Artificial Intelligence used to recreate prehistoric shark in action thriller film 'The Meg'

Artificial Intelligence used to recreate prehistoric shark in action thriller film 'The Meg'
Published: 14 August 2018 - 6:16 a.m.

Last week, Warner Bros. Pictures and Gravity Pictures released “The Meg,” a science fiction action thriller film starring a prehistoric, 75-foot-long shark known as the Megalodon. Powered by Intel artificial intelligence (AI) hardware and created by Scanline VFX using the Ziva VFX software, the Megalodon was created by VFX animators in record time and with lifelike accuracy – from the way the shark moves in the water to its muscles and skin – to deliver a jaw-dropping experience to movie audiences around the world.

AI technology allows movies to create incredibly detailed and lifelike graphics, while saving time throughout creative iterations, which all work together to elevate the art of movie creation and enhance the audience experience.

Intel Xeon Scalable processors power Ziva’s character-generating software and help accelerate Ziva’s physics engine – an AI algorithm that automates movement for generated creatures, including the Megalodon from “The Meg.” Additionally, Scanline used powerful Intel Xeon processors to render the shots for the film, saving them valuable time while allowing them to create more shots and options.

“To create ‘The Meg,’ we needed a massive amount of performance in our computer system,” said Stephan Trojansky, president and VFX supervisor, Scanline. “Years ago, you would have needed a huge render farm and a large crew for a very small amount of footage – today, we can use 2,500 Intel Xeon processors with almost 100,000 cores that are used to compute all of the needs of the movie. This enables fast iterations and the ability to present multiple options to the director, which is critical in making the best possible visual effects.”

Re-creating a prehistoric, 75-foot long shark in the water for the big screen is not an easy task. In addition to bringing the Megalodon to life, Scanline and Ziva also needed to ensure its movements through the ocean, a fluid background, were realistic. They were able to realistically create the Megalodon moving through water by processing a number of physical simulations and then running the simulated shark through all of the movements and poses needed in the shots for the film.

“At Ziva, we help creators make amazing creatures with the power of Intel AI. One of the great advantages to using Intel Xeon Scalable processors is that they allow us to generate amazing training data. When you want to train a machine learning process, it needs to know how something is going to behave in order to anticipate itself, or extrapolate how it expects something to behave – in this case, the movement of the shark itself. Intel Xeon technology helped the film’s creators do that quickly and efficiently and in the most realistic way possible,” said James Jacobs, CEO, Ziva VFX.

“At Intel, we strive every day to make the amazing possible, and it’s exciting to see our Intel Xeon Scalable processors used to bring the film’s Megalodon shark to life on the big screen.” – Julie Choi, head of AI Marketing, Intel

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