3D Renderings and Animations require "Rendering" time.
This can take hours or days of processing on just one computer.
Years ago it meant setting aside one computer for a while,
hoping that it got it right first time and there was nothing
that stopped the process part way through. We bought faster
and faster computers but even today we crave speed to keep
up with the demands of the 3D Artist.
Unfortunately back then super computers were out of reach
for most of us and didn't have the ability to run the software
we used anyway. But a new form of super computer emerged;
the Beowulf Cluster. This system tied arrays of relatively
inexpensive computers together to form one super computer.
The more computers you added to your cluster the more power
you added. You could add faster computers to slower ones
with no compatibility issues, so constant updates and
rebuilds with new technology are very possible.
The Render Farm comes from the same philosophy and can
be structured in a couple of different ways; as an add
on to one workstation, or as a standalone rendering powerhouse.
Both have advantages in that you could have extra power
attached to one 3D Artist "on tap" or an entire group of
artists could process out even larger projects.
Archiform 3D's render farm is controlled by one central
server machine that distributes the workload to each clustered
computer, or "render node", or "render cow".
It is most suited to many large projects. When a 3D
artist has completed the work
on the 3D
Scene it is sent to the central Render Server. The
server then breaks the job into pieces, sending each part
to a render node and then gathering the completed pieces.
To produce animations on time this is critical and no one
computer could keep up with our workload.
The whole render farm is kept in a dedicated room with
extra electricity and cooling. The main render server sits
right next to the central company server and the render
nodes are kept in racks.
As newer technology becomes available, usually like a
computer chip, we rebuild the render nodes progressively.
When we take on an extra large job with a tight deadline,
such as for a TV broadcast or show, we often do an upgrade
to the slower nodes and we may add new ones.
Archiform 3D's render farm started with just 10 CPUs but
has grown to over 150, ensuring high quality with smaller
render times. It is now also offerred part time as a service
to other 3D artsists.
3D's render farm service >
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