Premiering on Friday, December 9, at 7:00 p.m. (ET/PT), Albert is Nickelodeon's first original animated TV movie, telling the story of a tiny Douglas fir tree named Albert who loves Christmas and dreams of being the Empire City Christmas tree.
Albert was created almost entirely in-house and features a look that is unique to Nickelodeon. Texture artists, lighters and compositors worked on Dell Precision 5810 workstations equipped with NVIDIA Quadro M6000 graphics to bring the story to life. Scenes were rendered using RedShift's GPU accelerated renderer.
"The Dell T5810 and Redshift with the NVIDIA Quadro M6000 really came together for us, and allowed our artists to work in a way they'd never been able to be- fore. They're able to work in near real time when lighting the scenes they're working on, which allowed us to create an entirely new pipeline for the way Nickelodeon has traditionally approached animation, giving them much more creative control than they've ever had before." -- Eric Swanborg, Senior Director of Digital Operations for Nickelodeon.
The animated characters in Albert appear as though you can reach out and touch them -- it's a look somewhere between photorealistic and stop motion. The ability for artists to have near real-time reflections, shadows and interaction was essential to the project.
"We're trying to make great art as fast as we can and have it look at good as possible. There's such a depth to everything. That's what I'm really excited about. I can't wait for the audience to see it," says Jason Meyer, supervising producer. "And now what used to take two to three hours to see a final frame is now taking just half an hour."
Using Redshift with Quadro's powerful visual computing platform allowed artists to do renders at their desk without having to outsource. Artists are able to see what the scenes looked like before spending the time to render the whole sequence out, which is a significantly faster approach.