Issue: July 1, 2008


TORONTO - Soho VFX relied on BlueArc's Titan storage solution to complete its VFX work for Marvel Comics/Universal Studios' The Incredible Hulk. The studio upgraded to the Titan after realizing the restrictions of their own home-grown IT infrastructure back in 2005, when they were working on The Chronicles of Narnia DVD release. Artists had to limit the number of frames processed concurrently. Tasked with production of 50 extra CG shots for Narnia - including an army 11,000 characters - Soho VFX co-founder Berj Bannayan saw the writing on the wall.

Narnia had a production window with no room for delays and was likely to push the limits of the existing system. Bannayan estimated the storage capacity and bandwidth that might be required, and based on his calculations, arranged to test the BlueArc Titan at the studio.

The Incredible Hulk demanded a balance of dramatic effects and character, as the lead character and his rival, the Abomination, battle one another in a Brazilian bottling plant and later, on the rooftops of New York City. For a given sequence, more than 1,200 processors — a mix of Macintosh and Linux operating systems — passed hundreds of gigabytes of image data to and from storage to render images overnight, generating additional, multi-megabyte intermediate files. Texture maps added a good 700GBs of data to the storage infrastructure's burden as well.

Bannayan was confident in Titan's throughput capabilities and focused on storage capacity, evaluating test shots for Hulk and a concurrent feature-length project to figure total disk space required. The studio now has a total of 38 terabytes on hand for its feature film work.