Increased Rendering: What to look for
To accomplish these feats, the animators used proprietary lighting and rendering packages developed at DreamWorks. One of these, Lighting, is now 64 bit, and was developed in C and C++ over 11 years. In the words of one technician, Lighting paints with light and color.
DreamWorks was able to distribute tasks over multiple machines and cores, and use virtual key and fill lights to show particle sources like the rockets on a chair, shown in at least two Kung Fu Panda scenes. Previously, DreamWorks could only scan one line at a time, so complicated light sources weren’t possible.
Other features that show off the sophisticated processing include realistic feathers, blubber, fat, the physics of kung fu, and the realistic interaction between textured clothing and fur. This is the first movie in which animators have been able to show the "squishiness" of fur. Many of Kung Fu Panda’s characters display realistic facial expressions, however, I wish the whites of Po’s and some other character’s eyes were more realistic rather than so animatronic.