Qvisten Animation Builds Future-Proof Pipeline With Z By HP Workstations

Qvisten Animation was named after the attic where its founders set up shop in Oslo, Norway, in 1994. Thirty years later, Qvisten’s studio space features a state-of-the-art foundation and 80 employees around the world telling Nordic stories with a global reach.

Qvisten Animation.

Qvisten chief technology officer Raymond Kreppene, who joined the company in 2007, has been instrumental in guiding its technical evolution alongside animation industry advancements, helping to drive the company’s ongoing expansion and success. He constantly experiments with new hardware and software, as well as emerging technology, such as artificial intelligence (AI), real-time game engines, and open standards including USD, to continue pushing Qvisten’s capabilities forward. Z by HP workstations form the backbone of the studio’s infrastructure, with nearly 80 machines in different configurations currently in use.

Qvisten Animation's CTO Raymond Kreppene and HP's Lyder-André Berntsen.
Qvisten Animation’s CTO Raymond Kreppene and HP’s Lyder-André Berntsen.

Most recently, Kreppene began testing the HP Z6 G5 A desktop workstation provided by HP. While the machine offers the AMD Ryzen Threadripper Pro processors with up to 96 cores and up to three high-end graphics cards, Kreppene opted for a 24-core processor, one NVIDIA RTX 4000 graphics card, and 128GB RAM for simulation and rendering.

“Technology is changing faster than ever; it seems like there’s something new and exciting every week. We need to create a technical baseline so that the investments we make today are part of the future,” said Kreppene. “The HP Z6 G5 A is super responsive. One of our character effects artists increased his render speeds by around 67-percent so he could almost do cloth sims in real time. The lighting team got similar results during testing and did not want to give up the machine. I had to promise them that we’d be purchasing several Z6s for them after our tests were finished.”

Expanding infrastructure

Qvisten creates award-winning, family-friendly animated content with heart and humor that appeals to a global audience. To achieve this, it keeps its pipeline on the edge of innovation and seeks out tools that meet its specific needs. For example, Kreppene is a big fan of Numerion Software’s Carbon cloth simulation tool and Autodesk Arnold for rendering. In allocating the company’s Z by HP workstations, he matches the machine specs to the specific artist needs.

“We tailor our machines according to use,” Kreppene explained. “We found that HP Z4s have been great for animation because the CPU has such a high clock speed, even with all the calculation going on with a character rig, and we’ve been using older HP Z8s for simulation and rendering, but will be swapping those for HP Z6s with the faster AMD CPU.”

Qvisten Animation team working on their HP workstations.
Qvisten Animation team working on their HP workstations.
Advanced Hardware Amplifies Creativity

At Qvisten, Kreppene regularly cycles in new Z by HP workstation models based on capabilities and the needs of his artists. Interestingly, he’s found that more powerful workstations don’t necessarily lead to faster renders because artists leverage the improved CPU and RAM to create more complex and higher quality work.

“When I started in animation, most artists also had to be technical,” Kreppene said. “With today’s user-friendly tools, that’s no longer the case. In fact, most Qvisten artists are creative people without a technical background, and it’s up to the pipeline team to mix the technical and artistic ways of working for them.”

Characters from the studio's short <em>The Record,</em> which is now being produced as a feature film.
Characters from the studio’s short The Record, which is now being produced as a feature film.
Adopting new standards

Along with ensuring Qvisten pipeline tools are optimized, Kreppene keeps an eye on general industry developments. Due to widespread support from major companies in the media and entertainment industry, Kreppene rebuilt the Qvisten pipeline around the USD open source standard in 2023; he’s also tracking how AI and machine learning (ML) are being integrated into creative applications.

“Standards like USD enable us to adopt new software quickly and open doors to NVIDIA’s Omniverse. It takes a lot to go from testing into full production, so we’re just starting to play with it, but we’re finding some cool benefits and interesting potential,” noted Kreppene. “We’re also closely tracking developments in AI; we’re already seeing it in regular use for applications like denoising renders and upscaling. AI and ML are going to change the we way complete certain animation and vfx tasks, but the hands and eyes of artists will always be essential to bringing our projects to life.”

USD Asset layer structure
USD Asset layer structure.
Qvisten virtualized

To ensure Qvisten has the appropriate resources and expertise, it has implemented robust work-from-anywhere capabilities using HP remote access technology, which Kreppene notes has been crucial for the studio.

“Our studio is becoming quite big, so we need to be able to access talent around the world and connect with artists remotely. Fortunately, we were already using HP ZCentral Remote Boost when the pandemic hit and were set up for that situation,” shared Kreppene. “Soon, we’ll be moving to HP Anyware, especially with our new HP Z6s; we’re looking forward to that.”

Poster from Qvisten Animation's <em>Just Super</em> (original title <em>Helt Super</em>), released in 2022.
Poster from Qvisten Animation’s Just Super (original title Helt Super), released in 2022.
Continued advancement

In his ongoing quest for innovation, Kreppene aims to take a balanced approach in how he implements new technology. While many artists are excited by getting upgraded workstations and software, others prefer to work in a predictable manner.

“I try not to introduce too many new things at once. It’s important to keep evolving, but do it responsibly. We only move forward with technology that’s battle-proven, and well documented. Sometimes that requires education and learning sessions with the artists. There definitely can be some frustration, but almost everyone is super excited when they get a new machine and it’s a Z by HP computer,” concluded Kreppene.

For more information about Z by HP workstations, visit

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