Blender Render Farm Poll

You have no doubt seen my previous poll…here is a new one - read this before voting!


A person would go to our webpage and register with a

paypal account

This would then set them up to allow our rendering farm to render there images as fast as we can and get them back to you within the same day (or withing reasonable time based on render times). To do this the new member would:

login to there account
upload i zip file containing the “press F12” .blend (packed data) into there queue
mark the priority of rendering

this is the end of the user part and the beginning of the admin part…

These files are then marked with a priority stamp and your username. Example for an account for Prince that was marked for a priority of 5:


The administrators would then log in to a special account and download your first priority file from your queue. Once downloaded the file is deleted from your queue and put into the trash can, where at the end of the day it will be deleted. The file is then put on one of the rendering computers and rendered or animated.

The finished file is then uploaded into your download section of your queue where you can then download it…and email will be sent to alert you that it has been finished. These files are linkable for forums.

A perk is that you get a special gallery page for all of your images… you just set the colors and put your images in an order and give a name and description to the image and the server automatically makes a gallery of thumbnails for you to display your work easier…this is no replacement for your own website but it makes for a quick gallery!

All this costs only $20 for three months and is payable through a paypal account.

Renders are saved in any format and size you set.

Animation are saved in AVI Raw and you are contacted for the codec that you wish to encode it in after it is animated. If it is under 20MB it will be put in your download section. If over that it will be burned to a CD or DVD and sent to you. This also adds a $3 (US shipping) fee to your three month cost. You get unlimited rendering time and animating time.

The beauty of this set up is that any admin can access the account queues and start rendering on their render farm…essentially making one large render farm nation wide! The hosting would be on a new host i have recently found that provides 200GB of bandwidth and a ton of space so there would be no worries of slow servers. Each rendering computer would have several accounts assigned to it which it would cycle through.

The host farm (RFXS farm) would feature 20 PCs with the following specs:

256MB PC2700 RAM
40GB Hard Drive
2.8GHz Celeron 400FSB

Five of these are for dedicated animating - the others are for rendering… Others may have other setups…

So basically that is the low down…if you have any questions just ask…

So how many would use us (i need numbers to tell me if it is worth the investment)?

the problem with it would be a monthly fee could be much. a bill by time would be ultimate. if someone was to use it occasionally it wouldnt make sense to spend a monthly fee

A “per occasion” pricing structure would be favorable for those people who only occasionally render… and to be honest, these poeple are more likely to use a renderfarm since the project is generally large and might take more than 3 months to complete.

You’re probably also hurting yourself on the price… it should probably cost more. At the rate you’ve posted, you could get 12 render requests and be swamped with only $240 to use to increase your infrastructure to meet demand (even less if some of those requests come from the same individual)… not nearly enough, and you haven’t even paid yourself/your adminstrators.

What software are you using to coordinate rendering? Does it work for stills? If not, then your only real clients will be people interested in rendering animations. What kind of average turnaround can you predict for renders? Is that time (including upload/download/snailmail time) significantly less time than it would take for an individual to render it himself? By how much? What sort of network do you have tying these (somewhat underpowered - I can kind of understand the Celery decision… but only 256MB RAM?) machines together? Do you have a master render node with higher specs and large diskspace, or are all nodes the same? What’s the speed of the drives on each of the machines? Do you have a system to backup data in the event that there’s a power failure or some equally catastrophic event that shuts down the render process? How often do your renderfarm administrators monitor the renders/queue? Why not automate the process a little more? I render separate clips in passes that I edit and composite together in post. A five-minute animation can easily take up a couple gigs of space (I prefer sequences of pngs to edit from). How does your system accomodate that scenario? What if the final render(s) take up more than the 40GB drive on your standard render slave? What if I don’t want or can’t have my work viewable in a public gallery?

Just a fwe questions for you to mull over.

I’m also an admin at Real Effects Studios. I’ll answer some of the questions…but most of them are best for Prince to answer…
One of our admins is on about every hour.
If we can get any more money, we’ll upgrade the hard drive, and the RAM.
We can probably offer two ways to pay…monthly, for the ones that use or service often, and pay when you send us your project to be rendered. It does stills and animations. If you don’t want your project in a public gallery, just tell us when you send the project, and we’ll make a note of it.

Prince can answer the rest.


i just wrote this long explanation and internet messed up! ahhh!

new premiums to accomodate infrequent users:

$5 a month - unlimited rendering of images - this is for the infrequent user.

$1 an hour minimum one dollar - rendering or animating for one hour on one computer. Download/Upload/Tranfering time does not count…server eats this!

$20 for 24hrs - rendering or animating for solid 24hrs with no interuptions…Anythin over or under will add or subtract one dollar accordingly.

