Media Solution Center - HPC

Through the development of IT over the last 20 years, which is also massively reflected in the media, the need for computing time, but above all also for algorithmic competence in this area, has increased strongly. Realistic representations require more and more computation time, especially when it comes to interactive scenarios: be it as animations in art, entertainment or information (e.g. in museums), as an interactive design model in early stages of product development (e.g. cars) Tool for the filming of animation films. The media sector is thus a young, dynamic and fast-growing sector, which in the coming years can benefit enormously from the use of IT technologies, especially high-performance computing (HPC).


Since 2007, the state of Baden-Württemberg has pursued the strategy of specifically supporting the cooperation between research and industry in the area of high-performance computing by establishing HPC Solution Centers. Precisely because the topic of “media and HPC” is still very young, the opportunity is here to offer a lasting impetus, which in the medium term can strengthen the media location BW on the research side as well as on the economic side.


Against this background, the partners of the Filmakademie Baden-Württemberg, Hochschule der Medien Stuttgart, the Center for Art and Media Technology in Karlsruhe and the High Performance Computing Center Stuttgart (HLRS) have joined forces to take up the challenges that these developments offer. This combination of partners makes it possible to combine the existing know-how in the fields of film, media, and art as well as in high-performance calculation in an ideal way and thus lay the foundation for innovative applications. The activities are coordinated by SICOS BW Gmbh.



Palander Fluid Simulation

Visual effects, water, fire and smoke simulations are among the most common applications in films with a high proportion of visual effects. However, the calculation of these effects often represents a bottleneck in film productions. The artistic control is always more important than the physical correctness of the simulation.


One of the goals of the project is to investigate how an open framework for the simulation of visual effects in connection with a high-performance computer center should be designed. To that end, we examine existing approaches to carry out our tasks. Have 'big data' approaches been used in VFX and where are the problems? Can database input / prioritizing sparse input data be supplemented sensibly?


Project Palander investigates how to incorporate open-source programs onto a HPC system, thus avoiding licensing issues when using a high number of nodes. It provides a prototype application for performing HPC fluid simulations at high speeds and/or resolutions. For the content creation platform, we use Blender, into which we introduce a Python add-on to bypass its native fluid simulation engine; instead, the simulations are then performed on the HPC system using Palabos, an engineering-grade and massively parallelizable fluid simulation tool.


FMX 2017, Conference Talk, Tools of Tomorrow
High-Performance Computing for Artistic Content Creation
May 5, Bertha-Benz-Saal, 15:00 - 16:00


Project files and code available at Github: