best houdini redshift render farm

Best Houdini Redshift render farm

Are you looking for Houdini Redshift render farm to reduce the endless rendering time? Then this article is for you. Find out our recommendation for Houdini Redshift render farm in 2022.

Overview of Houdini and Redshift

About Houdini

Houdini is a 3D software package created by SideFX which is used for modelling, animating, simulating, and rendering. To anyone who wants to work in the film or VFX industry, Houdini is like a must-have skill set. In spite of being widely used in the industry, it has a reputation for being one of the most difficult programs to learn. This is because most of its logic is based on nodes, and many actions are performed by tackling arrays of raw values. This demands artists to have a technical mindset to work with.

There are various options for render engines for Houdini – both CPU and GPU renderers. First, Houdini ships with its two built-in renderers: Mantra and Karma. Mantra is a CPU renderer while Karma develops Karma XPU for GPU rendering in addition to Karma CPU. From Houdini 19.5, Karma CPU is ready to take over from the older Mantra engine as Houdini’s primary renderer. Further, Karma XPU, the new hybrid GPU/CPU version of the renderer, moves out of alpha and into beta.

About Redshift

Other than Mantra and Karma, many third-party render engines support Houdini. Such as RenderMan, Arnold, Redshift, V-Ray, Octane, 3Delight and AMD Radeon Prorender.

Among them, Redshift is a powerful GPU-accelerated renderer for Houdini. It was created to assist creative artists and studios of all sizes in achieving the high-end production rendering standards of today. More importantly, Redshift renders at GPU speeds while maintaining all of the capabilities and unwavering quality of a CPU renderer. It is a biased render engine that enables its users to modify the quality of individual techniques so that they can achieve the optimal performance/quality balance for their creation.

Why need Houdini Redshift render farm?

It is undeniable that Houdini is an excellent tool for physical simulations and particle systems creation. Realistic flame and smoke creation, liquid simulation, crowd dynamics, and object destruction, etc. Most of the visual effects for movies and video games are done inside Houdini. However, it takes a long time to simulate or render on your computer. In other words, it demands a huge of computing power from your hardware. So, what is the solution? Rendering in a cloud becomes necessary in these cases.

Overall, here are the benefits of using a Houdini Redshift render farm:

  • Speed up rendering time many times.
  • Control project budget and timeline.

Our recommendation for Houdini Redshift render farm

Quite a few render farms support Houdini Redshift rendering. Some SaaS render farms are Gridmarkets, Fox Renderfarm, Ranch Computing, Pixel Plow, whereas IaaS solutions have iRender, Xesktop, AWS, and more. In Radarrender’s opinion, Gridmarkets (SaaS) and iRender (IaaS) are two great render farms from 2 approaches. Let’s look in detail.


Gridmarkets is a powerful cloud rendering and simulation service. They specialize in Houdini, Cinema 4D, Maya, Blender and 3DSMax and rendering options including Mantra, Karma, Arnold, VRay, Redshift, and Renderman. As a SaaS render farm, they provide loads of on-demand compute nodes that can be integrated into your workflow. On top of that, GridMarkets is a partner of SideFX.

Software support

First of all, let’s take a look at the support of Houdini and Redshift versions:

As we can see from these tables, Gridmarkets supports a wide range of Houdini and Redshift versions. The compatibility between those two is also listed clearly. It can be said that Gridmarkets has the most supported versions for Houdini and its renderer among SaaS render farms. You can check the full list of other render engines here.


