With the rise of companies like Disney, Blue Sky, Sony or Illumination Mac Guff relying entirely on the “off-the-shelf” Autodesk Maya which most animation students are familiar with, Dreamworks and Pixar had to revamp their ageing proprietary softwares to attract and retain talents. Presto for Pixar and Premo for Dreamworks seem to have now totally leap-frogged the commercial Autodesk offering by making the most of the numerous cores that current CPUs have made available for years, to the addition of on-board GPUs.
Dreamworks used to be really secretive about EMO, their home made animation software, but things are changing.
With the release of Dean DeBlois’ “How to train your dragon 2”, several videos and articles have emerged showcasing Dreamwork’s new Premo animation software running on the latest Apollo technology. The technology looks so ground breaking that the ASIFA offered Dreamworks an Ub Iwerks award at this years Annie awards.
Premo looks very fast and intuitive. Instead of having to keep a separate sizable GUI on the screen, the controls are right where you expect them to be and they magically appear when the cursor hovers over the actionable areas, signifying to the animator that the highlighted area can be animated, liberating a huge screen real estate compared to GUIs.
Additional controls like IK/FK switches I am guessing can still be accessed through the related spreadsheets when needed obviously.
This is very refreshing as the idea has been suggested for years by Keith Lango and I also relayed the information on this blog in 2010. (read the article here: You want to be a rigger huh!)
Premo also offers a dramatic speed improvement compared to Emo as animators don’t need to recalculate after each action and rig can also be played real time in the viewport without needing to use proxy models.
Don’t believe me? Watch the following videos!
How DreamWorks reinvented animation software to make HTTYD2