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View Full Version : Online Render Farm Recommendations Please



JBT27
02-15-2014, 08:31 AM
We're coming up on some heavy rendering, and looking to farm it out - we used ResPower some years ago, and we're pleased, and it looks now like they operate a day pass system - the only thing I'm uncertain about is how those days operate, because it seems you are at the mercy of whatever else is happening on the farm. That's not a criticism, just an observation - just trying to figure out how to go about it and who to use.

Would appreciate any ideas and recommendations.

Thanks.

Julian.

The Dommo
02-15-2014, 10:09 AM
Without a doubt, www.garagefarm.net
I cannot recommend them highly enough.

dwburman
02-15-2014, 02:01 PM
+1 for garagefarm.net. The only caveat being that they don't have a self-service interface, so you have to contact them via Skype, upload your stuff and let them do the test renders and start the renders manually. Most of the time that's fine, but I did have a problem where I didn't get served as quickly as I'd have liked. They have a few people working and they don't all specialize in LW, and people need to sleep. :) That said, they are BY FAR the most affordable service out there, and they support the latest version of LW when it's released while most other farms lag way behind... at least as listed in their website front end.

I too have used respower in the past. I think they were trying to upgrade their system last year, but the last time I used them, their system specs weren't very good (i.e. 2GB of RAM on the nodes, etc) Again, that's probably been addressed by now, I hope.

I've also used RenderTitan when I had a coupon for them. I was satisfied with their service. That was another self-service system.

http://www.rebusfarm.net/en/ also looked interesting, but I have no experience (nor have I heard of other's experiences) with them.

omichon
02-16-2014, 02:56 AM
I jump in since I also have questions about renderfarm services and no experience so far since until now it was more flexible and affordable to rent some computers to boost my inhouse farm.
But this time I have to consider things differently, so is it the right solution for really huge projects (hours of animation, terabytes of rendered frames) ?
Please, let me know if you have had this kind of experience.

JBT27
02-16-2014, 05:01 AM
Thanks for the recommendations - garagefarm.net certainly look like a contender. ResPower now offer day passes - whatever gets uploaded in that 24hrs, gets finished, even beyond that day - as ever, paying for priority is the thing, if needed, though we are trying to balance the cost with getting it done. Estimates worry us: ten years ago, we did this with ResPower - an $80 estimate turned into a $400 render session, which is why we are keen to be clear about all this - ResPower were extremely helpful, incredibly so, as the guys phoned me in the UK to get set up and work through it. That is definite service and care, and appreciated ... but we are not wealthy people, for all that :) That said, they are still advertising only LW 9.x to 10.1, but we're working with 11.6.1, and some of its newer features, so that's making me wonder. I'll check, obviously.

Whatever we do, I'll post back so others can know.

Julian.

OnlineRender
02-16-2014, 05:44 AM
+1 garagefarm ...

kopperdrake
02-16-2014, 04:09 PM
+1 million garagefarm

sukardi
02-16-2014, 05:34 PM
I have used ranchcomputing and rebusfarm in the past but the problem is always in the version supported and plugins. (I have not used garagefarm)

Nowadays, I set up my own render farm on Amazon EC2 using Amletto. Much more controllable and in theory, infinitely scalable.

It is quite easy to set up. I wrote some notes about it earlier if you are interested. http://rendergeek.com/setting-up-amazon-ec2-render-farm-for-lightwave/

JBT27
02-17-2014, 03:26 AM
Well, it seems garagefarm.net have a decent following :)

Don't know anything about Amletto and Amazon EC2 - I know of Amletto, but never used it - I'll take a look at your notes sukardi - thanks.

Julian.

Soth
02-17-2014, 06:22 AM
hello,

Thx guys for good words, we are trying hard to have best support.:)

Amazon might give you best flexibility indeed, but the price is few times(!) higher. Here software is (almost :) ) always up to date, and we will do custom LW build for you if you will ask, not a problem.

We have automation in progress, early beta next week. :)

We will offer creation your own farm with Amazon like interface within 6 months tops, and with GarageFarm.NET pricing.^^

JBT27
02-17-2014, 06:28 AM
Thanks Tomek - good to know that - I imagine we will be rendering with you shortly ... I doubt I could handle the guilt trip if we didn't after all these good recommendations, and your post, and the immediate support email I got back from someone yesterday :)

Julian.

blackmondy
02-17-2014, 10:15 AM
Any uses China's FoxRender ?

