Sunday, August 31, 2014

Dreamworks Premo

This software!

Dreamworks' Premo made a big splash at SIGGRAPH this year. For those new to the software, Premo is Dreamworks' new animation tool that was used to make How to Train Your Dragon 2. It was developed over the span of 5 years or 300 man years to produce and looks incredible! Their previous tool Emo showed its age over the years, making basic animation tasks more complicated than they needed to be. Premo allows animators to really focus on their craft in a fast and intuitive manner. Dreamworks worked with HP and Intel to come up with a better hardware and software architecture that can best utilize multi processing from today's powerful CPUs to get maximum performance. This allows animators to animate characters at full resolution and without needing proxy models. This is a really big deal considering how much detail characters have in Dreamworks films. I am ecstatic of the results after watching How to Train Your Dragon 2. They were definitely able to hit subtlety in a beautiful way and get great performances from their characters. You can definitely see how that is possible by watching Premo in action.

Hit the jump for some great articles on Premo and a video of it in action:


You can see Emo above. Basically animators had a limited view of the scene they were animating for and also had to manually input key values on the character rigs into a little excel sheet in the tool to record their actions.

Here was a great article from The Verge talking about Premo. I like this article because it also talks about Premo's evolution from Emo a little bit:


Digital Tutors also had a great article which include's Dreamworks' video presentation of Premo:


I loved the rigging philosophy on faces too. You can deform a face using controllers or deform the mesh seemingly directing. The selection tools can be exposed or seamlessly hidden into the character mesh. This trend seems to definitely be taking off too which I think is very exciting.

Here is a great video covering Premo:

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