This new level of pre-visualization added additional challenges. Typical pre-visualization uses simple, untextured geometry to block, or plan, the position of the camera, actors, and action in a scene. But for Beowulf, the filmmakers and the Imageworks team needed more. They wanted a pre-viz process that would convey the emotion, lighting subtleties, and tone of the scene. For this, higher quality graphics, akin to those found in state-of-the-art video games became a necessity. The trick was to find a graphics card that was up to the challenge of producing images of this quality in real time. The Beowulf team found it in NVIDIA Quadro professional graphics cards, which offered the processing power necessary to render multiple characters with texturing and lighting in real time. With Quadro™ solutions, the director was able to achieve the instantaneous feedback he needed during the layout process to compose, shoot, and alter the performance in real time.
"Quadro boards had the power to produce the real-time scenes that we needed during our performance capture integration and camera layout process," said Corey Turner, technical animation supervisor for Beowulf. "Some of our scenes were of enormous complexity, with over 70 characters whose actions had to be editable and rendered in real time. NVIDIA gave us the ability to visualize the director’s vision in real time."