View Full Version : Building new commercial renderfarm

01-05-2015, 07:41 PM
Hello all,

I am in the process of developing a new commercial renderfarm and am interested in hearing from the Lightwave community about what would make it most useful to you. I was a professional animator using Lightwave 15+ years ago (back in the Video Toaster days), primarily creating simulations used in construction related lawsuits. After realizing my technical skills were quickly exceeding my creative talents, I abandoned animation for a career in database and application development. A recent opportunity has presented itself and I am in the process of realizing a 15+ year dream to create a renderfarm. Building and running a renderfarm would allow me to leverage my technical skills and still participate in the creative process, however tangentially.

To give you an idea of the renderfarm capacity - preliminary tests (at partial capacity) have resulted in an effective Cinebench 15 score of over 527,000 (Cinebench 11.5 over 6,100).

I have done extensive research and am well underway with development but am keenly interested to hear from you - actual Lightwave users - about what you think a renderfarm should be able to do. Any assistance would be appreciated. Please let me know if you are interested in providing test scenes and/or participating in a beta program.

Thank you!

01-06-2015, 01:33 AM
There would be some major plugins you would want to have loaded into your version of Lightwave, and I wonder if you could work out something with those developers so you wouldn't need to purchase licences for all of them, I could see how it would be advantageous to a company like db&W with their shaderMeister or infinmap plugins, that they potentially sell more product if users can assume that any scenes they set up with said products will render smoothly in an out-sourced render farm, you could perhaps have advertising for these commercial plugins on your render farm site. There are a bunch of commercial plugins such as Kray, Octane, TurbulenceFD and Ozone, plus more obviously that need to be factored in if you are to provide a complete rendering solution for customers that are using these plugins. Also power costs is something to take into consideration. Best of luck.

01-06-2015, 09:04 AM
Thanks for the feedback! I have considered the complex plug-in situation and appreciate your suggestions. I've actually already developed my automated processes with Kray and several others much simpler plug-ins in mind and will look into the others you've listed.

Thanks again!

01-06-2015, 03:45 PM
This sounds great Brian!
I look forward to seeing your progress with this.

It's been a few years since using an online renderfarm service.
When I did I used a service called Brender, which would render from blender files but was also for Lightwave.

I liked this service over others for a few reasons. It was affordable, easy to setup and use (I think cause I was able to login, upload my files and see my render status within my browser) and most importantly was able to see thumbnails of the frames that were completed. I always did small test renders of my animations to make sure everything was good to go, but being able to make sure everything is rendering ok on the render farm made a huge difference, as there were times I needed to cancel a render. Not sure if this is a common thing these days.

just a few thoughts.

Mike :)

01-06-2015, 03:54 PM
Sounds like a great project. Agree, investment in a broad range of LW plugins is essential - most are listed on the LW official site. Also keeping the fees competitive and interface as super simple and accessible as possible. Cheers!

01-06-2015, 06:18 PM
Great feedback - thanks to all of you. The program is entirely web based (upload, progress, management, budget, etc.) and the thumbnails are already in the mix! The plug-in list on the official LW site is a bit overwhelming, and as I've been out of the creative side for a while a list of "must have" or most commonly used plug-ins would be great.

This input is really appreciated - thanks again!

01-09-2015, 08:08 PM
Just a quick update - I'm up to a tested effective Cinebench 11.5 of 8,871 and Cinebench 15 of 768,800. Still much work to do regarding file management before I can go live, but progress is progress!

01-10-2015, 07:48 PM
Hi Brian, I'm not up to speed on the renderfarm terminology, what do those scores mean like "Cinebench 11.5 of 8,871 and Cinebench 15 of 768,800" ?

Also what versions of lightwave will you be supporting?

01-10-2015, 08:06 PM
Keep in mind you only need to concern yourself with the Layout side plugins, surfaces and render related.

01-11-2015, 11:52 PM
Thanks for the tip on the plugins, djwaterman. I am ignoring the modeler related plugins and acquiring as many relevant Layout ones as possible. Any recommendations?

