Online render farm: All you need to know
Online render farm enables CG artists and studios to access massive rendering capabilities without investing in additional powerful hardware. They have revolutionized the industry.
Find all about online render farms with Radarrender in this article.
What is an online render farm?
What is an online render farm? First, we need to know what is a “render farm”.
In a nutshell, a render farm is a number of computers linked together to process and render your 3D image/animation.
A render farm usually consists of hundreds or thousands of machines, using the power of thousands of CPUs or GPUs to speed up the rendering process. Therefore, instead of relying on a single machine to create a full 3D animation or effect, you now have the power of thousands. As a result, hours of rendering time now become minutes to complete.
To satisfy their own rendering demands, studios would traditionally create their own local render farm. However, maintaining all of that hardware and infrastructure is painful and extremely costly. This is when online render farms come into play.
An online render farm is a render farm in the cloud, in other words, a cloud-based render farm. It allows users to send their 3D scenes to the cloud – powerful CPU or GPU servers somewhere across the world. Typically, the online render farm will break your project into smaller tasks, distribute them across all CPU or GPU render nodes and process them at the same time. Thanks to that, an online render farm can drastically cut the actual time to render your projects.
The online render farm is an excellent choice for CG artists and studios looking to tap into more rendering power and maximize their production.
The demand for online render farms is increasing
From 3D animation, architectural visualizations, video games, and visual effects in blockbuster movies, to new technologies such as virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR), 3D content is all around us. Since many high-quality 3D works like Avatar were born and became the CGI standard, we crave more and more, and it is difficult to satisfy with works of inferior quality. The complexity and realism of 3D content, as a result, are increasing dramatically in order to meet consumers’ high expectations.
However, to produce such a high level of quality requires enormous rendering power. Aside from local rendering, artists, and studios need to take advantage of any possible resources available. This is when online render farms come into play. Think about multiplying your PC by 10 – 1000 times. Significantly accelerate the rendering process and finish your project in a minute. That is the power of an online render farm.
All in all, the growing demand for 3D content drives the increasing demand for online render farms.
What are the benefits of online render farms?
An online render farm brings many benefits that always make it worthwhile to utilize one. Here are three main benefits of using an online render farm.
- Time savings
The biggest benefit of an online render farm is its very fast rendering speed. Multiple render nodes are assigned to handle your render job at the same time. Moreover, they are high-performance computers. Therefore, an online render farm with a huge processing power will speed up rendering times and get your work done more quickly.
- Increasing quality
Using an online render farm increases output quality as well as efficiency. You can work at low preview resolutions on your computer. But when sending the scenes to the render farm, it is easy for you to render them in high resolutions and noise-free quality.
- Cost savings
Using an online render farm means you do not need to build a render farm of your own. In other words, you do not have to invest a huge amount of money in powerful hardware. As you do not own a local render farm, you do not have to support, maintain, update, or operate it, nor do you have to pay the extra electricity expense.
In addition, you only pay when you need to render with an online render farm. You do not need to worry about your expensive local render farm being wasted, sit there idly doing nothing when you do not have a project ready for render yet.
Factors to consider when choosing an online render farm
Knowing the increasing demand and benefits of online render farms, it is time to pick one for yourself. How do you choose an online render farm? A good render farm for you may depend on your specific needs, but in general, there are some factors that you should keep in mind.
You need to make sure the render farm supports the 3D software, renderer, and plugins you want to render. It also needs to be compatible with the current versions you are using. Before you pay for and begin using any render farm, you must ensure compatibility.
Most render farms support popular applications such as 3ds Max, Maya, Cinema 4D, Blender, V-Ray, and Redshift. But if you are looking for other programs like Houdini, OctaneRender, Unreal Engine, etc, the choice of render farm is not as many. Furthermore, some online render farms may not support the third-party plugins you need.
Speed and performance
In our opinion, speed and performance are the deciding factors when selecting an online render farm. Because the ultimate goal when using an online render farm is to shorten render times and speed up the workflow. Quite a few artists often come to online render farms when they need to meet a tight deadline.
Price and affordability
However, we need to take price and affordability into consideration. Each project will usually have a certain budget. If the estimated cost for an online render farm exceeds that amount, you may need to find another render farm or solution that is more affordable.
IaaS vs SaaS
Most render farms on the market are SaaS- or IaaS- based.
- SaaS (Software-as-a-Service) is the traditional render farm, with a pretty simple and streamlined workflow. You send your scenes to the online render farm, let the farm do its work, and download the rendered output when it is completed.
- IaaS (Infrastructure-as-a-Service) is a newer model of render farms, offering full control and letting you do whatever you want. It’s like renting a very powerful remote machine so you can install whatever software you are using and adjust the scenes if necessary.
In addition, you may come across other models of render farms such as PaaS (Platform-as-a-Service), and DaaS (Desktop-as-a-Service).
There are a few more factors to consider. For example:
- Is the online render farm easy to use?
- Where is the online render farm based? (To efficiently use it over the internet).
- Does the online render farm have good customer reviews?
Best online render farms 2023
So, those are some things to consider when you find an online render farm. However, it is impossible to try all online render farms available. Because there are literally thousands of render farms out there.
Radarrender recommends the best online render farms to make the choice easier.
To start off, we recommend the five best render farms for most rendering needs.
- Fox Renderfarm
- Ranch Computing
You can use those render farms for most use cases.
But if you are looking for a specific software or render engine, take a look below.
- Cinema 4D Best Render Farm
- Best Octane Render Farm
- Redshift Best Render Farm
- Best V-Ray GPU Render Farm
- Best Houdini Render Farm
- Daz Studio & Iray Best Render Farm
You can find other 3D software and render engines here: Render Farm Review