AmigaNewTek
02-19-2014, 01:32 AM
www.garagefarm.net

I tried two times in the past. They are very kind and make themselves available for every question. Moreover, they know the system you are using (Lightwave in my case) and they could give you good advice to you.

otacon
02-19-2014, 01:47 PM
I use http://www.rendercore.com and they have been great. You can upload your scenes and get them started right from your own computer.

JBT27
03-28-2014, 04:44 AM
We finally put a render onto GarageFarm.NET, just a small one to start that was needed urgently so the client could use a review version of a movie in a lecture. Very pleased indeed - brilliant service.

Julian.

Sebasvideo
04-11-2014, 12:28 PM
So GarageFarm seems to be the most recommended, but can anyone who used them or other render farms give me an idea of how much usually render sessions go for? For example, if I had 30 seconds of something that is so heavy in geometry and also has motion that need a lot of samples to avoid aliasing, which is something that would take two days or more between my five machines, would that put me at like 500 dollars, less, more?

I'm trying to figure out what makes more sense, if purchasing Octane Render for test renders and some final renders that would take forever with CPU, or send everything to a render farm. Because for example if two test renders are already at $500, then that's a little more than Octane.

Soth
04-11-2014, 01:03 PM
Hello,

It really depends what machines do you have. Here, on GarageFarm (http://garagefarm.net) 1h of dual X5650 CPU (that is just over 13 Cinebench 11.5 points, I don't know how it relates to your computers, what processors do you have?) is 2/1/0.50 USD per hour, so on medium priority one day on one server (lets reasonably assume, the one server is 2x faster then your machine) will be 48/24/12 USD. If you will stick to medium / low priorities $500 will give you between 20 and 40 projects from your example.

Sebasvideo
04-11-2014, 01:15 PM
Well, for example, let's say a scene that is so heavy that I have to render it using high samples, shading and light samples at least at 4 if not more, and min samples at 4 and max at 32, and I'm not totally sure yet if that will give me what I need, because based on very short tests in my home render farm, it can take all night just to render two seconds or so (at those settings, I can render about 20 if I go much lower). But I have grass covering a field, and that brings the problem that as long as the camera is still, it looks perfect, once the camera starts moving, the grass in the distance starts showing a lot of noise.

Some people recommended me using NeatVideo, but I tried that and it just smooths the picture overall, but the noise is still there. So I need to use high render settings. At 1080p, using the numbers I mentioned above, for a frame that has a mountain with grass and tress, it's telling me it's going to take an hour and 15 minutes to render on my fastest machine, an i7 3930k with 32 GB of RAM.

So for example Rebusfarm has this calculator where you enter your CPU with clock speed, and how long does it take you to render one frame in it. Then you enter the number of frames. Entering 30 minutes per frame, and a one minute timeline of 1440 frames, gives me an estimate of $1269.05. Even if I enter that my render would take me 5 minutes, it still gives me $222.66, and two of that buy Octane.

Don't get me wrong, I would still have to use a render farm for probably the final render, but I'd also like to be able to do test renders that don't take days.

What I'm trying to figure out is how faster Octane is compared to my five machines. I downloaded the demo and I'm going to check it out later.

Edit: I kept rendering the frame and after rendering 16 minutes it's telling me that it has about 10 to go, so the initial time estimate was wrong, but still it's a rather heavy rendering time.

Tartiflette
04-11-2014, 06:02 PM
...it still gives me $222.66, and two of that buy Octane...
Don't know about Rebusfarm as i have 20$ worth of rendering to spend on this renderfarm since one or two years and never found something to render on it, plus this plugin you have to deal with is not exactly very friendly to my taste, but GarageFarm is a top notch renderfarm and as far as i know you won't find anything near their extra low costs, while they have always been friendly, accessible and very proactive. I just can't seem to say anything but praise for GarageFarm each time i see a thread related to an internet RenderFarm. :)

As for buying Octane, which is really REALLY great, you will be extremely disappointed if you really think it can be as fast as a renderfarm on internet with LightWave's internal render engine.
Because, as fast as is Octane with a very powerful GPU (and it can be impressively fast !), it really can't avoid the need of a renderfarm if you have complex scenes and a lengthy animation to render, so i think this comparison has no real meaning.

And don't forget LightWave's render engine estimation is always wrong at the beginning of a render when using adaptive sampling, as the render passes tend to render faster and faster while the noise is being reduced, that's why an estimation of 1+ hour can lead to a 20 minutes render. I have often render times estimate that go up to 200+ hours at the beginning of the render and end up within 20 or 25 hours.


