How to choose the right render farm?

Sponsored 2023-01-19 13:40 article  > All

Are you finding a good render farm but still don’t know which to choose? We know a place to make your decision easier.

We all know that rendering 2D or 3D elements for animation, movies, commercials, or video games demands both huge computing power and time. A significant investment in hardware and infrastructure as well as a dedicated team of IT professionals are needed to set up and manage hardware and software.

Currently, online render farms are usually offered in two models, IaaS (Infrastructure as a Service) and SaaS (Software as a Service). What is the difference between IaaS vs SaaS render farm, and which one is right for you?

1. IaaS vs SaaS render farm

To anyone who may not know, a Render Farm is a high-performance computer system. It is a cluster of separate computers connected by a network connection. They are designed to process or render Computer Generated Imagery (CGI), which is commonly used in animated movies, CG commercials, VFX shots, or rendered still images. Each individual computer is referred to as a Render Node. A render farm can have thousands of nodes or more.

IaaS Render Farm


IaaS render farms provide full control over physical/virtual remote servers, allowing you to install and configure whatever software you need. In other words, you can think you are renting powerful remote computers to use over the internet.

So, IaaS render farms are preferable to large, complex projects and projects that need complete control over the rendering process.

SaaS Render Farm


On the other hand, SaaS render farms are simpler and more straightforward in the workflow. Typically, you upload your project and let the render farm render it for you. It's as simple as that. However, it comes with certain drawbacks, such as you can only find out there is an issue with your scene after the render is completed.
So, SaaS render farms are preferable to small to medium-sized projects and projects where control of the rendering process is not necessary. It is often used for standard software and plugins.




“Render-able” vs “Render correctly”

When looking for a render farm, the first thing we need to do is check what software and versions are supported. Most render farms currently support standard and popular 3D software, render engines, or plugins. So you don’t need to worry too much if using these kinds of 3D packages. The problem only arises when you use special software. Such as software that supports only 1 GPU or real-time rendering; uncommon plugins; versions that are just released or too old. In this case, it will take you more time to find a suitable render farm that supports your software. However, you can always find the solution in one of the Top 5 Best Render Farms.

After finding a suitable render farm, the next step is uploading the project and taking the results after the rendering. But at this point, render farm is considered simply as “render-able”, which means we can get the results after using the service.

The more important question is whether the results are what you expected. If yes, the render farm does “render correctly”. On the contrary, we have to check if the textures, materials, etc are missing leading to incorrect renders.

Incorrect renders are likely to happen in the SaaS render farm technology. At SaaS render farms, Farm Manager takes the project, breaks it down into small parts (buckets/frames) and distributes them among all render nodes. What if the render nodes don’t have the same hardware? The renders of those buckets/frames will be different, causing inconsistent final still images or sequences. A few seconds of the sequence might not be noticeable, but a still image is definitely clear with distinct square(s). Even with just one faulty bucket or frame, the final render is defective and unusable.

On the other hand, IaaS render farms can solve this problem. With multiple GPUs on a physical computer or with GPU virtualization, buckets/frames will be processed on identical configurations, ensuring correct final products. 

That’s what we call “render-able” and “render correctly”.

Best render farm for specific use cases

There are thousands of render farms around on the internet. But which one is faster, easier to use, and more affordable? According to VFXRendering, five render farms that you can use for most of your rendering needs are Fox Renderfarm, GarageFarm, iRender Farm, RANCH Computing, and RebusFarm.
One render farm may be better than another for a given use case or software. This is also true for different projects or personal needs. VFXRendering has tested and reviewed the best render farms for specific use cases. Let’s take a look at some of them:

Octane render farm

Top 5 Best Octane Render Farm Comparison

Redshift render farm

Top 5 Best Redshift Render Farm Comparison

Blender render farm

Top 5 Best Blender Render Farm Comparison (Multi Frames)

Top 5 Best Blender Render Farm Comparison (Still Image)

How to choose the right render farm?

So who is VFXRendering we have mentioned above? VFXRendering is an online magazine that provides useful information and review for the Best Online Render Farms. Its goal is to help the artists to find a good, more importantly, suitable render farm for their needs. VFXRendering assures you always find the rendering solution, no matter who you are, no matter what your project is.

That’s true. They have a bunch of render farm reviews and comparisons on both their website and their Youtube channel @vfxrendering.
If you are finding an online render farm, VFXRendering is a great place to make your decisions easier.

VFXRendering - Review Render Farms
Youtube channel

Author: Sponsored Editor: Michał Franczak
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