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Animation movies might be for children, but making them is not child's play. In fact, it is a feat that requires the prowess of high performance computing (HPC). As the entertainment industry grows in India, so does the market for HPC solution providers.
When you see super heroes razing villains to the ground in new-age animated movies, do powerful supercomputers come to your mind? Do you picture those machines crunching numbers in the background, to create that seamless video of clashing fists?
As you experience increasing multimedia content all around you--starting from the silver screen and the television to distributable media and mobile phones--do you realise that the entertainment industry is going through an unprecedented growth phase?
Betting on entertainment
With the growth in consumer spending on multi-platform entertainment and the increasing quality standards, the multimedia market is going through an aggressive phase of expansion and diversification. New platforms like direct-to-home (DTH), broadband and mobile video, along with the massive growth of existing platforms like multiplex cinema and television channels, is causing the demand for content to explode.
Maya Entertainment has several projects on the anvil and is accordingly scaling up its infrastructure. It is wrapping up work on a high-definition (1920x1080) children's project for BBC-UK and also a TV series called Cosmic Quantum Ray (1280x720) for Mike Young Productions, USA, which are being executed simultaneously. Meanwhile, the company is also in the pre-production stage of its own CG feature based on the Ramayana--and is gearing up for the massive rendering needs for this project.
Consequentially, Maya is in the process of expanding its high performance computing (HPC) infrastructure, especially in storage/file serving, compute farms for rendering, and clustering solutions for high performance. It has transformed its workflow to 64-bit to utilise more RAM and work on heavier files, and has adopted Microsoft Windows Compute Cluster Server (WCCS) to lay the foundation for effective scheduling of batch rendering.
And this is a dominant trend in India, with most successful entertainment firms working on new projects for the domestic and international markets, and scaling up their infrastructure correspondingly.
"Exact numbers are hard to estimate; however, there are about 300 studios in India, with about 20 that can be considered medium to large, while others fall into the category of small to medium. To be on the higher end of the spectrum, these studios spend an average of Rs 8 crores each on software and hardware. The overall services and solutions market is even larger and, each year, studios invest more on technology to expand and be at the cutting edge of quality," says Amit Srivastava, chairman and CEO, DuxSoft Pvt Ltd, adding that although the animation, visual effects and games (AVG) market in India is much smaller when compared to some of the other HPC related verticals such as oil and gas, it is growing at a much faster rate. Within the AVG vertical, globally, gaming is the biggest segment. However, in India, animation is the biggest, followed by visual effects and gaming.
This growth in the entertainment industry, in turn, opens up a huge market for all kinds of HPC infrastructure.