Jeffrey Katzenberg, the CEO of Dreamworks has gone on record and revealed that Dreamworks has been working with Intel for the past 3 years on greatly improving the production process speed at Dreamworks. As you can imagine, Dreamworks would be using Intel’s processors (the latest just launched today) and both companies have been working on making Dreamworks software more distributed, or more able to use many cores.
You have to realize that computer graphics is by nature one of the most parallel task that can be handled by many-cores computers. After all, graphics processors are vast array of computing cores. However, Katzenberg says that the software is still way behind and needs more research. He’s right – parallel computing is still a very active topic of research, and “adding more core” just isn’t enough. Software needs to adapt. Unfortunately, Mr. Katzenberg didn’t mention what Intel and Dreamworks did to achieve this new level of performance…Dreamworks expect to boost its rendering speed by up to 50X, and although some media outlets have reported that Dreamworks “will render in real-time”, Jeffrey Katzenberg actually said that the goal was to get there – it’s *very* different. One of the key aspect of increasing rendering (or preview-rendering) speeds is that animators can test their work and correct it, if necessary. Katzenberg says that an experienced animator can produce 3 seconds of animation per week.
That said, Dreamworks also regularly contributes to the marketing of efforts of Intel, HP, NVIDIA and others, so I usually take these statements with a grain of salt.