Intel, DreamWorks Team On 3-D Animation Technology

CEO Jeffrey Katzenberg says the first fruits of the partnership will debut next year with the movie Monsters Vs. Aliens.
Movie studio DreamWorks on Wednesday debuted at the Intel Developer Forum what it calls a "revolutionary" technology in creating 3-D animation films.

While 3-D films have been around since the '50s, Jeffrey Katzenberg, chief executive of DreamWorks, told IDF attendees that the studio's InTru 3-D technology, built on Intel hardware, is nothing like before. "This isn't your father's 3-D," he said.

To prove his point, Katzenberg showed a clip of the popular film Kung Fu Panda that had been redone in 3-D. "What you're about to see will never be publicly distributed, but I hope it will give you some idea what 3-D is all about," he said.

The vivid imagery and 3-D affects appeared to wow the crowd watching the clip through polarized glasses on a rolled-out screen large enough for any major theater. Later in the program, Katzenberg debuted a clip of the upcoming animation film Monsters Vs. Aliens, which opens March 27.

Katzenberg appeared on stage with keynoter Renee James, VP and general manager of Intel's Software and Solutions Group. The mogul said that, starting next year, the studio would offer all its animated films in 3-D, starting with Monsters Vs. Aliens. In addition, Katzenberg said such influential directors as James Cameron, Peter Jackson, Steven Spielberg, and Robert Zemeckis had committed to making 3-D films.

Katzenberg believes the technology available today to create and show 3-D movies will spark a "revolutionary change" in movies on the same scale as the introduction of sound and later color. The promise of the new 3-D technology is to immerse the viewer into the film's action like never before.

The audience still needs to wear glasses in order to experience 3-D, but gone are the flimsy cardboard glasses with the colored plastic lenses. Instead, DreamWorks handed out to the crowd polarized, black-framed glasses similar to those worn in The Blues Brothers, starring John Belushi and Dan Aykroyd.

In addition, the new technology doesn't make the audience nauseous, which was a common complaint with older methods of 3-D. "It's a bad idea to market a product that makes people hurl," Katzenberg said.

Intel and DreamWorks announced their alliance in July. In general, Intel is providing advanced processors with multiple cores and is adapting the technology, which is not yet available in the mainstream market, to DreamWorks' authoring tools. DreamWorks has agreed to convert its computing infrastructure for 3-D film creation to an Intel-based system.

While nothing more was disclosed about DreamWorks' 3-D tools on Wednesday, Katzenberg underscored the importance of Intel technology. "We've been very impressed with the exceptional creativity that's going on behind the scenes at Intel," he said. "We, frankly, couldn't be more excited."