Businesses urged to use CGI facility

January 7, 2010

The creative industry sector is being encouraged to use a new computer generated imagery (CGI) facility at the University of Glamorgan.

The Welsh Assembly Government has provided finance for the university’s so-called render farm at its creative industries ATRiuM campus in the centre of Cardiff.

The “farm” is a high-end digital graphics and moving image facility which specifically provides computer generated imagery (CGI) for computer games, animation and digital visual effects for film and TV.

It will be the first facility of its kind in Wales to be made available to businesses on a commercial basis.
Two render farms already exist in London and Liverpool, but no facility of this type has previously been made available to businesses in Wales.

It will strengthen links between businesses and academia in the sector by using the CGI to provide access to 3D computer-generated animation, 3D modelling and visual digital effects.

The Welsh Assembly Government’s Academic Expertise for Business (A4B) programme has provided nearly £250,000 in funding for the purchase of commercial software licences for the facility at Glamorgan University’s Atrium in Cardiff, as well as for workshops, demonstrations and taster sessions to promote the facility to businesses.

The funding will also enable a small commercial studio to be established, which will allow for the development of collaborative opportunities between the university and industry.

Use of the render farm facility has so far been limited to academia.

The A4B funding will allow the University of Glamorgan to adapt and provide commercial access to the facility.

Wales has nearly 2,000 creative and cultural businesses employing 19,000 people. It is hoped that initially around 40 media businesses will benefit from the new facility.

Dean of the University of Glamorgan’s School of Creative & Cultural Industries, Professor Peter Robertson, said: “We are extremely pleased to be able to make these leading edge facilities available for commercial use.

“The facility will be used in a number of ways – to demonstrate the potential of the technology, through collaborative projects with businesses and through commercial use to render film at any time.”
The Minister for the Economy and Transport, Ieuan Wyn Jones, said: “I am very pleased to hear that A4B continue to make such a positive impact on digital media projects such as this render farm in Cardiff.

“It is heartening to know that by funding innovative projects such as these, the Assembly Government can continue to contribute vastly to the current trend of media growth in Wales.”

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