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I was recently watching the newest Hunger Games movie. There was a scene when Katniss walked out of a bunker for hunting and she saw a deer that was not afraid of her.

What got me thinking, was that the deer was clearly not a real animal, but a rendered animation. Is it really cheaper to render an animal than to bring a real one to a movie?

So I started to wonder - are there any common graphic/animation templates that can be shared among movie graphic designers, so that the costs are reduced so much that rendering an animal is simpler than bringing a real one? Or is the rendering of it so cheap and effortless that it is just easier to render a wild animal?

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Rendered animation in movies is indeed a software or a piece of computer program only. You must have heard of the software Renderman which catapulted Pixar's success. Now, in software industry, any piece of code/program is developed with the scope of being reusable. That's the whole point of it.

So let's say there is a computer program that can render a wild animal on screen. Of course, parts of that program would be reusable. All good programs are reusable. Now anyone can make a few tweaks to it and render their own wild animal, largely using the older code.

So there is a huge huge chance that templates exist. It makes a lot of sense. Not having a template seems like a very bad idea and grossly ineffective.

Now in Software industry there is term called Open source software which anyone can use, and there are propriety software which are licensed and are property of a particular owner/company. So designers, developers within the same studio could easily use-reuse / share the templates.

  • Thank you for your reply! But you said that "there is a huge huge chance that templates exist." - does anybody know about any specific examples? Because all I have found till now are just speculations. – Niemand Apr 23 '15 at 12:51
  • Open source doesn't mean anyone can use it, it means that users have access to the source code. Red Hat Enterprise Linux is a great example of open source software that end users pay for. – Ben Plont Apr 23 '15 at 14:01
  • @BenPlont agreed. There is a lot about Open source, but that would be off topic. I hope you get what I was trying to say there – Ankit Apr 23 '15 at 15:46
  • @Niemand Sorry! I don't know of any specific examples. – Ankit Apr 24 '15 at 5:01
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"Is it really cheaper to render an animal than to bring a real one to a movie?"

No, but you have absolute and total control over the reaction of the deer if it's rendered. You can probably get a live deer to do what you want (assuming deer are trainable, which I don't know), but that rendered deer... If you want it to dance, it'll dance.

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    I once heard an animal trainer say "anything with a brain stem can be trained". – Ben Plont Apr 23 '15 at 16:00

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