Small Farm, Big Performance

Yesterday, Laurence and I tested out a render farm for here in the video studio. After effects is a great program with endless capabilities, but the more visual effects you add, the longer the final product takes to render. Luckily, it comes with a render engine that can be installed on any networked computer to assist with large render jobs. You simply set the render to put the files of an image sequence into a shared folder. Then set each computer to look in that folder for new files. Once the render begins on the main computer, the others see this and begin chugging out frames. Just the computer’s RAM and processors are used so others can still work on the machines. The result is a render that takes a fraction of the time. Some tweaking is still needed to get optimal performance, but the actual system works just fine. The next step is finding a system that works for Lightwave as some of those 3D renders can be days long!