Vision Globale in Montreal creates complex VFX using numerous applicationsPipelinefx-vision-globale-belle bete 3c
and renderers. PipelineFX Qube! helps manage job types, design workflows
and integrate new software.

Vision Globale Keeps Superheroic VFX in Line with PipelineFX Qube!

Vision Globalein Montreal creates complex visual effects for movies like the X-Men franchise using several different 3D packages, plus various renderers, compositing applications, simulation tools and plugins. The company is among Canada's largest providers of film production services, with businesses ranging from studio hire to stereoscopic conversion. Its visual effects division employs about 100 people and has worked on blockbusters including ‘Resident Evil: Retribution’, ‘The Colony’ and ‘La Belle et la Bête’.
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Although much of its VFX work is created usingMayaand theArnoldrenderer, the studio makes use of a wide range of other software, including 3D applications Houdini, Softimage and 3ds Max, compositing package Nuke, gaseous fluid dynamics engine FumeFX, and simulation tool Golaem Crowd, all running on a mixture of operating systems. Vision Globale's hundreds of render nodes are also used for transcoding work. This combination of work creates numerous different job types to render and for this reason, they also use PipelineFX Qube! render farm manager.

Qube! helps them manage the process of installing and maintaining software. “We can use simple commands to install applications on every node on the farm, or update with newly released code,” saysHans Payer, Vision Globale's pipeline and 3D animation developer. “In a few minutes, we can set up and maintain our entire render farm.”

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Qube! also has aPython API, which the studio uses to define its own custom job types. “The ability to write job types allows us to tailor our implementation to our specific needs,” Hans said. “Since these needs change constantly, we constantly refine, alter and optimize each job type's code, but we can keep 100 per cent control over calculations.”

This power to customize job types on the fly also makes it easy to integrate new software into the pipeline. When Vision Globale adoptedGolaem Crowdfor ‘Race’, an upcoming biography of Jesse Owens, it chose to integrate the software into its existing Maya job type rather than create a new one. “It allows us to centralize all the logic for Maya processes into one location,” said Hans. “Sharing common tasks between different types of processes, such as rendering, caching and simulation, simplifies the implementation.”

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Another recent addition to the pipeline isHoudini, which the studio used on ‘Fallen’, a new romantic fantasy by director Scott Hicks. With it, the studio's technical directors can create complex effects trees, running to many hundreds of nodes. “We had to find ways to distribute all of the associated tasks, like processing caches, simulations, renders, composites and file conversions with complex dependencies,” Hans said. “Centralizing everything into one Qube! job type simplifies the code and facilitates its maintenance.”

Qube! even allows the TDs to automate their work, as Hans explained. “I gave one of our Houdini TDs a quick course on how to submit jobs to Qube! programmatically. With that information, he managed to code his entire workflow. He would send a Maya process to Qube! that would then dynamically build Houdini scenes to simulate and render his final work. Minimizing manual tasks meant he was able to avoid errors, streamline his flow, and deliver sooner. We always aim to push any long or tedious process to the farm.”