Studio’s first interactive episode, part of the festival’s New Frontier Gallery, uses interactive cloud streaming technology to enable seamless interaction and high-end graphics on mobile platforms.
The Technology team at Disney Media & Entertainment Distribution (DMED), and Disney Television Animation (DTVA), are debuting a new interactive episode of Baymax Dreams Fred’s Glitch using touch input at the Virtual 2021 Sundance Festival, which runs January 28 - February 3.
The new, immersive short experience uses interactive cloud streaming, which moves the computationally intensive graphics processing to the cloud – allowing simpler, lighter weight client applications. The touch input from participant viewers helps direct the story of the episode and can manifest in multiple ways, whether it’s choosing the color of Fred’s upload sequence, or assisting Baymax in containing a glitch by activating a debug protocol.
The experience is the first premium, interactive 3D animated content of its kind featuring touch interaction and is fully remote-rendered. These elements allow the audience to not just choose the path of the story, but also gives them agency – knowing that characters in the episode can respond positively or negatively depending on the speed and efficiency of participation.
In this workflow, real-time content is streamed to a device in a fraction of a second, allowing seamless interaction without loss of graphics quality on mobile platforms. Participants can have a high-quality experience regardless of how powerful or modern their device might be, as long as they have a strong Internet connection.
“Disney has the greatest storytellers in the world,” said Kaki Navarre, Director, Content Technology, Disney Media & Entertainment Distribution. “By embracing new technologies and methods, we can free those content creators from the processing limitations of client devices, advancing what is possible from a computational perspective, which grants significant creative freedom in how stories can be brought to life for an audience.”
Added Andy Wood, Producer, Disney Television Animation, “This technology can allow production of narratives that immerse audiences into their favorite Disney stories in new ways, giving them the power to help beloved characters complete journeys, and shape the worlds they live in.”
The limited debut is part of The Sundance Festival’s New Frontier Gallery and reflects Disney’s innovative spirit and an ongoing commitment from DMED Technology and DTVA teams to explore new possibilities at the intersection of real-time production and interactive cloud streaming.
It is part of StudioLab's Alliance partnership with Sundance, where the “Alliance Gallery” is a virtual portal that is home to the XR and immersive work of partners. Festival attendees will be able to access the portal via the designated area in the New Frontier Gallery.
For this initial experiment, Disney’s teams used Nvidia’s GeForce NOW interactive cloud streaming platform to deploy a broadcast quality interactive video experience. This approach enabled the creative team to match the quality of the linear Baymax Dreams episodes for the interactive experience.
Baymax Dreams, inspired by Disney Television Animation’s Emmy Award-nominated Big Hero 6 The Series TV show, originally premiered on DisneyNOW and Disney Channel YouTube in 2018. The series of two-minute shorts explore the content of Baymax’s dreams, whether he’s counting electric sheep or dodging virtual bedbugs. The episodes were created using a real-time production pipeline, which streamlines the process of creating content for multiple platforms and formats.
Season 2 of the innovative, ground-breaking short film series launched this past August; the first three shorts in the series premiered back in 2018. The first season of Baymax capitalized on real-time rendering technology functionality, employing non-linear workflows and tools frequently used in the gaming industry, all supported by Unity and Disney’s Direct to Consumer & International Technology (DTCI) group. Since 2018, many of these capabilities were further advanced and brought in-house by Disney’s DTCI and TVA.
Source: Disney Television Animation
Dan Sarto is Publisher and Editor-in-Chief of Animation World Network.