Intel, DreamWorks take 3D graphics to Super Bowl

The chipmaker and the movie maker plan to show off the fruits of their 3D collaboration on Super Bowl Sunday.

Intel and DreamWorks plan to show off the fruits of their 3D collaboration in a Super Bowl 3D extravaganza this Sunday as DreamWorks prepares to tap into future Intel Larrabee graphics silicon.

The Super Bowl ad sponsored by DreamWorks Animation, Intel, and NBC will feature a 3D trailer of the animated movie Monsters vs. Aliens, coming out in March. A second spot will be a 3D commercial for PepsiCo's SoBe LifeWater energy drinks. Viewers--as they will in the movie theater--will need special 3D glasses to see the effects. (Intel has made 125 million of the InTru3D glasses, which are available for free at stores such as Target and Best Buy.)

Stereoscopy--which in a primitive form has been around since the 1840s--creates the illusion of depth by presenting a slightly different image to each eye. Starting this year, DreamWorks will produce all of its feature films in stereoscopic 3D for use with the special glasses.

DreamWorks CEO Jeffry Katzenberg dons Intru 3D glasses that are used for viewing the Super Bowl 3D trailer of Monsters vs. Aliens
DreamWorks CEO Jeffry Katzenberg dons Intru 3D glasses that are used for viewing the Super Bowl 3D trailer of Monsters vs. Aliens Intel

The InTru3D technology will provide more vibrant colors than traditional technologies that use 3D glasses, according to Jeffrey Katzenberg, chief executive officer of DreamWorks, in an interview posted on an Intel Web page.

"Instead of (traditional) red and blue lensing, there's a different set of filters that are used" that are better at reproducing color, said Katzenberg. "The second thing is a greater level of precision in terms of the broadcast signal--right eye, left eye. The blurry kind of stuff is cleaned up a lot," he said.

But there's a lot more going on with Intel and DreamWorks than meets the eye. Think Intel's future Larrabee graphics chip is just a smoke screen or paper tiger? Listening to Katzenberg, it sounds very real. "We are well on our way to upgrading our software to really take advantage of Larrabee," said Katzenberg, in the Intel video interview. "Larrabee raises the bar of what we can do not just by 2X or 3X but by 20X," he said.

DreamWorks is also using Intel software tools. "This is allowing us to create a completely new paradigm in movies," Katzenberg said, referring to Intel's InTru3D technology, which Intel describes as "uniting the best in computer-generated moviemaking with the latest high-performance processing technologies."

Last year, DreamWorks said it was dropping technology from Advanced Micro Devices in favor of Intel --and at that time the two companies announced a strategic partnership aimed at redefining 3D filmmaking technology. DreamWorks had been in a three-year partnership with AMD.

DreamWorks uses rendering farms with thousands of Intel processing cores to create animation.

Before it adopts Larrabee (later this year), DreamWorks will move part of its rendering farm to Intel's Nehalem processor for servers, due later this quarter.

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About the author

Brooke Crothers writes about mobile computer systems, including laptops, tablets, smartphones: how they define the computing experience and the hardware that makes them tick. He has served as an editor at large at CNET News and a contributing reporter to The New York Times' Bits and Technology sections. His interest in things small began when living in Tokyo in a very small apartment for a very long time.

 

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