks 'Linux will be mature by'..

It's a fine OS for certain tasks (web serving, render farms), but for certain others (desktop use) it will always be playing catch-up to commercial offerings (Windows, OSX, etc)

Re:One of the first big movies to use Linux was... (1)

CableModemSniper (556285) | more than 11 years ago | (#4838335)

It's a fine OS for certain tasks (web serving, render farms), but for certain others (desktop use) it will always be playing catch-up to commercial offerings (Windows, OSX, etc)

What's wrong with that? What was UNIX designed for? What is Linux designed as? Exactly. Linux on the desktop is a kind of weird abberation, driven mostly by people like me. (Ooo! Server OS on my laptop...so cool!) The other Linux on desktop stuff is driven by money, or lack there of. A FOSS OS if it is designed for the desktop, will be able to compete with commercial desktop offerings the same way Linux, a FOSS OS designed for servers is able to compete with the likes of Sun and SGI. Everyone seems to think Linux on the desktop is the silver bullet. It isn't. A FOSS designed for the desktop, maybe. For example: OpenBeOS [openbeos.org]

This isn't where SGI/IRIX shines (5, Interesting)

mikael (484) | more than 11 years ago | (#4838112)

Moving a renderfarm to a Linux cluster isn't surprising. Since rendering is an "Embarrassingly parallel" computation and AMD/Intel has more FLOPS/$ compared to the MIPS processors, this is expected. When you need to pass a lot of data between processors, you'll need one of those Origin 3000 [sgi.com] servers with 1000 processors. Linux can't do this yet.

What is interesting though, is that they moved the workstation applications from SGI to Linux. I didn't know that the SGI hardware was lagging behind that much.

Re:This isn't where SGI/IRIX shines (2, Interesting)

nomadlogic (91566) | more than 11 years ago | (#4838295)

i work for a video effects company in new york. IMHO it's not that the SGI's are that much behind in processing speed it's the cost of one of there systems. a complete Octane2 can run you around $50K to even $100K+ for our highend systems. when you are doing 3D animation with Maya or XSI or something most people have to make the decision between getting a balls out intel system versus a SGI Octane2. now the Octane2 is most likely superior than the intel machine in a design sense(those things are built like a tank!), but you have to ask do you need all of the features that the Octane2 offers to do 3D animation? in our case, most rendeing is done on the farm anyway so no not really.

we use the intel machines, and soon OSX machines, for the artists to work and model on. we use the Octane2 to do the heavy real-time compositing stuff using flame, inferno etc.

Hmmm (5, Funny)

fizban (58094) | more than 11 years ago | (#4838114)

I guess this just give more validity to the "Microsoft as Borg" line of thinking...

and giving plenty more tag-lines to Linux PR - "Who's handling your Enterprise software these days? Linux, where no company has gone before."

Urghh.... Must... Stop... Stupid... Puns... Kill... Timothy... for... starting... it...

Anything open-source/free? (1)

Sim9 (632381) | more than 11 years ago | (#4838117)

I've been wondering about this for some time: I'd like to be able to switch from windows video editing to linux, and was wondering if there are any open-source equivalents to Adobe Premiere available? Also, I've read a few articles about the CGI in linux, and was wondering if these were also open-sourced? Thanks for any help you can give! :)

Re:Anything open-source/free? (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4838215)

http://heroinewarrior.com/cinelerra.php3

Re:Anything open-source/free? (1)

haloscan (566834) | more than 11 years ago | (#4838263)

There is Broadcast2000 and Cinelerra that I know of. However, they're relatively young projects and don't match up fully to Adobe Premiere just yet.

Worst pun EVER! (5, Funny)

DarkVein (5418) | more than 11 years ago | (#4838133)

Allow me to present this as timothy should have.

Mike McCune writes
"The "Linux Journal" has a nice article about the switch from Irix to Linux at Digital Domain and the use of Linux in 'Star Trek, Nemesis.' I guess this means that Linux is finally ready for ------[Pun censored, humanity saved]."

Anyone notice the date of the pLJ posting? (2, Funny)

thewils (463314) | more than 11 years ago | (#4838172)

"Posted on Wednesday, January 01, 2003 by Robin Rowe"

Er, would that be Stardate 2003.1

Linux Used To Make Star Trek, Nemesis? (2, Funny)

jobber-d (225767) | more than 11 years ago | (#4838187)

Well then who makes it now?

Thats wierd (2)

Hott of the World (537284) | more than 11 years ago | (#4838192)

I always thought it they used a video camera for movies.... Im going to use linux to create my next movie! DAMN the MPAA!

Re:Thats wierd (1)

stratjakt (596332) | more than 11 years ago | (#4838254)

>> I always thought it they used a video camera for movies

Nope, they film them.

In other news (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4838216)

Shitty movie made by people breathing Oxygen, the same kind used by Linus Cornholevalds.

used to make (0, Redundant)

stoutstreet (95533) | more than 11 years ago | (#4838225)

so, what makes it now?

Well someone had to say it. (3, Informative)

ath0mic (519762) | more than 11 years ago | (#4838232)


I guess this means that Linux is finally ready for 'The Enterprise.'

.. so that only took 300 years or so.

Re:Well someone had to say it. (1)

saskboy (600063) | more than 11 years ago | (#4838327)

Nice try, but there was a ship called the Enterprise long ago. Have you seen Star Trek IV?

And the new Enterprise series only takes place 150 years from now, so they are probably on Linux kernel 3 by then.

Check the date on the article... (2)

Spoing (152917) | more than 11 years ago | (#4838235)

Wow! What astounds me isn't that Ernest Glitch invented time travel, but that he works as a copy editor at Linux Journal.

introduction... (1)

verbatim (18390) | more than 11 years ago | (#4838258)

X86... The final frontier.
These are the source codes to the operating system Linux.
It's continuing mission,
to explore strange kernel bugs,
to seek out new applications and new platforms,
to boldy code what no one has coded before!

Linux OS: The Next Generation...

(urge to kill... rising...)

What would be more impressive... (1)

RyuuzakiTetsuya (195424) | more than 11 years ago | (#4838275)

if the entire Enterprise-E ran on Linux. Now THAT would be newsworthy!

Open Source, from the future... *wiggles fingers* (1)

Cyno01 (573917) | more than 11 years ago | (#4838311)

I always figured given the general philosophy of the federation that all their computers would run open source. Now how do i get the sexy computer voice on mine?

That makes sense (5, Funny)

SensitiveMale (155605) | more than 11 years ago | (#4838313)

It does seem as if the plot and story were created on a 286.
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