The Elastic Renderfarm: your very own renderfarm... cheap!


Hi everyone!

I was in a bit of a crunch for render time a couple of weeks ago, and as a student and independent artist, I couldn’t really afford to pay one of the big cloud renderfarms to render my projects.

A friend asked me if I had ever looked at Amazon Web Service’s Elastic Computing and he wondered if it was possible to set it up as a renderfarm.

Well… I looked into it… and yes, it is possible to set up Amazon’s EC2 as a renderfarm!

I primarily use 3DS Max or Maya which comes with its own renderfarm software, Backburner.

After several days of futzing about, I finally managed to get my own renderfarm up and running. Best of all, you can get an 8 core machine at a rate of about $0.50 per hour with a virtually unlimited number of machines at your disposal.

I wound up able to render out what would’ve taken my own single machine 110 hours to render in less than a day using my little renderfarm on EC2.

Anyway… I posted a series of videos on my website on how you too can set up your own Backburner renderfarm on Amazon’s EC2 service.



Looks very promising


Sounds like a great idea! Lets just hope amazon don’t get too wise about it, they might yank up the price! :argh:


For Houdini you can use this:


Hehe… indeed.

Though, I think Amazon is already making a tidy profit off of it as it is. :wink:

EC2 is being used for everything from websites like Reddit, IMDB, and Foursquare to computing intensive jobs for NASA and AeroDynamic Solutions.

Check out the case studies at

I’m sure some of us independent artists & studios will just be a little blip on Amazon’s map… and they’d be more than happy to have some work from the majors. :wink:



is it restricted to “right of the bat solutions” or can you install plugins that require licenses to work?


Thanks for the info. Was able to get my own render farm working. Though I made some modifications to the steps you took. I noticed that you configured your render slaves one by one. I set my nodes to just automatically configure and connect to the manager. If you wanted to bring online more than 10 machines it would get annoying to have to configure each one.

and to gtmotu. It would probably depend on how the licensing worked for the plugin you were interested in. I was able to get V-Ray working for example.


Very interesting. Will look into this. Thanks!


Rock on, gotta take a spin on this


looks so cool… great idea :slight_smile:


Great info Jud. Thanks for taking the time to work through this and post videos so others can get things up and running!

What is the process to set up the nodes to automatically configure and connect to the manager?


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