Guardians of the Galaxy's VFX Were Coded on a Discontinued Computer (Updated)

By Matt Hill on at

You may expect an Academy Award-nabbing special effects house to be plying its trade on fully loaded Mac Pro stacks crafted from brushed marble with a hard drive the size of Twickenham.

But London-based CGI firm Framestore, who created Groot, Rocket Racoon and their virtual pals in suspiciously good blockbuster Guardians of the Galaxy, plus pretty much everything bar Sandra Bullock in Gravity, will tell you that you’re wrong.

The company's Oscar-grabbing CG lighting director Paul Beilby has listed his tools of the trade to tech mag T3, and it’s surprisingly suburban.

It consists of a £1,249 Dell Z600 laptop HP's affordable, now-refurb-only Z600 (“12 cores and 16GB of memory,” says Beilby; “Get an XPS 15 as this one’s been discontinued,” says Dell) and two £1,727 Eiszo CG245W monitors (“one always colour calibrated,” he adds). Which, by our reckoning, is less than £5k of hardware.

Of course, as ever, there’s a suite of software pricier than Microsoft Office to cough up for – £2,100 for 3D animation package Maya, £2,534 for digital compositor Nuke and £875 for 3D rendering assistant Arnold.

And, OK, yes, so the team also uses render machines packing 96GB memory a piece that they wouldn’t reveal the cost of, annnnnd bespoke coded software that isn’t available commercially… but hey, it’s a start. [T3 Magazine]

Update: Framestore's Paul Beilby has got in touch to clarify he uses an HP 7600, not the Dell 7600 laptop as quoted by T3.