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ToonBox Animates 'The Nut Job' with Dell

Dell technology enables Toronto-based 3D animation studio ToonBox Entertainment to achieve high image quality.

Toronto-based animation house ToonBox Entertainment, creator of the 3D stereoscopic animated series Bolts & Blip, has been hard at work on its first animated feature, The Nut Job, slated for release later this year.

Based on the short film Nuts & Robbers, which received an Animago Award for Best Character Design in 2011, The Nut Job follows two street-wise rodents, Surly Squirrel and his rat friend Buddy, as their mischievous antics upset the tranquility of their city park home.

When Toonbox decided to move into feature film production, the company realized it needed to scale out its IT infrastructure to produce content in a short amount of time on a limited budget. After evaluating solutions from multiple vendors, ToonBox found an ideal partner in Dell, who helped put together a high quality, stereoscopic animation studio in record time.

“When you're on the cutting edge of what can be done in animation, you need a solid backbone,” said ToonBox VP Thom Chapman. “Selecting Dell as our hardware partner for servers, storage and Precision workstations was one of the best decisions ToonBox has made. We enjoy a fantastic relationship with Dell which contributes to the growth of our company.”

Dell equipped ToonBox with everything the company needed for each department, from visual effects and lighting to graphics. Using Dell’s solutions, ToonBox was able to stick to its strict timelines and also trim its budgets.

William Seneshen, head of production technology for ToonBox Entertainment, says that since ToonBox had a very tight timeline for its projects, “We had to define our production pipeline and asset management with crews that were confident in the project. It’s possible to do high-end CGI on a tight schedule, but deadline pushes in this business are a horror show.”

Dell’s team helped build a shared infrastructure for animation rendering with powerful workstations for the designers on the front end of the CGI pipeline, all the way to PowerEdge C6100 servers at the back end for animation rendering. Dell provided its highest performing processors and most efficient components throughout the production pipeline. Check out the video below for the full story:

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Jennifer Wolfe is Director of News & Content at Animation World Network.