How time and Moore's law flies...
Some of the knowledge is not-quite state of the art any more, but everything's still relevant. And there's a third edition coming soon.
Also it goes both ways, I doubt the people writing these renderers have intricate knowledge of modern networking or web stacks etc.
In the past we would have used a matte painting for distant background stuff. It's pretty sweet.
I don't want to be a sourpuss, but there is a limit beyond which MPI stops scaling, when you look at the program runtime 60% of time is spent in MPI_Wait. Past 80k nodes you can't go much faster no matter how much money you got, I believe this is precisely the problem they address by intelligently grouping similar rays.
We do it occasionally for stupidly big (>64K) frames.
Doesn't work for deep though :)
I've never dealt with the new OpenEXR 2.0 deep stuff, but looking at the spec (http://www.openexr.com/openexrfilelayout.pdf page 13) the Deep Tiled stuff seems to totally be ready for this. I would have guessed that there might have been some global compression option that wouldn't be workable, but the design clearly does this all per tile instead.
Hyperion wouldn't be that much out of character for them, even if personally "Hyperion, from the producers behind Pearl Harbor and The Avengers" isn't at tag line I'd particularly look forward to.
I saw that, and my brain hated it. I even tweeted about what I thought it was at the time. This is an absolutely terrible effed, and I don't understand why they do it.
"Since a hero character close to camera felt attractive with a stereo convergence, that would mean the background in the same shot would be too extreme and unpleasing on the eye. Instead of dialing down the stereo effect overall, Disney pioneered the use of special camera rigs that would render the foreground with one ‘stereo camera’ or solution, while rendering the background with another. Thus the foreground character would appear round and with more fullness, but their background would appear more relaxed, less stereo pronounced."