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:

  1. 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.

  2. 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.

  3. 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.

  4. Familiarity. ACME's founders all have decades of professional experience in the 3d animation business; we know this software, and we know this marketplace.

  5. 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:

  1. Request sequencing

  2. QR code message parsing

  3. Custom image acquisition

  4. Custom image pre-processing, format and character set standardization

  5. Order workspace creation and management

  6. 3d scene initialization

  7. 3d model generation

  8. 3d surfacing generation

  9. 3d animation / key framing / simulation

  10. 3d lighting

  11. Frame sequence rendering

  12. Frame sequence post-processing

  13. Frame sequence encoding to mp4

  14. 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:

  1. CherryPy & Nginx webservers

  2. Autodesk Maya

  3. Python and standard Python modules. About 15 of them.

  4. MongoDB

  5. FFmpeg

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ACME’s dual microservice pipeline is now released. What does that mean? Well, ACME uses big - and I mean big - software programs and apps used by the Visual Effects Industry. All of these programs are primarily designed to be used interactively by 3d artists. These 3d programs also have highly integrated scripting languages (mel, Python, lua) which can be used to automate many of the actions that a 3d artist can do. Now: The key word in that last sentence is ‘many’. The truth is *not all* of the actions of an artist clicking on the program interface can be scripted. Because these programs have massive subsystems smartly designed to not block each other (graphics display not blocking animation evaluation, texture loading, dependency computation, and runtime API alterations via plugins for example), many artist action sequences simply cannot be easily scripted because the scripts run much faster than 3d artists clicking on the GUI interface. Many tools in these programs were only designed with ‘slowly’ clicking humans in mind. This means race conditions occur when scripts attempting to mimic 3d artists are run within these programs. ACME engineers however, know the ways around this problem, and for the animations that require it, we have nimbly created a parallel pipeline which progresses these animation’s creation through Maya as if an artist was there driving it. We consider this one of our core advantages to the competition. As of today, ACME can create any animation that Hollywood can. Only ACME does it *completely automated*.

As a result of this new pipeline, we can now support animations based on frameworks like Maya's MASH framework, which is an animation creation system that relies on non-blocking spawned threads for dependency node network creation. Frameworks like MASH are easy for humans to interact with in the MAYA interface, but they are also notoriously very difficult to automate via standard scripting. Well, difficult for anyone but ACME.

Also, this new multi-path pipeline is not limited to Maya based animations. Another feature is that we can now add parallel pipelines using any major animation package that we can swap into the needed task - 2d image processing, 3d surface animation processing, frame rendering, or mp4 encoding. If a particular animation is best done in Unreal Engine instead of Maya, we can have that animation be created through a pipeline based on the Unreal Engine.

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  • Peter

ACME's Animation Engine V1 is out; our B2B animated QR code Generator web page now supports professional grade resolution animation generation of any animated QR Code for turnaround in minutes. Also, the Animation Engine provides full access to all of our API options, unlike our retail-friendly Coderunner which is simplified for ease of use and limited in resolution.

Here I am giving a demo of our Animation Engine:

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