Thanks to the rapid advancement of animation and visual effects (VFX) technology, digital artists are producing more sophisticated content every year.
Take the Monsters, Inc. series as an example. In 2001, Pixar released the first film that featured a Sully with around one million individual hairs in his fur. By the time the second movie came out in 2013, the character had 5.4 million hairs — demonstrating the increasing amounts of detail delivered in each frame. However, this level of complexity presents new challenges…
Studios often struggle to keep up with the rendering requirements of modern VFX and animation projects using onsite hardware alone — leading many to turn to the cloud for extra capacity.
Cloud rendering (leveraging remote compute resources to render high-resolution 3D graphics and animations) offers a cost-effective way to scale for demanding projects without lengthy processing times, helping produce high-quality work within tight deadlines. We call this ‘bursting’.
But although harnessing the considerable power of a conventional cloud render farm can unlock new opportunities for digital content creators, these services have one limitation: cost.
Let us explain…
The problem with cloud rendering
Typically, customers access render burst via public cloud providers like Microsoft Azure and Amazon Web Services (AWS), which offer remote rendering services for a pay-as-you-go fee.
There are many cost benefits of using these services compared to running an onsite render farm, such as removing the expense of machine cooling, maintenance and repair — all of which can become a significant financial burden and limit what studios can achieve.
Public cloud render farms have given smaller VFX and animation houses a competitive edge, allowing them to take on new projects knowing they can access additional render infrastructure on demand.
Bigger production houses are also making the most of remote render farms to keep costs down — allowing them to dial up their remote rendering capacity without facing the expense of upgrading legacy hardware that will sit idle between projects.
The cloud has undoubtedly provided a practical solution to many common render challenges. However, it is crucial to note that renting extra computing power from public cloud providers can quickly become another unpredictable expense if not correctly managed…
Although they can offer seemingly limitless power and storage at a low upfront cost, public cloud providers’ remote rendering services can quickly add up — particularly for larger or more complicated scenes with advanced rendering requirements.
As a result, should your need for additional computing power exceed your expectations (which it often does), you could face a hefty bill at the end of your project — with rendering and file storage requests quickly spiralling out of control.
Still, with the alternative being to spend thousands on new hardware and then manage it in-house, purchasing extra compute from a public cloud provider has generally been considered the only sensible option. That is, until now…
ERA’s Burst Render solution
As rendering challenges become a growing concern for VFX and animation studios, ERA has recognised the need for a solution that offers the same benefits as the public cloud but at a more sensible cost.
So, we launched Burst Render: a unique subscription-based cloud rendering model that allows studios to remain competitive and manage workflows without paying through the nose for expensive hardware or rental services.
With Burst Render, you can rest assured that you will never again find yourself scrambling for computing capacity or wasting money on servers you do not need — helping you streamline your operations and stay on track with tight turnaround times.
The ERA render farm has been designed to meet the demands of the largest frames, built on AMD EPYC 64 Core CPUs. With 512 GB per node, it is equipped to tackle even the most demanding shots — offering reliable performance and high-quality results for studios whilst removing the need to hunt for an appropriate rendering solution within a public cloud infrastructure.
We understand that time is money in the fast-paced world of film, TV and animation, which is why ERA’s render units have two-week access slots — organised and managed through our subscription service.
A subscription guarantees access to compute capacity, ensuring the ultimate scalability to meet last-minute rendering requests and complete projects on time. Users will only ever pay for what they use, with cloud rendering available at a fixed, competitive price point with no hidden costs.
Plus, for extra peace of mind, access and maintenance are managed by our technical team, leaving you free to concentrate on what matters: getting the job done.
Want to boost your cloud rendering capacity? Get in touch via firstname.lastname@example.org or call +44 (0)207 607 4224 to learn more and discuss the needs of your next project.