View Full Version : Render Farm on a Cloud

01 January 2012, 05:19 PM

I came across Jud Pratt's tutorials ( about setting up a render farm using Amazon EC2 services.
First, it sounds amazing and cheap, and it seems pretty easy to setup.
I was wondering if anyone in here had a chance to test it in a real project, using Maya of course. It would be great if you could talk about your experience and thoughts.
I'm going to give it a try with my project, and I need to setup a network rendering manager.
I know that Backburner comes with Maya but I read that it is not stable, and has lots of bugs, do you think so as well?
What network rendering manager do you use or would recommend for such a scenario?
I need to be able to setup from 10 to 40 virtual machines (render servers) in a pretty easy manner.

Thanks in advance :thumbsup:

P.S: Here is an article that started the whole cloud thing for me, it is an interview in 3d World magazine with a UK based studio, which used Amazon EC2 to speedup their renders:

01 January 2012, 11:15 PM
I've watched the same tutorial, and it seems very interesting. If you happen to have two networked machines (ethernet, not wifi), I would recommend getting a backburner setup to work on that first before attempting to use amazon ec2. I've got backburner to work pretty decent with both 3ds max and maya in the past, and I will say that it is pretty decent, especially considering it comes with the autodesk suite.

01 January 2012, 09:38 PM
Hi Bruce,

Thanks for your comment.
I've started testing the whole cloud render farm solution.
I've done some Cinebench 11.5 CPU benchmark testing, if it interests someone:
c1.xlarge: 5.42
cc1.4xlarge: 9.89
cc2.8xlarge: 18.7
And I'm going to test Backburner on my local network as suggested.

01 January 2012, 09:45 AM
I wanted to use it with vray+maya but opted to use a farm instead, just partly as I didn't want the hassle of setting it up and most likely faffing about for days trying to get it working. :D

01 January 2012, 02:28 PM
One thing that I would like to know is how licensing really works in a commercial EC2 setup, as you effectively clone one license to multiple VM, right? I would doubt this is legal?

01 January 2012, 03:06 PM
For a commercial use this is absolutely an issue.
I know that Mental Ray has a cloud solution for Mental Ray standalone.
Which is integrated into Amazon EC2 pricing scheme.
You can check it out Mental Cloud Direct (

01 January 2012, 08:04 AM
This looks very promising, but like RagingBull, I'd predict it would take days to get working.
BTW, RagingBull, did you use a commercial render farm? If so, which one?

01 January 2012, 11:23 AM
BTW, RagingBull, did you use a commercial render farm? If so, which one?

Hi, yep, I used

01 January 2012, 09:40 PM
Hi, yep, I used

I've been using rebusfarm of late, and I've been nothing but happy with it

01 January 2012, 02:55 AM
Thanks for the rebusfarm recommendation. I looked at their service, which is an impressive approach (+ its green!). Have either of you tried it with a large scene? It looks like it would take a long time to transfer straight out of Maya. My current project is in a 450MB scene.

01 January 2012, 06:08 AM
Most ive done is about 150mb, but it worked fine. Wish they could use previously computed gi maps though

01 January 2012, 09:59 AM
Have either of you tried it with a large scene?

Yep, much bigger, around 2Gb scene's - BUT it does get compressed on the upload, and if you've sent other versions, the materials are stored so it won't re-upload something that is there.
Which is also worth baring in mind - every material/file MUST be properly, individually named ! (I made a couple of mistakes with logo's before :banghead: )

Sometimes there are queues depending on the time of the day but without a doubt when some of my scenes were going to take a month 24/7 rendering on my computers, waiting a couple of hours was nothing.

01 January 2012, 01:05 PM
What about geometry cache? They can get quite big.
My project, which is not finished yet, will be close to 40gb
including the scene files, textures and geometry cache.
Uploading a compressed version is a must for me, especially when I have such a slow upload speed - 1MB/s (bits not bytes - about 110kb/s).
I did a test with 7-Zip and it does wonders with scene files and especially with geometry cache files. It reduces the size by 90%(!).

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