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Old April 6th, 2004, 09:56 AM   #1
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What computers did they use in the Jurassic period?

Hi guys,

Just been watching my Special Edition DVD of Jurassic Park, and on the special features they show you the post porduction facilites at ILM.

The machines are all SGI, and i am left wondering how many Mhz they would have been and how much space on a Hard disk they had, would they have raided together 100 meg disks?

Also would they have scanned the film and then Celco'd it?
Would they have telecined it and then uprezzed it?

What sort of resouloution would they have been working with.

I am really fascinated as to how they worked on this project with such slow machines,and appreciate any input.

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Old April 6th, 2004, 10:31 AM   #2
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Good question; I used to consider myself a JP nut and thought I knew that stuff. But I don't know about mhz and such!

I do know they used Toast to do some intitial stuff with the T-Rex before Senor Spielbergo agreed to go all CGI, then they went to SGI.

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Old April 6th, 2004, 10:45 AM   #3
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Thanks Heath,

i reckon the funniest part is what they were going to use,
the go motion tests, i mean if they didnt go CGI maybe CG would have gone a differnet route, (probably not) but the stop motion tests are laughable.

Also reckon theres still some photo realisitc shots at the end, in the foyer part with the trex fight.

Also this brings up another question,

How far has CG come in the last ten years?
my answer not very far at all,
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Old April 6th, 2004, 12:36 PM   #4
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I worked at sgi at the time. sgi literally gave ilm some of those computers. I remember there were hundreds all rendering simultaneously. All used the MIPS processor chip.

Mhz means nothing compared to the architecture of that chip and comparing to todays chips.

Sadly, I am having a tough time remembering much from those days. I wasn't directly involved in that and my Pixar days were before sgi.
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Old April 6th, 2004, 01:45 PM   #5
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5 years ago, when I was deciding what computer to edit on (went with Apple G3 Blue and White), I read SGI was coming out with a cheaper ($5k) brand of computer. PC and Apple people were excited about it, but what happened?

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Old April 6th, 2004, 02:19 PM   #6
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From SGIstuff:
Quote:
...one of the computer rooms of ILM... is full of PowerSeries systems--if the color code of the skins is correct most of them have VGX graphics and only a few GTX.
Your new off-the-shelf Pentium-based system is capable of rendering many times faster than a 1992-era MIPS-based SGI box, relegating those old behemoths to the status of junk or museum pieces, depending on your generosity.

And in response to Ben, while you're right in the sense that computer graphics have scarcely been used to better effect than they were in Terminator 2 and Jurassic Park, the state of the art has made significant advances on many fronts, permitting greater realism through new technologies (such as global illumination rendering, image-based lighting, and high dynamic range texture mapping), realization of previously impossible shots (through new techniques such as matchmoving, motion capture, and motion graphing), and faster production workflow through automation (and also because of faster hardware, better-refined software, and plethoras of new plugins). It's really a fascinating time to be in computer graphics research--new tools and new discoveries are being published every year.

Lamentably, improved access to tools does not a masterpiece make. You can have every resource at your disposal and still fritter it all away on tripe, as George Lucas has devoted his last nine years doing.
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Old April 6th, 2004, 04:17 PM   #7
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I worked at SGI in Mountain View, CA from 1990-96 .
In the nearly-early 90's, the computers used MIPS R4000 processors that were in the 100 MHZ range, with a 50 MHz bus speed to external SRAM. Shortly, afterward, the speed jumped to 150/75 MHz. (Hope my memories are accurate) Of course,a few years makes a difference in the numbers. The graphics hardware accelerators were used for modeling, but not for final rendering, which used a "farm" of
networked, multiprocessor computers.

BTW, the security system fly through was actually an SGI internal
project for desktop files/folder navigation.
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Old April 6th, 2004, 04:58 PM   #8
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Who'd you work for Glints? I was there through '89.
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Old April 6th, 2004, 06:34 PM   #9
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Rob, I doubt you'd know my management because everyone
was hired in 1990.

Personal Systems Division (Irisvision)
then
Entry Systems Division (Personal Iris, Indigo)
then
Digital Sight and Sound (Indy, Octane)

I always worked on the smaller machines
in audio and DSP software. Yeah, that's right. An audio
guy at a graphics company. Now, I'm at nVidia. Same deal.
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Old April 6th, 2004, 08:42 PM   #10
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Did you get to work on that PC plug-in board they were working on? They had an upper floor of one building with all the windows blacked out where it was going on. I had forgotten about it and just wandered on in there and no one stopped me. Heh.

I remember sitting down to lunch and Jim Clark wandered over and sat next to me with some of the top programmers and it hadn't occured to me till later the history I was sitting with.

Before that I worked at Pixar. When I went for the job interview, I sat next to Ed Catmull on the airport bus. Those were the days.
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Old April 6th, 2004, 09:45 PM   #11
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Let's not forget about The Abyss!
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Old April 7th, 2004, 05:06 AM   #12
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I did a bit of research (and if anyone has the old Cinefex issue
on Jurassic Park there might be some more info in there) and
found the following:

http://www.wired.com/wired/archive/2.01/sgi.html?pg=3

" The rooms hold $15 million worth of networked SGI CPUs; that's nearly 100 computers "

http://sgistuff.g-lenerz.de/movies/

" Abyss 1989 early IRIS 4D (Professional Iris, possibly Personal Iris) "

" Jurassic Park unknown (4D-era) "

At the end of this page you can see an ILM computer room
from that era.
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