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Apple Pro Display XDR 'game changer' for 'Jumanji' studio

Apple's Pro Display XDR is a great monitor for professional production, a major animation studio who worked on the movie 'Jumanji: The Next Level' claims, with usage of the new Mac Pro and the display during a real-world project demonstrating the benefits of using the screen without paying excessively for a reference monitor.

The Mac Pro and the Pro Display XDR are intended for use in creative industries, including Hollywood movies and game development, among other fields with high workloads. While so far the bulk of opinions on the new high-level hardware have been from critics and reviewers, companies that actually need to use the hardware in production are starting to offer their views on the hardware.

One of the first major opinions comes from Lunar Animation, a UK-based studio which works on CGI and visual effects for films, commercials, and games. In a post to its website, it is also one of the first firms to take advantage of the Mac Pro and the Pro Display XDR for a project, with high praise offered for the monitor.

Billing the Pro Display XDR as "the real game changer," the studio writes it gives the firm "an ability that we previously didn't have in the studio.: This is in the form of a "phenomenally accurate visual representation of the content we were making," allowing Lunar to "deliver something we were truly confident in."

Apple's Pro Display XDR provided the studio with "essentially" a reference monitor, a piece of hardware that would typically cost tens of thousands of dollars to acquire. While the Pro Display XDR is extremely close to what a reference monitor is capable of displaying, it also does so at a considerably lower cost.

As the firm's final deliverables were EXR files, the Pro Display XDR provided the range for animators to "see past the maximum brightness of a standard iMac display." Knowing the final files were accurate saved the studio the extra cost of "spending money to rent out a facility to check the files," something Lunar couldn't afford to do due to the "tight turnaround" needed for the work.

The Pro Display XDR is $4,999 for the normal glossy version, rising to $5,999 for the nano-etched matte version. The Pro Display Stand is available separately, at a cost of $999.

The Pro Display XDR "is now an invaluable tool that were going to be using on all projects moving forward," the studio insists.

While the biggest praise was saved for the Pro Display XDR, the studio was also pleased with the Mac Pro, namely the increased performance the workstation offers above other Macs the company uses, including the iMac Pro.

In one example, creating the two-minute end credits for the film required the use of 28 high-resolution photorealistic objects, with each having high-resolution textures and geometry. Previously, the iMac Pro the team used wasn't capable of handling all of the assets with high resolution texture maps as the Mac kept running out of graphics RAM.

Switching over from the Radeon Pro Vega 64 with 16GB of HBM2 memory in the 10-core iMac Pro to the 16-core Mac Pro with two Radeon Pro Vega II cards with 32GB of HBM2 memory each and the Apple Afterburner card, the team discovered the benefits of reduced limitations in hardware.

The same scene opened perfectly due to using multiple times the amount of graphics memory, but then they were also surprised to see it playing back in real-time without pre-caching. Unlocking the scene from 24 frames per second, animators saw it play at up to 134 frames per second.