For “The Year of Pluto,” Pixeldust Studios had to render more than 10,000 frames for the entire Kuiper Belt sequence, which ran nearly 6-minutes long. The company deployed its robust render farm for this monumental task which was  comprised of 70-80 render nodes running Intel i-7 processors with 12-16 GB of RAM. Renderer used was Maya’s Mental Ray. The overall render time was about 5-6 days, spread out in different increments. Final frames were composited in Adobe After Effects CC 2014

Regarding Pixeldust Studios’ contributions to this new documentary project, Geoff Haines-Stiles, Writer/Producer/Director of “The Year of Pluto,” said, “Pixeldust brought creativity, intelligence, and a deep commitment to accurate science to this project. They took the best still images from telescopes, plus space artists’ speculations and expert input from our advisors, and transformed that data into a dramatic television trip through the Kuiper Belt. As always, their team was a pleasure to work with – responsive, quick, and ever-willing to go the extra mile to make things look great and reflect as much as we know about this mysterious realm of ice worlds.”

“The Year of Pluto” has already generated over 320,000 views on NASA TV YouTube, and more than 64,000 views on APL’s site. One viewer on NASA’s YouTube Channel commented, “One of the best NASA films ever,” while another wrote, “That was awesome. Even jerked a tear – humanity’s amazing feats. There’s still hope for our race.”