For Houdini Redshift GPU rendering, Gridmarkets offers OB220, OB330, OB660, OB1200, OB2400 and OB4800 machines. OB is short for Octanebench, a tool developed by Otoy to benchmark the score of performance that a machine delivers. Though the render farm doesn’t show the model of GPU on their website, Co-founder of GridMarkets Mark Ross has shared in an article that they use Tesla K80 or P100 GPUs for their machines. Machines with the more Octanebench are more powerful, have more RAM and of course higher prices. Check the table below:

best houdini redshift render farm gridmarkets 4


The picture above is GPU Priority pricing for Houdini Redshift, starting from $1.96/machine-hour to $61.25/machine-hour. Overall, the price depends on machine configurations and machine counts. We have mentioned the machines’ configurations above, which are machines having 220 OB, 330OB, 660 OB, 1200 OB, 2400 OB and 4800 OB. In terms of machine counts, Gridmarkets support machine counts from 1 to 80. There are normally 3 priorities: Economy, Standard and Rush. You are assigned 1-5 machines in the Economy level, 6-40 machines in the Standard level and 41-80 machines in the Rush level. How about more? Yeah, you can contact and request the farm directly in case you need more than 80 concurrent machines (Rush Plus level).

Besides, Gridmarkets offers other plans with different pricing and features: Preemptible, Green, Daily. New users will get 5 free credits for a trial after creating the account. Like other farms, the farm also has a 25% credit bonus for students and volume discount for bulk purchases.

Regarding the workflow, Gridmarkets is pretty much like SaaS render farms. To put it in short, you will download, install the plugin and integrate it into Houdini. The submission plugin enables you to submit from user interface of your creation software while choosing a preferred render engine, number of machines and GPUs.

For more information about Gridmarkets, please visit here.


iRender is a high-speed cloud render farm for Houdini with Redshift render. Based on IaaS model, they support almost all 3D creation software, render engines and plugins. In particular, their servers are more optimized for multi-GPU rendering, including Cinema 4D, Houdini, Maya, 3ds Max, Redshift, Octane, V-ray, Arnold, and many more.

To begin, let’s talk about how iRender works. Because this will determine their other features later. Unlike Gridmarkets which is a SaaS render farm, iRender provides cloud rendering services based on IaaS platform. That means you rent their whole powerful server and use it as your own computer. You are able to choose a suitable package with Windows/Ubuntu OS, then connect the server via Remote Desktop application. As soon as you are in the server, you will have to set up the instance once, and reuse it every time you need to render.

Software support

Since you are the one to set up the working environment, you can install any application, any version on their server. Basically, any Houdini Redshift combination that works on your computer will work on their machines. The latest Houdini 19.5 or Redshift 3.5.09, anything is supported. Not only Redshift, this feature also applies to any render engines such as Mantra, Karma CPU/XPU, Vray, Arnold, Renderman. However, there is one drawback. That is you will need to provide your own licenses for the software that requires it.

best houdini redshift render farm irender 1


In terms of configuration, iRender provides many GPU packages: 1 GPU, 2 GPU, 4 GPU, 6 GPU and 8 GPU servers. Their GPUs are RTX 3090 and the current flagship RTX 4090 of NVIDIA. Both these two GPUs have 24 VRAM. In addition to GPUs, the servers are configured with a good CPU –  AMD Ryzen Threadripper Pro 3955WX/AMD Ryzen Threadripper Pro5975WX, and a large amount of RAM and storage – 256 GB and 2TB NVMe SSD respectively. Another highlight is that you can request NVLink in their RTX 3090 servers.

Best Render Farm for Vray GPU iRender Price


With the specifications of servers, iRender’s pricing starts from $4.5/hour/node to $28/hour/node. They offers an hourly, 6-hour, daily, weekly and monthly plan. On the hourly plan, the farm charges you for the time you use (in seconds) per machine. For other plans, you can save some credits at a better price. The longer plan, the more discount.

In addition, normally iRender offers $10 render credits for new users for trial (by contact). Volume discounts for bulk purchases, and a 50% credit bonus for educational projects are available.

For more information about iRender, please visit here.


To sum up, Radarrender has selected two outstanding representatives for Houdini Redshift render farm. These are Gridmarkets (SaaS) and iRender (IaaS). Both of them support a wide range of software versions and provide huge rendering power. But they still have their own strengths. Gridmarkets is good at scalability while iRender gives you full control and computing performance.

See more: 5 Best Redshift render farms

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