Macb - Cinebench (http://www.maxon.net/products/cinebench/overview.html) is a benchmarking tool that can be run to determine raw rendering power. Version 11.5 was used extensively until recently and now there is version 15. These numbers can be used to gauge how much raw processing power a server or renderfarm has the potential to realize. You can see results from individuals here (http://cbscores.com/) or here (http://www.c4dcafe.com/ipb/Benchmarks/cinebench.html). Our renderfarm uses hundreds of servers and is able to pump out an effective Cinebench 11.5 of 8,871 and Cinebench 15 of 768,800...and I'm still working towards increasing that!

Right now, we are using Lightwave 2015 as the rendering engine and I've successfully rendered test scenes sourced from 9.6 through 11.6.3. Would you recommend we use the same render engine the scene was designed with?

I'm very interested in running additional test scenes through our processes - on my own dime. Please (please please!) let me know!

Thanks to everyone

01-12-2015, 10:50 AM
Great info Brian, never knew about Cinebench!

I'll go through my projects when I get a chance and see if I have something test worthy for the render farm.. or put something together :)
How will you accept files? you have an ftp login or do we get to use your web based app?

01-12-2015, 11:13 AM
Right now, we are using Lightwave 2015 as the rendering engine and I've successfully rendered test scenes sourced from 9.6 through 11.6.3. Would you recommend we use the same render engine the scene was designed with?

Well... you can render any scene from 9.6 on in 2015 but it might not look right, color space settings changed a couple times, as well as antialias and "unified samipling" was introduced. So a scene from an older version might have to be tweaked to render correctly in 2015.

01-12-2015, 12:23 PM
I'm still working on making the web portal presentable. Like I said - I'm much better at the technical stuff than anything creative and am finding making it look good challenging. Until then, we could certainly work out an adhoc way to get the files to me and the images back to you.

- - - Updated - - -

Thanks for the input, Danner. I'll look into getting engines from previous versions.

01-15-2015, 09:25 PM
Hi Brian,

I have a scene file you can test on the render farm if you like?
the files zipped are small enough to email you.
What's your email?

thanks again

01-16-2015, 02:14 PM
Fantastic, Macb! I'll PM you...

01-19-2015, 01:54 PM
rather than trying to get lots of plugins working on your system, why not look into the method Rebusfarm uses, they supply the user with a plugin (including lightwave) that runs the job from your own software interface, so the farm shows up as a renderer like kray or native in the LW interface itself, so as far as I can make out it means they are not actually running a renderer, but rather a computar (just crunching the numbers for your own renderer)

01-22-2015, 02:37 PM
hey, another renderfarm to choose from would be wonderful. The advantages of a renderfarming are amazing.
People can get huge projects and be certain that they can undertake the project with confidence that they can get it rendered.
one of the features i'm starting to see is super low cost volume. This is where a renderfarm offers super low cost for ultra low priority renders. Although most people like the speed and turnaround time of a renderfarm. There is a small area not to be overlooked.
so say someone doesn't care if it takes 2 weeks to render but the cost is super low. I know its contrary to the idea of a fast and speedy render farm, but for some people just getting a long animation rendered cheaply is super duper for them.
I know theres tons of renders i'd like to do as cheaply as possible. Maybe there is a market for people who are not in a rush who aren't rich and still want to get renders done and are willing to pay to make their 30 second animations.

I look forward to seeing your render farm when its finally available.

I have not used their services yet, but they are the most likely choice for when I start doing larger projects.
I've gotten it as low as I think 13 bucks with the slowest systems.
heres a look at garagefarm.nets calculator http://garagefarm.net/index.php/calculator?lang=en
1000 frames taking 1/2 each.

Time on your PC: 500 h 0 m 0 s (more than 20 days)


High priority

Medium priority

Low priority

$172 $86 $43

Volume Discounts

4% Free $500 Paid = $520 Credits
8% Free $1000 Paid = $1080 Credits
12% Free $1500 Paid = $1680 Credits
16% Free $2000 Paid = $2320 Credits
20% Free $2500 Paid = $3000 Credits
24% Free $3000 Paid = $3720 Credits