REAL Software, creator of cross-platform software development tools, today announced that Eden FX, a large special effects studio in Santa Monica, developed an application with REAL Studio to render visual effects animation for The Social Network, Superman Returns and Lost. Dubbed “Red Five” after Luke Skywalker, the tool was created by Eden FX’s Executive Visual Effects Producer Steve Pugh.
Pugh’s application is used daily by 20 artists and three producers to manage rendering of all the visual effects animation for the company’s projects, whose recent work includes Chuck, Fringe and The Cape. Because of the render controller, workflow at Eden FX has improved substantially and given artists the ability to integrate multiple advanced image formats, which was not previously supported by other programs.
Steve Pugh, Executive Producer at Eden FX, had worked in Visual Studio for years, but in early 2008 he had an opportunity for a fresh start and was looking into new development platforms that would allow him to create a new render controller to speed up visual effects automation and composites, and allow for the integration of new packages. The previous controller was rather tightly bound to one 3D package and as his toolset grew, it became clear he needed a more flexible system.
He considered web-based approaches such as Java and Visual C variants, but found the web-based interfaces to be inelegant and slow, and lacking the dynamic interface features that a compiled desktop app can provide.
Faced with limited time and resources, Steve knew he didn’t have several months to learn new programming languages to develop the render controller. He wanted a rapid application development solution that was both easy to learn and use, and had cross-platform flexibility for Windows, Mac and Linux.
The REAL Solution
After an exhaustive search, Stephen determined REAL Software’s REAL Studio product was the best choice because of the following features:
Cross-platform: REAL Studio supports Windows, Mac and Linux with almost no extra effort. Unlike other cross-platform development tools, REAL Studio creates a proper user interface for each platform using native controls for each platform. REAL Studio helps programmers create the best user interface with automatic guidelines for spacing controls, default control sizes, even special menu items that can automatically move to different locations based on the operating system.
Rapid application development: REAL Studio is a rapid application development environment that gives programmers the power to write, test and ship software four times faster than C++ or Java.
Interface toolset: REAL Studio allows for implementation of dynamic, on-the-fly menus and interface elements, which can change based on database queries, image formats, and conditional checks.
Threading implementation: Gives REAL Studio developers the ability to create code that allows multiple processes to happen simultaneously.
Security: REAL Studio compiles code into secure machine code that eliminates the security concern inherent with Java’s byte code. After reviewing a REAL Studio tutorials and prowling the user community, Steve was able to create a new render controller, Red Five, in a few months. For Steve, the language and environment were similar to tools he’d used earlier so the transition was easy. Even some of his code was ported straight over with minimal changes for compatibility, and other routines were re-designed with REAL Studio’s OOP features in mind. He found REAL Software’s company and community forums a major help when he had questions or issues.
Steve credits Red Five with speeding up workflow substantially. Additionally, now other advanced image formats can integrate with Red Five, giving the digital artists more flexibility to create more dramatic and varied special effects.
Steve and his team also use REAL Studio for several in-house utilities and ‘bot programs running 24/7 to handle tasks ranging from automated Quicktime/image conversion tools to slate generation.