Rendering software is used to generate realistic images from 3D scene data. mental ray, in particular, can exactly simulate reality, allowing studios to reach an unparalleled level of visual richness in their computer-generated imagery, blurring the line between what is real and what is computer generated.
DreamWorks began utilizing mental ray as part of its production process following a series of rigorous tests in 2002. In order to continue in its effort to build the world's most powerful production environment for digital feature animation movies, DreamWorks has decided to utilize mental ray as a significant portion of its rendering pipeline for "Sharkslayer." The first computer animated feature film to be produced entirely at DreamWorks Animation's facility in Glendale, California, "Sharkslayer" is an underwater mob comedy starring the voices of Will Smith, Robert De Niro, Renee Zellweger, Angelina Jolie, Jack Black and Martin Scorsese, among others.
"We chose mental ray for its technical sophistication and its unsurpassed ability to produce realistic lighting. DreamWorks artists and engineers are employing this technology towards the ambitious creative goals of 'Sharkslayer' to create the most visually compelling environments audiences have ever seen. It's clear that mental images is committed to providing and supporting technology for high-end filmmakers," said Jim Mainard, Head of Software at DreamWorks Animation.
Movie studios increasingly demand the level of virtual photorealism and artistic visual richness that can be achieved with mental ray software. mental images's technology permits the line between virtual and real to completely disappear, allowing for experimentation with innovative effects that will revolutionize the motion picture industry.
"We feel greatly honored by the decision of DreamWorks to enter into this exciting agreement with far-reaching opportunities," said Rolf Herken, President and Director R&D of mental images. "The combination of DreamWorks's exceptional artistic talents, creativity, technological sophistication and vision with mental images's world class engineering and unsurpassed R&D capabilities for rendering technology will shape the future of digital creation technology."
mental images was founded by Rolf Herken in Berlin, Germany in 1986 with the goal to develop the world's best rendering software. Extensive and ongoing mathematical research is the basis for mental ray. The software is optimized for use with the leading design and animation software products and is distributed on an OEM basis with these products, including Maya(R) from Alias|Wavefront, Softimage(R)|XSI(TM) from Avid/Softimage and 3ds max(R) from Autodesk/discreet.
Based on the same fundamental technologies used in mental ray, mental images has developed its latest product RealityServer(TM) for server-based 3D collaboration solutions in intranets and the Internet. With RealityServer it is possible to generate high-quality, photorealistic images on a server based on existing data and content, such as animated film sequences, videogames or CAD models. While the original data and content remain securely on the server, multiple users -- engineers as well as kids playing games -- are able to view 3D images and interactively manipulate their underlying data in a cooperative fashion from any stationary terminals or mobile devices with a browser and a Web connection.