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AWS Launches Amazon Nimble Studio

New cloud-based pay as you go production service provides almost limitless, easily scalable access to high-power accelerated virtual workstations, high-speed storage, and on-demand rendering resources across Amazon’s global infrastructure.

Amazon Web Services, (AWS) has announced the general availability of Amazon Nimble Studio, a new cloud-based service that enables customers to set up a content production studio in hours instead of weeks, with near limitless scalability and access to rendering on demand. Amazon Nimble Studio customers can easily onboard and collaborate with artists from anywhere in the world to produce content quickly and cost effectively. Artists will have access to accelerated virtual workstations, high-speed storage, and scalable rendering across AWS’s global infrastructure so they can create content faster. The service requires no upfront fees or commitments; customers pay only for the underlying AWS services used. You can get started with the system by visiting https://aws.amazon.com/nimble-studio/

Amazon Nimble Studio brings to market the cloud-based production platform first announced by ex-DreamWorks Animation veterans Rex Grignon and Jason Schleifer in 2016 and formally released in fall 2018. Acquired by Amazon in 2019, the platform has continued to fuel studio productions and now, in the wake of fundamental industry production shifts brought about by the pandemic, launches to the masses.

With Amazon Nimble Studio, customers can create a new content production studio in just a few hours; creative talent has immediate access to high performance workstations powered by Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (EC2) G4dn instances with NVIDIA Graphical Processing Units (GPUs), shared file storage from Amazon FSx, and ultra-low latency streaming via the AWS global network. Amazon Nimble Studio gives content production studios the ability to start with as few resources as needed, scale up those resources when rendering demands peak, and spin them back down once projects are completed.

Here's a brief overview of the new service:

The ongoing pandemic has only made clearer the difficulties, and costs, that production studios encounter in their constant efforts to acquire, integrate, and manage high-end workstations, renderfarms, and storage system in a safe and secure manner. To bring high-quality visual effects, animation, and creative content to life, studios historically have relied on local high-performance workstations connected to shared file storage systems over low-latency, on-premises networks. Increased consumer appetite for premium content and experiences has driven greater demand for compute-intensive rendering of visual effects and animations. This increased demand causes content production studios to over-provision their compute, networking, and storage infrastructure for peak capacity, which proves expensive, difficult to manage, and hard to scale. For example, a typical animated feature film now generates 730 terabytes of data and up to half a billion files, requiring more than 150 million core compute hours and coordination from hundreds of artists and engineers. Consumer demand for more content has also required studios to onboard talent from around the world, who then require high-powered workstations, specialized software, and high-speed storage and networking. All these constraints can result in production delays, increased expenses, and lost opportunity for content production studios.

Cloud-based systems like Amazon Nimble Studio allow remote teams from around the world to easily onboard and get access to any required amount of high-performance infrastructure for only as long as needed, without having to procure, set up, and manage local workstations, file systems, and low-latency networking. Amazon Nimble Studio supports both the Windows and Linux operating systems so that artists can work with their preferred third-party creative applications. Additionally, studios can use custom software applications and bring them into Amazon Nimble Studio via Amazon Machine Images (AMIs), ensuring a seamless migration from on-premises to cloud infrastructure.

Amazon Nimble Studio is the latest AWS solution for media and entertainment customers, joining the AWS Thinkbox Deadline render management application as a core capability supporting content production. Media and entertainment leaders like Discovery, Disney, EuroSport, Formula 1, FOX, HBO Max, Peacock, and Weta Digital use purpose-built AWS solutions that help content creators, rights holders, producers, and distributors accelerate reinvention across five key industry business areas: content production, direct-to-consumer and over-the-top (OTT) streaming, broadcast, media supply chain and archive, and data science and analytics.

“Amazon Nimble Studio is going to change the way customers produce content using a cloud-based production pipeline,” said Kyle Roche, Head of Content Production Tech, AWS. “To date, studios struggle to keep up with the ever-increasing demand for creative content, which has driven an exponential increase in the computing power required to produce content—hastening obsolescence of workstations and straining on-premises storage and rendering capacity. We are excited to announce Amazon Nimble Studio, a transformational new service for the creative community built for the cloud to make it much faster, easier, and less expensive to produce the content that consumers want to watch.”

