When it comes to shark movies, especially one like The Meg, some people can't help to wonder how the movie was made, right? That massive shark in The Meg movie, starring Jason Statham, features a two million years old Megladon.
Obviously, Megladon does not exist anymore, however, the folks at Scanline VFX made it look like it does, and they used CGI to recreate the animal. The thing is, animating something underwater can be quite intense, especially a creature that lives in that environment can require a bit of power to recreate.
Hollywood's long love affair with the shark stretches back, of course, to Jaws – which single-handedly invented the modern summer blockbuster as we know it. However, the team behind The Meg was well aware that the primal terror of a real-life monster that strikes without warning from the unseen depths continues to exert a razor-toothed hold on the moviegoer's imagination.
"To create The Meg, we needed a massive amount of performance in our computer system," president and VFX supervisor at Scanline, Stephan Trojansky, said.
"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," said Trojansky.
Intel's Xeon Scalable processors also helped to accelerate the physics engine contained within the Ziva VFX software. This allowed the animators to generate the shark's movements with the help of artificial intelligence (AI).
In simple terms, this was done with an algorithm which was trained to learn how a shark of that size would move, these movements would then be animated to make it more realistic for the viewers.
"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," chief executive officer at Ziva VFX, James Jacobs said.
We know that CGI and digital animation is nothing new but seeing how artificial intelligence is being used in the arts brings a smile to our face.
You can view the trailer for The Meg movie below.