Source of the post
I'm curious, how much time it took to render that video, and on what kind of hardware. And, maybe more interesting, what software was used, and how long it took to create it and setup the scene.
The info I was able to gather says that this was rendered by a raytracing algorithm in FORTRAN using a Cray-1
supercomputer, a 5.5 tons monster with 8MB of RAM and a 64-bits system. The graphic memory was of 2MB, enought to store 2 frames of the movie at any time, these were then stored in magnetic tapes. Apparently they made the decission to render only the lower part of the frame after the first still image of the islands since the important changes were ocurring only there (water waves). Because of the simplicity of the periodic motion of the water waves only a few frames were needed for this part and replayed in a loop. The ambient and atmospheric colors were added after that by another computer. The Moon and the Sun are also post-processed as far as I understand the original paper.
For a typical frame of the video:
- 34 seconds of computation time on the Cray-1
- 5 minutes to record it on a Dicomed D-48 color film recorder
- 45 seconds to backspace the tape twice between color passes
So the entire movie probably took something like a day or two to render.
I didn't read it carefully so you might want to check the original paper: