Nowadays, digital animators, filmmakers, and CAD designers can bring their work to life without making substantial investments, thanks to the service of powerful render farms. These render farms are computational centers equipped with specialized hardware designed for generating high-quality renderings. They possess significant capabilities and the ability to handle multiple rendering projects simultaneously.
If you’re looking for the best online render farms, there are several top-notch options that offer high-performance solutions, enabling you to leverage the power and resources of these specialized platforms for your projects.
Where Did Render Farms Come From?
The term “farm” used to describe this type of facility originated in the offices of Autodesk. Back in the 1990s, when rendering technologies began to develop in the field of animated filmmaking, each computer in the rendering center had to process a sequence individually. Consequently, they couldn’t collaborate on a shared rendering network. The technicians had to “harvest” the rendered frames from each computer one by one, assembling them to create a complete scene. This process, combined with the white overalls worn by the technicians of Autodesk 3D Studio during the rendering of the short film, The Bored Room, gave rise to the term “render farm”.
A few years later, Autodesk developed network rendering, which significantly enhanced the efficiency of their render farms.
Render farms have evolved into high-tech centers worth millions of dollars, backed by major companies in the film and entertainment industry. While these companies could afford to invest in their own high-quality rendering equipment for animated films, Computer Generated Imagery (CGI) has advanced to the point where this technology is now accessible to designers and companies with more limited budgets.
Saas vs IaaS Render Farms
SaaS render farms operate through CPU rendering with multiple nodes, while IaaS render farms employ several GPUs within a server to accomplish the same task. Therefore, the choice of a specific render farm depends on the CAD software you are utilizing. If your software is compatible with GPU rendering, IaaS rendering is the optimal option for your project.
Today’s Best Render Farms
Below is a list of some of the largest and best render farms being utilized today.
Fox Corporation is a company that owns one of the world’s largest render farms, which has been operational in China since 2009. This render farm boasts 6,000 installed nodes dedicated to CPU rendering. The facility provides cloud rendering services to clients worldwide, spanning over 50 countries. It collaborates with numerous companies in the entertainment and digital animation industries. Fox’s render farm supports various plugins and software, including Cinema 4D, Blender, Autodesk Maya, and 3Ds Max. With its impressive capacity, Fox can simultaneously process CPU-based renders across multiple nodes.
Pixar Animation Studios
Pixar Animation Studios owns a substantial render farm consisting of 2,000 machines, encompassing over 24,000 cores. The sheer scale of equipment held by Pixar positions it among the 25 largest supercomputers globally. This render farm has played a pivotal role in rendering some of the most successful animated movies of all time, including Monster’s Inc. and Toy Story. Despite the impressive technological capacity of this render farm, the rendering process for an entire film can still take over two years to complete.
Render Pool offers GPU cloud rendering capabilities that allow you to optimize render times and save money when rendering Blender Cycles and Radeon ProRender scenes. By utilizing this service, you can reduce project expenses and accelerate delivery times.
Render Pool is your best option when rendering complex animations that may require hours or even days to render on your own computer.
Although not as large as the aforementioned render farms, iRender plays a significant role in the rendering industry. Established in Vietnam in 2019, iRender provides cloud computing solutions globally, with a particular focus on render farm services for 3D renderings. The company offers round-the-clock client support and relies on high-quality equipment, making it a reliable choice for collaboration. iRender also provides many resources to assist users in understanding the intricacies of the render farm process and the underlying technology.
Super Renders Farm
Super Renders Farm is an excellent alternative for rendering. Established in 2010, the company has experienced significant growth over the years and currently stands as one of the leading render farm providers. It offers competitive pricing, responsive and effective customer support, and fast turnaround times. Additionally, Super Renders Farm displays its comprehensive range of pricing options on its website, allowing users to easily compare and select the most suitable package.
RebusFarm is a German render farm that has been dedicated to incorporating the latest state-of-the-art CPU and GPU technology since 2006. Utilizing this render farm enables designers to render images from over 16 different CAD software, all while receiving a high-quality professional service.
GridMarkets is a highly recommended render farm company for cloud rendering and simulations. This render farm provides users with a free trial option, allowing them to test its services with up to 100 frames. Furthermore, GridMarkets’ pricing structure is straightforward and easy to understand.
Hiring an Online Render Farm vs. Building Your Own
When it comes to harnessing additional computing power for rendering projects, there are two options to consider: building your own render farm or hiring a company that offers rental services.
Building a render farm requires a high level of IT knowledge and experience, as it involves connecting multiple computers and making sure they work together. However, it’s important to note that building a render farm requires purchasing and maintaining render nodes, making it a costly investment. As the number of render nodes increases, maintenance becomes more challenging, demanding greater technical expertise, advanced components, and air-conditioned spaces.
This level of investment often exceeds the budgets of many small or medium-sized studios. Consequently, they opt to hire professional online render farms, particularly for larger projects. These specialized companies focus solely on providing rendering service to customers and offer client support to ensure smooth operations.
Deciding on whether you build your own render farm or utilize a professional one depends on your project’s budget and scale. In many cases, a combination of both solutions is ideal. For smaller projects, you may utilize your own local render farm, while larger projects warrant the use of external services.
If you’re a professional dedicated to 3D design and rendering, it’s essential to familiarize yourself with render farms. Whether you’re a freelancer or a studio, finding the right render farm that aligns with your needs and budget is crucial. Utilizing render farms offers many benefits for your projects, including faster deliveries and the ability to tackle complex tasks in less time.