As told by CGI Director Sam Moorfield
To create the CGI used in The Story of Earth, CGI Director Sam Moorfield and his team rendered the images using super computers at Swinburne University of Technology’s Centre for Astrophysics and Supercomputing.
Making sure each frame has the detail and information worthy of an IMAX screen was a big challenge. We spent a lot of time making sure the CGI really took you into the experience. Fortunately we had an excellent CGI team who really took the time to understand the science and the unique IMAX format, and they’ve done an incredible job.
What we focus on is making sure that when you see the images on screen, you are truly immersed in them. The impact of the visuals is enhanced by knowing that what you are seeing is derived from cutting edge science. We may be dealing with events that happened billions of years ago, but we use datasets and simulations as much as possible to keep the visuals grounded in current research.
The team did a lot of research and development into how to deal with 8K resolution images. Quite often visual effects software and hardware is designed to work perfectly well for 99% of users, 99% of the time. 4K has become well adopted and optimized, however when we start dealing with 8K 3D IMAX frames, we are working with 11 times the pixels of a full 4K frame. We have access to a tremendous amount of computing power to handle the processing, but the development and rending of The Story of Earth animation still took more than 12 months.
We create close partnerships with scientists working in the fields our films have covered. Our core mission has always been to immerse the audience in the latest discoveries, whether they are simulations that tell us something about how the universe behaves, or images returned by probes sent deep into space”.