Post Magazine

March / April 2019

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Page 45 of 51 44 POST MAR/APR 2019 TRENDS volving consumer behavior is setting the stage for new changes in production, across film, television and games. Throughout the past decade, methods of media consumption have shifted, with viewers now preferring to stream content rather than own phys- ical copies of favorite movies and TV shows. This has accelerated the growth of streaming services, like Netflix, Hulu and Amazon, with new streaming plat- forms from Apple and Disney planned to launch in 2019. As consumer demand for new content continues to grow, new technologies and trends in production have allowed creators to develop more efficient pipelines and workflows for fast- er and more affordable delivery. As a direct result of increasing demand, production companies are scaling to turnaround projects in shorter amounts of time. Film and broadcast production companies are scaling through virtualization and cloud-based workflows, both minimizing the hardware costs on-premise and abating storage concerns. Facilities like Jellyfish Pictures, a UK-based animation and visual effects house, go as far as running fully virtual offices. In the games industry, studios are turning to procedural content generation to efficiently create assets, characters and environments using scalable work- flows. The recent success of Red Dead Redemption 2 sets new standards and raises the bar for what consumers expect from a single title, with more than 60 hours of content available in story mode. Through procedural content generation, game studios are able to scale to pro- duce content more efficiently and meet gamer expectations. Another trend driven by increasing demand for content is globalization among large and mid-size studios, allowing production companies to access the largest and best pool of talent available worldwide. By opening facilities internationally, studios are also leveraging tax incentives to save money and are ensuring they have a global 24/7 footprint for increased productivity. With offices in North America, Europe, Asia and Australia, no matter the time of day, there will always be artists working. Rendering techniques have also evolved, with both GPU and real-time rendering gaining traction. From a studio perspective, many artists prefer using GPU rendering locally to access immediate feedback and true represen- tation of what the final shot will look like with lighting, shaders, camera compo- sition and look development. Tools like the upcoming version of the Autodesk Arnold renderer will help companies scale by leveraging CPU and GPU inter- changeably by tapping GPU rendering locally, with the option of less expensive CPU rendering on the farm or in the cloud. Using game engines for real-time rendering has also advanced, with companies like Disney Animation using Unity for the animated Baymax Dreams shorts and Digital Dimension using Unreal Engine for the NBCUniversal DreamWorks series ZAFARI. Once studios have a game engine pipeline im- plemented for real-time rendering, they are able to iterate faster for animation. As game engine technologies continue to advance, we can expect to see them used for real-time rendering visual ef- fects on future feature film projects. Another emerging trend is the use of AI. In the games industry, companies are using AI to increase customer retention and reduce player cheating, as well as to streamline coding. For example, Ubisoft is using AI to automate detection of bugs in their developer code. On the film production side, Digital Domain and Disney used AI and machine learning in Avengers: Infinity War to automate facial animation for the villain character Thanos, paving the way for future block- buster productions to adopt the process. Looking at recent visual effects feature films, like Ready Player One, and upcom- ing animated films, such as Jon Favreau's The Lion King, studios are continuing to use virtual production techniques — like virtual and augmented reality, previs and performance capture — to visu- alize scenes before they're even shot. Predictive analytics are also helping stu- dios make more accurate bids, by provid- ing production insights on the amount of time it will take to create specific assets. As the expectation from consumers for higher quality visual effects and animation and increasing content available for streaming continues to rise, these production trends will continue to evolve throughout 2019 and impact the development of new technologies for faster, more efficient and more affordable content creation. TRENDS IN FILM & GAME PRODUCTION BY MICHAEL JANOV INDUSTRY STRATEGY MANAGER AUTODESK SAN RAFAEL, CA AUTODESK.COM EVOLVING CONSUMER BEHAVIORS ARE DRIVING CHANGES E The Lion King Ready Player One

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