7/23/2002 - Side Effects Software[tm], developer of the award-winning Houdini® family of 3D software, and Sun Microsystems today announced that Axyz Animation, Inc. has successfully achieved distributed rendering across a Linux-based compute farm using Sun[tm] Grid Engine software with the Houdini 3D solution. Axyz has managed to distribute all of its render-intensive functions from within Houdini -- including building geometry, compositing and animation -- to dramatically reduce the amount of time in which jobs are completed. Houdini is one of the first professional 3D applications with production-proven support for Sun Grid Engine software.

Axyz Animation is a Toronto-based boutique animation house specializing in digital visual effects for commercials, television and feature films. Sun Grid Engine software in combination with Houdini software has enabled Axyz to cost-effectively distribute jobs to and from Linux systems, eliminating pipeline bottlenecks, increasing server utilization rates to nearly 95 percent and cutting production time in half. The combination of the low-cost Linux platform with Sun Grid Engine software, which is available as a free download, offers animation studios like Axyz Animation the technology necessary to increase productivity and system utilization while keeping IT expenditures to a minimum.

"What we needed was a flexible solution that didn't require re-inventing the wheel in our Houdini animation production pipeline," explains John Coldrick, Senior Animator, VP, Axyz Animation. "What we discovered in Sun Grid Engine software was a remarkably robust, flexible, and scalable product that fit our needs like a glove. Animators don't have to be concerned about what machine is available, or massaging their scripts to maximize speed. Every availableCPU in our farm is put at their disposal, and jobs that typically took a whole night in the past can often run in a fraction of the time. Bottlenecks are a thing of the past."

"Sun's vision and worldwide leadership in grid computing for the Solaris[tm] Operating Environment and the Linux platform can help businesses of all sizes be more competitive in the deadline-intensive industry for animation and digital content creation," said Fred Kohout, director of marketing for Technical Market Products at Sun Microsystems. "Sun's Grid Engine software product family is the clear market choice with more than 5,000 grid deployments to date. As businesses discover the direct impact that grid computing can make to their bottom line, Sun's open grid architecture approach will provide the robust grid solutions these new markets require."

"The Sun Grid Engine solution is of significant value to the DCC industry for distributed computing and rendering efficiency," commented Tony Cristiano, General Manager, Side Effects Software US. "Axyz Animation's leadership in the processing and rendering of Houdini files across a Linux farm presents a very powerful and cost-effective example for professional animation facilities of all sizes."

Side Effects Software will be demonstrating Houdini 5.5 on the show floor during the SIGGRAPH conference in the Sun Microsystems booth #13071.

Sun in Grid Computing
Sun Microsystems established itself as a leading architect for grid computing in July 2000 with the acquisition of GRIDware, quickly followed by the launch of Sun's resource management software, Sun Grid Engine. Today, Sun's complete stack of grid computing technologies, its vision for the evolutionary development of grids--from cluster to enterprise to global grids--and its commitment to open, standards-based technologies are fundamental to its strategy to promote and grow grid computing worldwide.

Sun has been instrumental in making grid computing mainstream, driving adoption by making Sun Grid Engine software for the Solaris Operating Environment and Linux platforms available as free downloads. In July 2001, Sun was the first systems vendor to place key grid computing technology into open source via the Grid Engine Project at And Sun has worked with the Global Grid Forum to help establish critical standards for the industry, including The Distributed Resource Management Application API standard (DRMAA).

Sun Grid Engine and Sun Grid Engine, Enterprise Edition software power more than 5,000 cluster and enterprise grids worldwide today, with nearly 70 new grid deployments each week. For more information, go to

About Houdini
The Houdini family of animation software offers digital artists an unprecedented level of power, flexibility and control based on award-winning technology. The comprehensive feature set includes modeling, animation, character tools, particle and channel operations, compositing, integrated rendering with Houdini Mantra, and much more. All Houdini applications work together seamlessly and are available for the NT, Linux, IRIX and Solaris operating systems. Houdini has been used to create stunning digital animation in blockbuster films including, "Spider-Man," "The Sum of All Fears," "The Time Machine," "Black Hawk Down," "Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone," "The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring," "X-Men," and "The Matrix," among many others.

About Side Effects Software
Established in 1987, Side Effects Software is a world leader in the development of advanced 3D graphics and special effects software for use in film, broadcast and game development. Today, Side Effects Software leads the field of non-linear animation with its unique, award-winning Houdini technology. Houdini is used by numerous digital content creation leaders including Digital Domain, DreamWorks SKG, Electronic Arts, Namco, Nickelodeon, Rhythm & Hues, Sega, Sony Pictures Imageworks, Walt Disney Feature Animation and Weta Digital Ltd.

For more information about Side Effects Software and its products, please visit

About Sun Microsystems, Inc.
Since its inception in 1982, a singular vision -- "The Network Is The Computer[tm]" -- has propelled Sun Microsystems, Inc. (Nasdaq: SUNW) to its position as a leading provider of industrial-strength hardware, software and services that make the Net work. Sun can be found in more than 170 countries and on the World Wide Web at

Houdini is a registered trademark of Side Effects Software Inc. All other trademarks mentioned herein are the property of their respective owners. Sun, Sun Microsystems, the Sun logo and Solaris are trademarks or registered trademarks of Sun Microsystems, Inc. in the United States and other countries.

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