AWS also announced AWS for Media & Entertainment, an initiative that makes it easier for industry customers to discover, implement, and deploy purpose-built AWS capabilities and partner solutions for their highest priority workloads—enabling them to create compelling content faster, invent new customer experiences, expand direct-to-consumer offerings, and improve media supply chain efficiency. AWS for Media & Entertainment aligns the broadest and deepest set of industry-specific cloud capabilities, including purpose-built media and creative services, hardware, solutions, tools, and partners. AWS for Media & Entertainment also establishes dedicated resources across each industry solution area to help customers accelerate time to value, aligning AWS internal resources, AWS Professional Services, and 400+ industry-specific Independent Software Vendor (ISVs) Partners and 100+ System Integrators (SIs). For more information, visit: https://aws.amazon.com/blogs/media/announcing-aws-for-media-and-entertainment/

Amazon Nimble Studio is available today in six AWS Regions and AWS Local Zones: US East (N. Virginia), US West (Oregon) Region, Canada (Central) Region, Europe (London) Region, Asia Pacific (Sydney) Region, and US Local Zone (Los Angeles), with additional region support coming soon.

Organizations using the service include:

  • Anjekumi connects gamers and enables them to play games from anywhere in the world using next generation devices. “Amazon Nimble Studio allows us to concentrate on the creative result rather than the technical journey as it solves some key issues in our production pipeline,” said Kurt Rauer, CEO, Anjekumi. “Our business is a global one and with Amazon Nimble Studio we are able to engage creative people globally without the associated friction.”
  • The California State University is a public university system in California with 23 campuses. “As the largest public higher education system in the nation, the California State University system pride ourselves on having an innovative mindset in Media & Entertainment education, empowering a majority-minority, diverse student population,” said Dina Ibrahim, Executive Director, San Francisco State University. “AWS is a perfect partner to represent a path forward for our creative programs, as we look to moving more of our education experience to the cloud in the near future, and solutions like Amazon Nimble Studio provide our students with easier, hands-on access to the latest tools in content creation technology, which better positions them for success in their careers.”
  • Evil Eye Pictures is an Oscar and Emmy award-winning animation, visual effects, and design studio based in San Francisco, CA. “We like to go beyond the traditional and embrace emerging technologies that support innovative storytelling,” said Dan Rosen, Co-founder and Executive Creative Director, Evil Eye Pictures. “Adding Amazon Nimble Studio to our arsenal will allow us to more easily scale up and down with projects, and collaborate with the best talent, regardless of where they are located.”
  • Shomen Productions is a virtual animation and VFX studio that taps a global talent pool to create branded content. “We believe the future of production is dispersed teams and agile studios. Geographical access to a ready pool of talent is no longer an obstacle to creativity,” said James Bennett, Founder and Director of VFX & Animation, Shomen Productions. “A production solution like Amazon Nimble Studio allows your team to scale production resources at will and collaborate efficiently across vast distances. There is tremendous power in the ability to collaborate remotely with creatives who are spread across the world as easily as if they were sitting next to you. We believe Amazon Nimble Studio will be as impactful to creative production as iTunes was to the music industry.”
  • Sinking Ship Entertainment is an Emmy award-winning production and new media company based in Toronto. “We’ve been eagerly following the development of Amazon Nimble Studio and look forward to adding it to our workflow,” said Shervin Shahidi, Director of Digital Transformation, Sinking Ship Entertainment. “It will bring dynamic elasticity to our capabilities and allow us to expand our talent pool to include artists worldwide.”
  • Spire Animation Studios is a new feature animation studio. “Spire Animation was formed to empower world-class creative and technical talent to develop diverse, high-end animated entertainment for global audiences,” said Brad Lewis, Co-Founder and Chief Creative Officer, Spire Animation Studios. “By harnessing next-gen technology, like Amazon Nimble Studio and real-time game engines, we’re reimagining the content production process, even if our artists aren’t based in the same location.”

Source: Amazon Web Services

Dan Sarto's picture

Dan Sarto is Publisher and Editor-in-Chief of Animation World Network.

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