$200 a month - rendering or animating on one dedicated computer and on any other spare computer for a solid 24hrs/7days a week computing. Anything over will add $25 a day.

Shipping - shipping will be computed upon your preference of shipping method and will be verified before sending. This is for anything over 20MB.

The computers would be 10/100 networked to a host computer which would be the controlling computer for tranfering the files.

The host is a much faster computer with lots of goodies…Dual XEON 3GHz processors…1024MB PC3200 RAM…2x 120GB RAID HDD…All the computers are controlled via one monitor and keyboard…the entire system would cost around $6000.

In case of power failures we would have UPS and all the works!

With that figure we are just trying to stay afloat - not make a profit - this is the basis of a non profit organization…which we are!

Anything else?

more questions answered:

overwriting the 40GB drives…like when would that ever happen?! The animations are in scenes - no scene is bigger than 40GB when rendered!

gallery issues…if you have stuff that CAN’T be put in the galleries…then we won’t even render it! This is for images or anims that have a “controversial” quality…

gallery issues…if you don’t want the images to be displayed then just delete them from the gallery list…they remain in the download list…

answer more as i reread!

more answers:

OS type - stripped linux for all the rendering machines. Windows XP Pro for the host with dual boot into linux…

average turnaround - the average turn around would be probably within the same day for renders (stills) and depending on the anim within the week … also note that this depends on the premium methods - you reserve an entire computer then it’ll be faster! but as fast as we can render it and as fast as you can download it!

we would have T1 to avoid snail speeds…and server would be fast!

Rendering computers - te rendering computers have only 256MB RAM cause they don’t need much more! the OS runs on less than 125 and only one program is open and that is blender…not much more is needed! i suppose we could up it to 512MB as that doesn’t cost too much more!

like BlendeMagic said - queues would be automated…we’de be informed of new additions and we’de check in about once an hour or constant durring business hours! The systems would be sort of automated…we can schedule tasks and since the admins are accross the world - there is someone always checking!

With that said that is the big advantage…we are talking universal render farm not just mom and pop shop where we have one location - we’de have them at the locations of each of our admins…us, canada, uk, australia… and they’de each have a similar setup (perhaps more or less computers based on their funds). Each admin is then given a list of queues to monitor based on client locations and they would get 75% of the funds to manage it all and update hardware and to pay them for their services…the other 25% would go to the website and server fees and everything required there…anything extra would go to the head admins for the moderating purposes that they must endure! :slight_smile:

This means that anyone with a rendering farm can get our software and system specs and join our more or less association of render farms! think about it…prices would drop and customers would be happy…

Hrm… maybe there’s a slight misunderstanding about what a renderfarm is… When I read 20 computers in a farm, I think that the possibility exists for all 20 computers to work concurrently on the same image/sequence of images (partitioned for multiple projects if necessary). The advantage, of course is that 20 machines should be able to spit out an animation faster than one. What you seem to be describing to me is a service whereby a single machine is used to render a single image/sequence of images. The only advantage here (unless the user happens to be working on a machine with lower specs than your standard render node) is not tying up the user’s machine for the duration of the render.

Please correct me if I’m misreading. If you are running a true render farm, what are you using for scheduling? Dr. Queue? Nitrox? renderd/broker?

And I still think some of your pricing structure needs hammering out. Whether or not you profit never entered my mind. As a non-profit, you can still be paid for your time (unless you plan on an all-volunteer organization)… and the original price you were setting didn’t even approach this, considering the potential cost of upgrades. Also, what sort of criteria do you have to tell which users get charged $5 a month and $1 an hour? Is payment up-front or upon delivery?

When I was referring to work that can’t be shown publically, I was referring to work that might for instance, be created under contract that forbids public display before release… controversial content wasn’t even a consideration.

And I’m still wondering how you’re planning on handling large projects with sequences of images that get composited and edited in post (and yes, these can grow to well over 40 GB without too much pushing).

would those machines be able to render something 7200x12000?
LOL I have to make a 24x40 inch 300dpi poster…

Another question: how does one go about setting up a renderfarm? What software do you use? 'cause i’ve got a few machines sitting around here…

I’ve tried that because of my own work… Blender’s max resolution last time I tried was 10000 per dimension. You will have to render your image in two parts as two separate images for anything higher than 10000 pixels.

I suppose I can make it 4800x8000, 200dpi… people will have to stand back anyway… :x

anybody here heard of BURP yet?

It’s FREE!!! Distributed computing like SETI project. . . . hundreds of computers working on a scene instead of like 20. I suggest people checking it out.

The link maybe down right now. . . because of some bugs . . . . but it works (i’ve tried it). Should be back up in a week or so. It is still very early in development, but it is coming along nicely.