Opinion needed on commercial online render farm and baked simulations


Hope I’m in the right forum for this.

I got involved as a “Blender consultant” in an online commercial render farm project for Blender that seems to be evolving rather well. I hope it turns out nicely as I’ll have access to it and it’s a family project :wink:

The goals are to work out reasonable prices and cover all kind of rendering scenarios and render engines.

One issue that came up at one point in the project developement and is turning out a bit difficult to set up are animations using baked simulations.The devs here are telling me the thing to do would be for the render farm to be set up to detect and bake these itself, but it’s a bit tricky and will require making quite some changes to what has been done so far.

So the Question here was: are simulations a big thing in projects around the Blender community - more plainly put, is it worth the effort to integrate this into a render farm?

I just work architectural stills so I don’t have a clear picture on the simulations thing.

I didn’t post this in the Simulations forum because… obviously, simulation fans would be hanging out there so the feedback would be biased :slight_smile: or I hoped to get the general feel of the community on the issue

Thanks, would really be happy to get some opinions.

Done some tinkering on render farm stuff (that’s all I will say on open forum). The follow areas need to be baked: smoke sim, fluid sim, cloth sim, softbody sim, collisions, particles, dynamic paint, and I’m thinking the ocean sim/modifier. They all require the user to bake a cache that then must be made available to each render slave.

To answer your question:

So the Question here was: are simulations a big thing in projects around the Blender community - more plainly put, is it worth the effort to integrate this into a render farm?
Short answer is: I don’t know, that is up to you. Without supporting those things mentioned you are limiting yourself as to what you can render.

Renderfarm.fi is a free blender render farm, you donate your computer to the grid and you can use the service to render and I guess they are getting a little backed up with work to render. They do not support anything that needs baked.

Renderfarm.fi had a contest once, called alien life. Create an animation about alien life, render on their system and if you won, you got a copy of a dvd from blender.org by David Revoy. So I gave it a shot, my idea was simple. 1st scene would be a rover robot approaching a pool of water, it would stop, raise it’s camera up and examine the pool. 2nd scene would be a view from the rover’s camera. I gave up on it in frustration because I wanted to use the smoke sim for fog effect, fluid sim for the pool, etc, etc…

Renderfarm.fi is a free service, you get what you pay for, so I can’t bitch. If it’s a paid service and wouldn’t support those things then you’re limiting yourself as to what you can render, so you’re limiting your business. Without support for anything that needs to be baked, you could do arch-viz renderings, character animations, etc… But you couldn’t render a space battle with explosions (thinking you need smoke sim for missile trails and explosions) or a character animation of a magic wand the spews particles.

As to you detecting and baking those sims yourself, just require the user to bake them & upload them along with the .blend file. After all, the user has probably done so already to test and tweak the animation. So the user already has the caches sitting on their harddrive, so why use your system to bake them?

Look at your competition, do they support those sims? You have to price yourself so you are competitive with them…


Edit: I mention Renderfarm.fi is getting backed up with work, but don’t take that as business is booming in the render farm field. Take that as they are backed up with work because they are free…

Thank you for the detailed comment!

It looks like simulations are important in general to cg artists. I’ll have to research this further but I think you are right and probably adding that would be better for business.
The other matter, having users upload the bake file sounds like good reasoning, the only trouble is these files can get really really large.

I was in need of render farm services several times and I opted for commercial as it was a commercial project and didn’t seem to safe to use the free solution, even if I think renderfarm.fi is a great idea. I tried a couple of services, I was in a time crisis and didn’t manage to find a good service. Maybe I didn’t have time to test all options, but the ones that I found (from recomandations here in BA) were of no help, one was buggy and I couldn’t upoad my files, the other worked but rendertimes were much longer than on my own computer and the price over time didn’t look too good.

I’m mentioning this to explain that I realise it’s a difficult service to set up satisfactorily. I hope my friends succeed in making one that works well, so I’m trying to provide as much input from my user side and from what I read on these forums from other users.