For those of us who do not have the time or the resources to create high-quality renders, there are render farms that we can use to do the work for us. These render farms allow us to send off our projects for rendering while we focus on other tasks.
It is called a render farm because it houses dozens if not hundreds of high-powered computers that are assigned projects to be rendered. There are two forms of the render farm, a community-based render farm where artists donate their own computers processing power to help others render their scenes, and more powerful company-based render farms where the end-user pays for the allocation of a machine to complete the render.
Using a render farm is by no means a cheat, but a useful tool that can improve your workflow and potentially save on your hardware lifespan by handing the workload off somewhere else.
The Definition Of A Render Farm
A render farm is traditionally a physical location known as a data center that stores 100’s computers. These computers can be allocated to 3D artists who wish to create high-quality 3D renders and animations. The term farm derives from the use of farms to house animals in a defined space.
In this case, computers are kept on the farm instead, and rather than producing products such as eggs, milk, and meat, they are used to create rendered scenes and animations, hence the term ‘render farm’.
Where Did The Term Render Farm Come From?
In 1990, Autodesk were working on a project titled ‘The Bored Room’, and the team was forced to meet a deadline that was considered unrealistic given the traditional rendering techniques of the time.
To compensate for this Autodesk decided to configure 386 computers into a single room to complete the rendering process. It is said that one of the technicians employed to run this render farm had the fashion sense of a more typical farmer.
The product manager Bob Bennett coined the term render farm because the way the computers were set up required technicians to farm frames from each computer and store them onto an optical storage device.
Are All Render Farms The Same As Each Other?
The general purpose of any render farm is to be able to render images for clients from various locations, normally around the world since it is all a digital process. However, the way these render farms are set up can be differentiated into the following types:
Datacenter Render Farms
A data center is a dedicated facility that stores computers in a series of rooms and offers the service of rendering images and animations for clients at a cost. The typical cost of rendering from a data center is typically measured as Ghz per hour. For example, render now is a service that offers a rate of £0.013 GHz per hour, although this is normally a general indicator and prices can vary slightly.
Community Driven Render Farms
In recent years collaborative render farms have been built up in communities surrounding a specific application field. For example, Blender has a couple of community-driven render farms where artists make their computers available for others to render their projects.
A drawback of using a community-based render farm though is the speed of your renders will be based on the machine that it has been allocated to, and with a community-based render farm this is far more variable.
Home Based Render Farms
This one is not a bad idea for a side business but is expensive to set up. Some artists will have acquired multiple computers for their projects and can choose to convert older computers into their own fully functional render farm.
With your own render farm you can free up your main computer to work on your next project, or you could set up a mini business venture and offer your computers out to clients as your own render farm.
Of course, this option not only requires a great deal of capital to build up the render farm but also considerable knowledge in setting it all up.
What Are Some Good Render Farms For Blender Users?
In 2022, there are many render farms to choose from and as the world slowly becomes more and more digital render farming becomes a more lucrative business when done right. Due to the simplicity of the service provided the quality is going to be similar regardless of who you choose to go with.
The two key factors when looking at who to send your renders to are time and cost. Community-based render farms may be very cost-effective but if you are working with a time limit you could land yourself in hot water.
Going with a data center for your rendered images is a great choice but for full animations, the price can rise at a fast rate.
Below we have listed some of the render farms that are often used by other Blender artists…
- RenderStreet (Editors Choice)
Which one should you choose? That’s entirely up to you but remember that the result of the render is dependent on what you have sent them in the first place, and all that is doing is the heavy lifting job of rendering your project.
Should I Use A Render Farm?
If you are debating if you should use a render farm, then consider the purpose of your project and if that purpose warrants the use of a render farm to complete.
Are you willing to pay the fee for using the service to complete a project that you could probably complete by yourself? Render farms are for convenience at the end of the day, so to you, what is the cost of that convenience.
If you are on a time budget rather than a financial one, then a render farm is a good option if you need to get things done quickly or if you have other tasks that you need to complete.
For most computers, rendering is a process that uses the full workload of your device and so you are always limited in what you are able to do while the rendering takes place.
Of course, if your own computer does not have the capacity to complete the render, because the memory required exceeds that of your device, then it becomes a given that you need to use a render farm to complete the project.
Short answer, it’s up to you and your preferences between time and money.
Thanks For Reading The Article
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