ACME's initial pipeline engines are Maya based. And, as tech junkies, we keep a sharp eye on the 3d animation marketplace. The software landscape - especially the VFX software landscape - is always changing; constant adoption of the latest appropriate technology - while not needlessly chasing every shiny new solution - is truly a matter of life and death for tech services. ACME is very interested in both Blender - the open source general 3d application hailing to VFX standards, and also Epic’s Unreal Engine - the heavy hitter with heritage from the gaming industry that has solidly established itself as a core tool for 'in-camera' VFX challenges even in the film industry. Since our two existing Maya based pipelines overlap Blender’s abilities significantly, we're going to prioritize exploratory development on Epic's Unreal Engine first. The deciding factors for us were diversification into new technology, and the potential rendering speed gains that gaming engine provides as a fundamental feature. After that, we'll explore integration of Blender as well; the more options we provide our customers, the better.
- Dec 21, 2019
- 1 min read
Content Delivery Network is up.
For paying subscribers, ACME now provides - for customers wanting it - automatically hosted content on our Microsoft Azure based Content Delivery Network, for resilient global hosting of animations 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year. Solid. Your ACME animated QR code will be available, always.
- Dec 10, 2019
- 2 min read
We are frequently asked about the software ACME uses to generate the animations within our API. For the software engineering readers in our audience, here's a basic description of our current API backend framework and the reasoning that went into our choices.
Our backend framework is a custom software structure supporting a digital pipeline that mirrors the standard production workflow steps of the Visual Effects Industry (VFX). Rather than 're-inventing the wheel' with a strictly proprietary solution set, we chose this configuration for the following advantages:
Power. Right from the start, we provide to our users the full power of a billion dollar industry to animate QR codes in 3d, or 2d, or in any way we can dream up. There is simply nothing Hollywood can do that ACME can't also do.
Currency. By leveraging a framework of focused software components, we can keep our framework current by updating each component as they become updated in the software marketplace.
Focus: Compartmentalized task-focused software leads to ease of maintenance, and also more user choices as technology improves over time; if a new animation software package becomes the 'new thing' we simply add a new pipeline that supports animation creation with that new software.
Familiarity. ACME's founders all have decades of professional experience in the 3d animation business; we know this software, and we know this marketplace.
Efficiency. Our proprietary animation-forming software is layered atop commercial and open source software - so we keep focused on what we know best. It's simply the most cost effective way for us to bring you custom animations of this quality.
Our backend API relies on over 40 different processes of at least 15 different apps to guide each incoming request through the appropriate pipeline steps including but not limited to:
QR code message parsing
Custom image acquisition
Custom image pre-processing, format and character set standardization
Order workspace creation and management
3d scene initialization
3d model generation
3d surfacing generation
3d animation / key framing / simulation
Frame sequence rendering
Frame sequence post-processing
Frame sequence encoding to mp4
Content delivery network uploads
Another important detail is that all apps within our framework are 'always up and ready' to begin processing upon request. This contrasts with the fact that many large 3d animation apps can literally take minutes just to start. Your animations are never subject to such app launch delays - ACME's API always has a pool of 3d apps already started and waiting to work immediately to form and render a 3d animation scene as soon as any request comes in.
Here's a list of some of the software we always have running in our API to make animations for you:
CherryPy & Nginx webservers
Python and standard Python modules. About 15 of them.