Render Farms are great to speed up the rendering process, especially when you render animations with a lot of frames, need to render faster to meet deadlines, or your old computer can not meet rendering requirements. Therefore, this article will show you the checklist to build a render farm.
Render Farm Definition
In general, a render farm is a group of computers connected together to speed up the rendering process of CGI (Computer Generated Image) projects as animations, visual effects, and so on.
The checklist to build a render farm
Render nodes (render servers)
A render farm consists of a cluster of render nodes (PCs, or servers) that have the ability to render or do other processing tasks. Usually, the operating of these instances might be Windows, Linux, or Mac OS.
Normally, a render farm includes a Master Node which is the server managing the render farm and Slave Nodes which are the render nodes doing rendering tasks. In which, the Master Node will control Slave Nodes through Render Farm Management Software.
Therefore, depending on your needs, you need to prepare render servers (PCs, nodes) with accompanying equipment.
CPU or GPU render farm
Depending on the settings in your projects, your render farm might be just a CPU render farm, or you will need to buy GPUs (graphic cards) to add to your render nodes.
After having hardware, you need to set up a Local Area Network (LAN) to connect render nodes together. You need to prepare:
- A LAN (Gigabit) switch
- LAN Cables
Buy Software License
Render Farm Management Software
As mentioned above, a render farm consists of a bunch of render nodes which are managed through Render Farm Management Software (Render Farm Manager). Specifically, the render farm manager will take responsibility for splitting, optimizing, and automatically distributing your projects to render nodes for parallel rendering. Moreover, through the manager, you can track the progress, status, and other details of your rendering tasks.
Currently, most render farms use AWS Thinkbox Deadline as a render farm manager because it supports the most diverse content creation applications in the world. So you can research and find your appropriate render farm manager.
Software Package – Content Creation Applications
One of the most important things is buying or registering render farm licenses for content creation applications have used in your projects:
- 3D Software: Blender (free), Houdini, 3ds Max, Maya, Cinema 4D, Lightwave, Keyshot, AutoCAD…
- Renderers (Render Engines): Cycles, Eevee, LuxCoreRender, Arnold, Corona, Octane, Redshift, V-Ray, Mental-Ray…
- Plugins: Flip Fluids, Animation Node, V-Ray Scatter, Forest Pack, Multiscater, SigerNoise, SigerScratches, ThinFilm, ComplexFresnel, PhoenixFD, Realflow, Tyflow, Floor Generator, Ornatrix, Railclone…
After that, you have to install them into render nodes. And, the easiest way to do this is to set up one Node and create a Drive Clone (Drive-Image) that you can then just copy over to your other nodes.
If your render farm works continuously, render nodes will get hot easily. And, most render farms are equipped with an air conditioning system that pushes out the hot air and pulls in cold air from outside. Therefore, you should consider having a cooling system to protect your render farm from overheating.
Other options instead of building a render farm
The above checklist should have given you an overview of how to build a render farm. As you can see, building a render farm is not simple at all. Not only does it cost money to invest, but it also takes time to install and maintain a render farm. Not only is it expensive to invest in hardware, software license, internet, and electricity billings, but it also takes time to install and maintain a render farm.
The following options can help you render your projects as if you owned a render farm:
Rent a render farm
You can search on Google to find an appropriate rental render farm in your place to send your projects for rendering. However, let’s make sure that the render farm you work with is really reliable and confidential.
Use online render farm services
Nowadays, there are a great number of online render farm services on the market that you can render your projects easily. You just need to register an account, buy rendering credits then upload your projects to render. All steps can be done online.
Render on 3S Cloud Render Farm
Also, 3S Cloud Render Farm is an online render farm service; however, it is based on AWS (Amazon Web Service), a Public Cloud Provider. Because it takes advantage of the biggest data centers all over the world, you can submit as many rendering jobs as needed without queues.
3S Cloud Render Farm currently supports popular 3D software packages such as Blender, Houdini, Cinema 4D, Maya, 3ds Max, Cycles, Eevee, LuxCoreRender, VRay, Arnold, Corona, Redshift, Octane, Mantra… Similarly, you need to create a user account, buy rendering credits, upload your projects to the website then submit render jobs.
What you get when rendering on 3S Cloud Render Farm.
- 6000+ powerful CPU & GPU render nodes
- Easy to use UI, UX
- Available legal software licenses for a render farm
- Absolutely confidential information
- Automatically detect missing assets and errors before rendering
- Automatically download outputs to your computer with 3SCloudDesktop
- Reasonable render cost, only charge based on the actual time you render
- Having rendering cost & time estimation for each project before rendering
- 24/7 professional technical support
- Free preview render & a free trial for new users