The tech behind Monsters vs Aliens 3D

Monsters Vs Aliens is DreamWorks' first completely 3D feature
Monsters Vs Aliens is DreamWorks' first completely 3D feature

DreamWorks and HP have let slip some information about the technology behind the upcoming 3D movie Monsters vs Aliens.

Speaking to journalists at a press event in Los Angeles, the companies have revealed just how much effort has gone into making the 3D film.

The movie is the first time that DreamWorks has authored a movie in 3D. The company has opted for InTru 3D, which is powered by Intel.

Producing a movie in 3D is a massive thing for DreamWorks, as it hopes to entice the public from their big-screen tellies at home and into cinemas.

DreamWorks Animation's Chief Executive Officer, Jeffrey Katzenberg is completely behind the InTru 3D technology, saying it produces "an immersive experience, not an observational experience" and the "next innovation for the movie industry."

Intel Xeon quad-core processors

To create a 3D movie from scratch, however, some hefty tech is needed. With Monsters vs Aliens in particular, hundreds of HP XW8600 workstations running Intel Xeon quad-core processors were used.

It took around 45 million hours of rendering to produce the CGI flick with 9,000 processor cores working overtime.

HP points out that if one workstation was used to create the movie, it would have taken 1,000 years to produce.

Eliminating creative limitations

The number-crunching continues. Derek Chan, Head of Digital Operations for DreamWorks Animation, explained at the event that to make one scene in the movie, which involved lots of on-screen destruction, required around 3TB of disk space. The movie in total took up a whopping 100TB of data.

"For us, this 3D revolution is about immersing the audience into the movie," said Ed Leonard, Chief Technology Officer, DreamWorks Animation, about the immense project.

"HP's unique ability to deliver advanced technical tools that help to eliminate creative limitations has allowed us to dive headfirst into the exciting storytelling capabilities of stereoscopic 3D."

To celebrate the launch of the film, HP has created a Flash campaign on its website, which is in 3D. You will need a pair of stereoscopic glasses to view it, though.

Monsters vs Aliens is out in UK Friday 3 April.


Marc Chacksfield

Marc Chacksfield is the Editor In Chief, at DC Thomson. He started out life as a movie writer for numerous (now defunct) magazines and soon found himself online - editing a gaggle of gadget sites, including TechRadar, Digital Camera World and Tom's Guide UK. At Shortlist you'll find him mostly writing about movies and tech, so no change there then.