Forever Alone Filmmaking Render farm options 2012

On the last episode of the Forever Alone Filmmaking Podcast Jimmy and I were discussing render farm options for the solo cg filmmaker... up until this point we've both used our own little in house render setups- we both have four machine setups-

Once you've paid for the hardware the main expense for an in house render farm is power- as with everything else controlled by private companies power is getting more expensive-

My render nodes are Q9300's which are sort of old and slow compared to newer options as each box only provides a 2.91 on the Cinebench 11.5 CPU benchmark

If I run my render nodes 24/7 they'll add $250- $350 to the monthly power bill- so I don't run them 24/7- I have to avoid "peak usage hours" as the power company charges 2-6x the amount for the same power during those times... peak usage is 11am - 6pm in my area...

From my perspective we have 4 basic choices... I've only used the first option but I've been researching the others- if you have any experience with the other options please post your thoughts in the comments and I'll add them to this post

  1. Build, maintain and run your own in house render farm
  2. Utilize a commercial online render farm
  3. Use Amazon EC2 to setup and run your own online render farm
  4. Rent a dedicated online server and use it as an online render node
Build, maintain and run your own in house render farm

Pros- File transfer speed extremely fast, so you can start rendering shots faster and when the shots are done you can transfer quickly as everything is on your local network

Cons- You have to pay for the power which can get quite expensive, you have to deal with the heat and noise generated, you must maintain, troubleshoot and fix any problems, if you don't have fast computers it can take a long time to finish rendering each shot

User experiences: Other than the rising power costs this is the most convenient option IF you already own the hardware-granted they do generate a fair amount of heat and noise

Utilize a commercial online render farm

Pros- can access a lot of computing power- finishing shots faster- someone else maintains the computers so you don't have to worry about that

Cons- Can get really expensive, they may not have all the plugins you use- speed at which you can upload shots and download finished files limited by the speed of your internet connection so it can be slowish

User experiences: It seems there's a few commercial render farms that get good reviews, if you've used any please post your thoughts in the comments

Use Amazon EC2 to setup and run your own online render farm

Pros- can access a lot of computing power, cheaper than using a commercial online render farm, scalable

Cons- can be complicated to setup and maintain, can get really expensive, speed at which you can upload shots and download finished files limited by the speed of your internet connection so it can be slowish

User experiences: In regard to Cinema 4d usage I found this thread with some users experience

Rent a dedicated online server and use it as an online render node

Pros- Cheap compared to the other options if you don't already own the hardware, someone else maintains the system, you don't have to deal with the noise and heat generated, simple to setup/maintain compared to the EC2 option

Cons- Slower to render if renting a single server, speed at which you can upload shots and download finished files limited by the speed of your internet connection so it can be slowish

User experiences: I couldn't find any reference to these being used for c4d net render but this place seems like a pretty good deal -that one server will render faster than my in house render farm and for roughly $250 for the first month +$140 each additional month it seems like a pretty good deal taking into account the cost of power for an in house farm

If you have any experience with any of those options OR know of some other options please let me know in the comments and I'll add them to the post thanks!

Comments

  1. use blender and create a client free-renderfarm like...
    http://www.renderweb.org/RenderWeb/index.jsp
    http://www.vswarm.com/how-it-works.html
    http://www.renderfarm.fi/FAQ/

    We can render it too...

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  2. I'm very, very interested in this Amazon EC2 stuff! Have just been watching the Jud Pratt set-up videos.

    Gonna follow closely, hope you keep posting your experience if you try out any of these avenues for 'I Am Nightmare'.

    Also is it a possibility to pool in the costs with other people and share the farm between yourselves? Or is it based on usage costs with EC2?

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  3. Whatever you decide .. you now have an (almost) completed failed kickstarter , WITH GOOD KNOWLEDGE of where your love stands ....

    seriously, when did you hit 2k? like 3 weeks ago ... you should totally fund your render bills in a new kickstarted IMMEDIATELY after this one ends ..

    even set it lower than the 3k needed for full power for a year .... set it to like 2k.
    If you go over and beyond you may get some recognition and get featured = mo money mo money mo money !

    then you can parlay those extra funds into voice acting ... or whatever you see as important priority.

    do not give up hope and as always, work / promote smart!

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  4. I still think crowdfunding > clownfunding :D

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  5. hey mdot, i just noticed that you've put up a pre order for i am nightmare, i just want to know what the thinking behind the price is? ya know why 25$?

    i think its kinda funny tho, the very first comment USE BLENDER, if you do seriously want to get into that 3d app i can do a run down of how blender and c4d differ and what their strengths are. (i still envy c4d's lighting system)

    p.s. variant has a good point about having a good knowledge of where your love stands

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  6. Reduce your rendering time and costs.Ultra render a world-class online renderfarm, provides clients with the fastest cloud render service.

    ReplyDelete

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