HuffPost Interview: How does a Chinese animation production team innovate in real-time rendering of animation

HuffPost Interview Original:

Recently, we interviewed Zhang Xianhua (Jackson), CEO of Shenzhen Zhuohua mutual entertainment Technology Co., Ltd. We talked about the CG animated film.

In recent years, how do real-time rendering technology change animation and visual effects?

Actually, in the past few years saw many discussion on the combination of video games and visual effects.

These two things often rely on the same or similar tools to generate CG assets and animations production. Even if the game needs to render a lot of effects in a few milliseconds, the picture quality is close to the real level produced by the effects.

But another aspect discussed a little is: how to apply video game technology, especially real-time rendering, to visual effects (and animation) production.

How to cooperate both visual effects and real-time rendering?

EpicGames, a developer of unreal engine, is famous for applying software to games producing. Unreal engines have experimented in areas that are often seen as visual effects and animations: virtual production, digital human beings, series animations, and even car advertising. A year ago, the BLACKBIRD launched by The Mill, completely changed the status quo. This is a groundbreaking car carrier that can be freely justified and its chassis can be quickly deformed to match almost any car model for real-time shooting. This ad is called “The Human Race”.

The project relies on a substitute vehicle that is equipped with the tracking mark, which is known as the “Blackbird”, developed by The Mill from Visual Effects Studio.

The potential of the combination of movies and games goes far beyond automotive, commercial advertising and will have an impact and change on all areas. This will influence consumer’s selection in some areas, for example when purchasing new cars or other products; consumers can customize the content you want to view, with strong flexibility immediately.

What is real-time rendering?

Real-time rendering is all about interactivity. This means that the images you see – usually in video games, an increase of real and virtual as well as mobile experience – will be presented at a fast speed so that the user can interact or move in the scene.

Because complex images often take a longer time to render, the quality of real-time rendering cannot reach the effect of rendering tools (such as RenderMan, Arnold, and V-Ray) in the effects industry and animation industry.

”Kim Libreri, who heads Oscar-nominated “Poseidon”, worked for Industrial Light (ILM) and Lucasarts before serving as chief technology officer at Epic Games. In his view, the influx of the game engine in the real shot is just like people began to shoot the film. Library thinks that when you come to the shooting scene in person, you will find that there is a cool view by moving the camera. You have to try more. Thus, the similarity of the game engine and our real world is that we use the physical engines to simulate the real world, which means that you can enjoy all these happy wonders. “

As the narrowing difference between the effect of real-time rendering and traditional rendering, animators may choose the real-time rendering. For example, in the “Star Wars Heroes: Rogue One “, the robots K-2SO in some scenes is rendered by Unreal Engine.

Not long ago, a Chinese animation production team applied this innovative technology to produce a whole animated drama. It is made by Zhuohua Mutual Interaction, costing three years and tens of millions. It is a domestic TV animation showed on Tencent video. It is called – “The Immortal Legend”. This animation has seen the large-scale use of real action capture and mouth type capture technology. Besides, it attracts “paco”, the 3rd disciple of Jackie Chan Stunt Team to join the production team. What’s more, it restores the roles in fighting scenes, giving the characters’ action a more realistic sense.

How did you begin to get this idea? What makes you have such an idea to do an animated play?

Answer: many years ago, we have in-depth use and research on the unity, CryEngine, UnrealEngine, and 10 years experience in the 3D industry. Years ago, we attempted CryEngine can Cinebox, but it represented the standard of games in the previous generation, which obviously could not meet our needs to produce high-quality content. UnrealEngine 4 represents new technology, new standards for the future technology and EPIC staff is very hard and efficient, so I think this is the best platform tool in this era.

What is the difference between you and other production teams? Or how about your competitiveness?

Answer: You can see a good director who is not graduated from the film academy. The game engine was originally used to make the game, and game developers, animation enterprises are difficult to understand each other’s industrial capacity and driving force. Thus, I think that when you are in the whirlpool of industry competition, the cross-border ability will let you stand on another perspective to look at the industry and the market. Cross-border brings some inadvertently small changes. Out of a sudden, a small change of fixed goal will promote it quickly. It is not just in your impression. Maybe this is the beginning of innovation.

10 years later, what’s the influence on us of technology?

Answer: AI will largely change our lives and bring us great convenience. Some industries will disappear while new industries will appear. It is just like the impact of world pattern by the first industrial revolution. In our development plan, the production process will be greatly reduced. A highly integrated, open and flexible collaborative platform will emerge. Technical convenience will greatly reduce the human demand for the repetitive work so that artists can pay full attention to artistic creation yet tools method learning. The ability of expansion of technology will allow us to enter more industries to conduct changes.

In future, if someone is interested in your product or service, will you accept more different cooperation and attempts?

Answer: Of course, very welcome. We will create a new industry model. Since time costs and opportunity costs are insufficient, we are always open to our new partners and welcome them, if you have some fantastic ideas or spirit of research and exploration in our open platform. We are very eager to make a common progress and to research with each other.

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