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Using gaming software to produce animation

Pixeldust Studios has revolutionized the animation production process by adopting a new approach that utilizes gaming software to produce photorealistic animations. The traditional pipeline involved prepping each shot and sending it to a render farm for distributed rendering, which was a time-consuming and often inefficient process that took anywhere from 3-30 hours, depending on the complexity of the shot.
A rendered frame from the CuriosityStream documentary "Ancient Oceans," Produced by Pixeldust.

New pipeline

However, in 2018, Pixeldust CG Supervisor Samar Shool introduced a new pipeline using the Unity HD Rendering pipeline. This allowed the studio to render multiple complex shots with tight turnarounds while retaining the photorealistic quality and with minimal compositing. The new pipeline marked a significant milestone for Pixeldust, enabling them to complete over 80% of the CG shots, including shading, lighting, and compositing, in 4K, from start to finish in a single machine. The use of gaming software in animation production has revolutionized the industry, allowing for the ability to work with particles and VFX in real time. The intricate complexities of photorealistic renders, such as light, shadow, reflection, refraction, and global illumination, can be altered and tweaked in real-time, enabling artists to produce high-quality shots faster and with less technical render wrangling.


The use of Unity and Unreal engines, primarily known for their gaming features, has expanded into the world of cinematic animation. This allows for a more efficient pipeline that allocates more effort to the creative art direction of shots and animation quality. The powerful Nvidia RTX technology in the GPUs has enabled even 4K frames to be rendered in seconds, making the process faster and more cost-effective. Pixeldust has adopted Unreal Engine as its prime real-time rendering solution alongside Maya Redshift, an enhanced GPU rendering engine. The studio continues to benefit from these technologies, and Unreal Engine 5 Lumen and Pathtracing technology are now the industry-leading rendering solutions for animation, VFX, and virtual production.

A rendered frame from the short film "The Little Chef Saves the World," Produced by Pixeldust.
A rendered frame from Kodak's Prinergy branding animation Produced by Pixeldust.

Bottom line

In conclusion, the use of gaming software in animation production has revolutionized the industry, enabling artists to produce high-quality animations faster and more efficiently. Most importantly, it enables faster turn-around times and prompt implementation of revisions. Pixeldust Studios has successfully adapted to this new pipeline, allowing them to take an animation from concept to completion faster than ever before while retaining the highest quality of animation. The studio’s use of gaming software has opened up new possibilities and opportunities, and it continues to be at the forefront of innovation in the animation industry.

2023 3D Animation Reel | Pixeldust Studios