Posted on 23/08/2016

As 3D renders get more and more nuanced and photorealistic, so do hardware requirements, becoming more stringent and wallet-exhausting. When it’s a struggle to deliver projects to strict deadlines or invest in high-end graphics equipment, online solutions can be the way to go.


Rows of buzzing computers left on overnight, rendering processes repeated tenfold and blood-curdling electricity bills by the end of each month. While we’re getting increasingly familiar with stunning 3D visualisation and its benefits, these can be some of the hidden costs, which virtually epitomise 3D artists’ worst fears and their key to success.

Whether it’s architectural rendering, lighting analysis for engineering or customisation in the car business; deadlines and quality standards are not to be missed. Although, practice often points to the fact that any client who is given too much time to review a design before the final deadline, will certainly request more changes, customers and clients will always value a quick and reliable business partner who delivers proactively.


Cloudy with a Chance of Success

That’s where render farms and cloud-computing come into play; helping artists, studios and businesses to better estimate the final price of renders, save immense hardware costs and get the final renders a lot quicker and easier. If you aren’t familiar with them; offsite render farms are networks of computers linked together and optimised with the aim to handle a large amount of data in the shortest time possible.

While the traditional computer-generated (CG) workflow represents a circumstantial and bespoke process; from the initial creation of visuals using 3D software, to rendering them in a compositing application, using the CPU or GPU, cloud rendering facilitates and reforms this resource-intensive and timely procedure. In fact, these services will extend rendering capabilities to a point where 3D artists will no longer rely on workstations, but will visualise complex materials or light up entire scenes from their handheld devices.


Boost your Workflow and Efficiency

There might be several reasons why you’ve been unsatisfied with your internal workflow and cloud solutions could be just the thing you need. ‘The cloud’ could not only help you render your still images, animated turntables or panoramas in a shorter timeframe but holds the potential to better estimate and lower costs of electricity, sales tax, amortisation or software licensing fees as render farms are established in geographically advantageous locations.

While render farms continually strive to take care of data security issues, enabling your customers to enjoy instant feedback, a higher control over their expenditures and quicker results can be just enough to achieve an improved price-performance ratio, which will surely get you ahead of the curve.


Outsource or Make it Your Way

With all that said, using integrated online services or bespoke applications, which function as render nodes for current rendering software in order to outsource your 3D creation workflow is only one solution. While many plugins and browser-based solutions will already help you tap into increased remote rendering horsepower that requires less maintenance and investment, another method lets the more courageous build their very own cloud infrastructures.

However, in order to gain that extra rendering speed and to give your CG artists a few unstressed hours before final delivery, render farms of your choice should hold all the necessary assets, geometry, materials and information on their servers to prevent unwanted quality loss, which will demand a decent broadband speed. Thus, choosing the right type of rendering engine and render farm will make a huge impact on your productivity.


Get Comfortable With Iray+

With the ability to allocate rendering tasks across multiple platforms; such as built-in GPUs, cluster environments, external rendering solutions and even cloud services for on-demand needs, Iray+ is a flexible and scalable physically-based render solution with a huge future potential for businesses as varied as architecture, automotive or apparel.

Regardless of your current workflow or future necessities, Iray+ features and corresponding cloud rendering services can be easily integrated into your existing CAD software, helping you to increase 3D performance and considerably reduce render times with the ability to create outstanding web-based and offline 3D experiences.



Whether your company decides to invest in an NVIDIA Quadro VCA or a cloud rendering license, your Iray plugin’s Iray Server network rendering solution comes with an easy-to-use web user interface where you can queue tasks to be rendered later on, or stream stunning 3D images in real time; bringing multi-GPU power to your laptops.

If you’re using 3ds Max, Maya or similar client applications, Iray Server – boasting a 90-day free trial –  will allow you to set render task priorities, effortlessly modify and repeat tasks, keep track of multiple rendering processes and even create additional user entries for better transparency.


The Future is in the Cloud

With an increasing number of companies gaining interest in cloud computing, it could only be a matter of time until we see complete VFX houses and companies irreversibly switching to render farm services.

Cloud rendering could rapidly become a viable solution for bespoke projects such as advertising or for individual product designers with a moderate budget to spend on hardware. If you value completing render jobs in a fraction of your time and better engaging your clients and customers, you should weigh the costs of outsourcing your workflow against the benefits of this promising technology.

Until then, be prepared to invest in a constant stream of costly graphics gear and spend numerous hours on elaborating projects or alternatively, rent out a license to promising artists and professionals if you happen to be in excess of the necessary rendering equipment.

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