Hope it helps.
Cheers,
Laurent aka Tartiflette. :)

Sebasvideo
04-11-2014, 06:39 PM
Oh, I know Octane wouldn't be anywhere as fast as a render farm, but it is way faster than CPU, especially when you consider that Lightwave doesn't have network rendering for single frames like Modo. At best you can open the scene in Amleto and have it sliced, but GPU rendering seems much faster.

My point is that even garagefarm.net is very inexpensive compared to other render farms, it's still going to be hundreds of dollars for a render with a lot of geometry, instances, and high sample settings, and I want to do test renders, which now I do with a five machine render farm at home and it's still slow.

JBT27
04-12-2014, 02:42 AM
This is certainly a problem, and one we all must have - I don't see a way around it; if I stuff a scene with millions of polys, massive image maps, millions of instances, high sample settings, it's going to grind even a top spec machine into the ground. I don't know about Octane, never used it, but yes, by definition if a scene is that heavy and takes that much effort to test, then it's going to cost even on a relatively inexpensive farm like GarageFarm. I found their calculator was pretty accurate, and their service outstanding. The only downside, which is not a criticism, is that the FTP speeds were low, doubtless because they were so busy that day. That said, you allow for such things. But if you have a scene that is so heavy, that will ultimately need rendering, and testing aside, I can only think to get it rendered on GarageFarm, for the sheer service and economy of it.

That said, I have a friend who was using Octane and completely smitten with the speed of it, but he also hit tripwires with surfacing/texturing - I'm curious myself now, writing this :)

Julian.

Tartiflette
04-12-2014, 06:33 AM
Oh, I know Octane wouldn't be anywhere as fast as a render farm, but it is way faster than CPU, especially when you consider that Lightwave doesn't have network rendering for single frames like Modo. At best you can open the scene in Amleto and have it sliced, but GPU rendering seems much faster.
GPU rendering IS fast, no doubt about that.
But always remember that if you want noise-free renders it can still take quite some time, that's the nature of "bruteforce" path-tracers, CPU or GPU based...


My point is that even garagefarm.net is very inexpensive compared to other render farms, it's still going to be hundreds of dollars for a render with a lot of geometry, instances, and high sample settings, and I want to do test renders, which now I do with a five machine render farm at home and it's still slow.
Well, my last call to GarageFarm did cost me around $60 for a 7000 frames long animation, FullHD with reflections (but not so heavy geometry). It would have taken around 12/14 days on my machine and did end up in 6 hours @ GarageFarm. And it was on high priority level as the renders were one those "due for yesterday"... It would have even been far less pricey if it had been on medium or low priority.

That said, i still think that when you NEED so much rendering power it's because you are on a paid gig and in that perspective paying 50 or even 100$ isn't that expensive...
And don't forget they offer (at least last time i checked) the possibility to render some tests @ 1/4 resolution for free, which is a great solution.


...The only downside, which is not a criticism, is that the FTP speeds were low, doubtless because they were so busy that day...
Yep, in the example i'm talking about above, the renders did take 6 hours but the time needed to download everything (granted it lasted for 12GB !) was about as much as that, so 6 or 8 hours more !
And that was from a Cable, 500Mb/s, internet connection. On my own connection, i did a backup download and it took like 2 or 3 days to download everything, so they probably can enhance this part of their infrastructure.
But still GarageFarm is so much a time saver when you run out of time, with everyone here to help, that i'm glad they feature LightWave as one of the 3D app they support ! :)


Cheers,
Laurent aka Tartiflette. :)

Sebasvideo
04-12-2014, 08:25 AM
And that was from a Cable, 500Mb/s, internet connection. On my own connection, i did a backup download and it took like 2 or 3 days to download everything, so they probably can enhance this part of their infrastructure.
Laurent aka Tartiflette. :)

Sorry, was that a typo and you meant 50 mbps, or do you really have 500 mbps connections in France? I read that we are a little behind in the US, but here 50 mbps is about the best cable residential speed you can get.

Tartiflette
04-12-2014, 04:31 PM
Sorry, was that a typo and you meant 50 mbps, or do you really have 500 mbps connections in France? I read that we are a little behind in the US, but here 50 mbps is about the best cable residential speed you can get.
Well, not a typo at all, here you can even find internet providers with speed up to 1Gb/s, even if it's more a marketing thing as very few people really get that speed.
But that offer exists and it's about 40€/month for that if you're in a covered area. Not my case unfortunately, being out of town only brings me 8 to 10 Mb/s for 30€/month, but it's still better than what i had in the centre of London when i was living there, a few years ago, so it's probably not that bad. :D


Cheers,
Laurent aka Tartiflette. :)