We've seen all kinds of opinions and benchmarks about the new Mac Pro it's the Pro XDR Display in its first days of existence, but there is one thing that we have not yet seen: the considerations of a group of professionals who really had a good time to use Ma's new equipment, analyzing its strengths and possible shortcomings.
Now, the Lunar Animation arrived to offer just that. The London-based cinema studio had prior access to Ma's new computer and professional monitor, and used the equipment to work on one of her projects: the film's final credits "Jumanji: Next Phase", which will premiere in Brazilian cinemas on the 16th.
Lunar, as the name implies, an animation-focused studio is one of the most demanding tasks (in terms of processing power) that a computer can go through. In the post telling about the experience, the company's professionals claim that they have spent the last few years using iMacs Pro as their main machines, but that they were excited by the power of Ma's new professional computer.
They received, from Apple, an intermediate level Mac Pro, with 3.2 GHz Intel Xeon W processor and 16 cores, 192GB of RAM, two Radeon Pro Vega II cards with 32GB of memory each, 4TB of SSD storage and the accelerator card Afterburner. The computer was then used to create the fully animated credits for the film, which have 28 photorealistic objects of the highest resolution, a heavy task for any machine.
The production of the scene started in one of the iMacs Pro of the stadium, but the computer faced difficulties: it was difficult to render all objects in high resolution in the same scene without exhausting the machine's graphic memory. When switching to Mac Pro, the switch was from water to wine:
With the texture problems we were having on the iMac Pro, we opened the same scene on the Mac Pro and all the textures loaded perfectly. It makes sense, considering that here we have twice the graphic memory (32GB versus 16GB). We were then surprised to realize that everything was being reproduced in real time, without pre-caching, because even with the damaged textures on the iMac Pro, we weren't getting a consistent reproduction of 24 frames per second.
We then unlocked the 24 FPS limit in playback and achieved a rate of up to 134 frames per second. This allowed us to analyze, change and preview everything at an impressive speed, without the need to create textures and models proxy it was possible to work with the content directly.
Professionals detail, in the article, the tasks they managed to perform on the Mac Pro much more efficiently and quickly. A steam rendering on Houdini, for example, took 21 minutes on the iMac Pro and 12 minutes on the new computer and look at that considering only the work of the CPU: with the action of the GPU together, the Mac Pro performed the same task in just 5 minutes.
The biggest revolution within Lunar Animation, however, has another name: Pro Display XDR.
As a smaller studio with no 30,000 to spend on a monitor, it (the Pro Display XDR) allowed us to see exactly what the final files would look like as they would be sent to the customer. Since our final files were in EXR format, we had the range to see beyond the maximum brightness of a standard iMac screen.
Knowing that our final files were correct saved us the money to rent a facility to check these files which, honestly, we didn't have time to do because of tight deadlines.
Now, Lunar says it is looking forward to using the pair in its next projects and to continue testing the powers of the new Mac Pro in programs like Maya. Cool, huh?