Open movies have a huge impact for the people in the community: they help improve both the software tools and the personal skills of the artists. Helping to render these movies for free is our way of backing the open source movement and also the Blender community. A new edition of RenderStreet for Artists, our sponsorship program for open movies, just started to roll.
We’re using high performance cloud services around the globe for our render farm and we’re doing this from Romania, a country traditionally associated with count Dracula and the communist regime. Allow us to update that image.
Now, the city of Cluj has been nominated the best city in Europe for air quality and Romania is among the countries with top internet speed. It’s also a software hub for big companies like Adobe, Oracle, and Microsoft. The industry is slowly making way for promising new players—ventures that make it big on the local market, as well as startups that are targeting exits within the large tech companies.
What do you do when you dream of something but you don’t have the ready-made tools for building it? You take things in your own hands and build your own tools.
We continue our guest post series with an exciting story, coming from Radu, the man who built up a 3D scanner from scratch.
If you haven’t heard about my city, you certainly heard about Trrransylvania! Well, that’s were Cluj is. Nope, I haven’t met any vampires (yet!) but I surely met lots of IT guys around here. With more than 10.000 people working in tech companies, Cluj is also arguably called the Sillicon Valley of Eastern Europe… Funny enough, the startup that I am working on right now was born in the real Silicon Valley. More exactly, in Palo Alto.
Tulemod is the typical tech startup, built by technology enthusiasts, trying to change the world by developing a disruptive technology. Our vertical is the fashion industry and we’re working on a solution for digitizing apparel and enabling users to mix and match looks online with the maximum realism. It might seem an utopia but it’s actually a challenging problem that can be solved using a mixture of computer vision, 3D modelling, 3D graphics and enough programming.
You may have noticed recently that your GPU renders on RenderStreet have been finishing faster. You don’t need to check your samples or resolution, it’s because of a new kind of server we’ve been silently testing in the past week. Besides putting the hardware online for real-world tests, we’ve also run some of the standard benchmarks, and here is the first good news:
It’s been one year since we started interviewing talented people form the 3D industry. Each one revealed a unique connection between their work and Blender. The moment has come to find out where does Blender stand in relation to comics.
John Garrett has been drawing comics since he was five. Today, he speaks about the things he learned along the way. If you read carefully, there’s a lot to learn about character making and how serious making science fiction stories really is.
If you’re an indie, you know how difficult it is to get financing for your movie. The internet is booming with webinars, books and articles that want to teach you the secret sauce of getting the money for your production. At the same time, the checklist that you need to complete in order to have a shot at actually getting any money is getting longer by the day. The investors are looking for more and more insurance for their ROI and the big studios are hard to reach. And once you got a meeting with a potential investor, you’d better have a production manager, an accountant and a lawyer at your side. You’ll need these guys for answering all the questions related to the business plan that you’ve prepared in advance and to negotiate the profit distribution in the happy event that there is one. There are also the options of doing crowdfunding, or pre-sales, and they all come with their own challenges.
”Thanks for your awesome service! Especially baking simulations and then rendering with cycles is a killer feature :)”
Blender is the software of choice for many 3D artists. For some, it was love at first sight, for others it’s just a program they use to deliver the work. For Bassam Kurdali open source—‘libre’ as he calls it—is more than a tool, it is the result of the evolution of human nature that achieved a new level of interaction and cooperation.
In this interview, I’m talking to the director of the first animated open movie ever made. Which is kind of cool, as his Elephants Dream might someday be mentioned in textbooks. Bassam is a wayward on his own pace, following his dreams. I wanted to discover him better, but what I got was a new puzzle. A comprehensive mind that holds so many surprising things to come.
“I have to hand it to you – you’ve really nailed the product quality and customer service aspect of your business down.”
We’re very excited (and exhausted after these past weeks of full speed preparations) to announce the opening of our newest program for unlimited rendering!
One month ago we started the registrations for our flat fee rendering program, RenderStreet ONE. The new program is designed to make rendering more accessible to every artist, and we believe it will be of great help to those who need a permanent external rendering resource, on a budget.
The interviews we’ve been hosting on the RenderStreet blog for a while now gave me the opportunity to meet new people and learn a lot from them. With Sarah it was the other way around. I had met her before and even worked together on a project, so I already knew this was going to be a pleasure.
After switching to Blender, Sarah Laufer co-founded Pataz Studio, and specialised in character animation. In 2010 her movie was nominated for the Sundance Film Festival. Then Sarah worked for The Tube open movie. Back in Costa Rica, she was also teaching Blender to kids from poor neighbourhoods in San Jose. Pataz Studio is one of the 12 studios chosen to produce the Gooseberry Project, so now Sarah is based in the Blender Foundation’s Amsterdam HQ. And because she is the first Blender lady we are featuring here, let’s give a warm welcome to Sarita Laufer!
As 2014 is done with, we drew the line to see what happened, what are the relevant figures for our service and what went different from 2013. We’re sharing them here, as we think we’ve got some interesting results that speak about the work that we’re doing behind the scenes and our stubbornness to surpass our standards.
Here are the RenderStreet stats for 2014:
- 99.89% uptime. This means 9 hours downtime in the entire year. It’s two hours more than last year, because of platform migrations we had to implement.
- Over 15,000 jobs, with a 99% success rate in job delivery. Only 1% of the jobs had issues that prevented them from being successfully finished. And, as you might have experienced, we make every effort to deliver. This is an improvement over the next year, and one we’re proud of, especially considering the increased rendering volume.
- 85% of the animations were delivered in under 71 minutes in average. A good figure, showing constant performance over the year.
- Highest acceleration, compared to the client’s machine: 533x, or 1.5 hours compared to over 1 month (the comparison base was a 2012 iMac).
We’ve been trying to understand how different users do their work, in order to come with better solutions for their rendering needs. One common feedback suggested that it would be nice to be able to render the project several times while in development, without any added rendering costs. So we started thinking about how this could be done and came up with a plan.
RenderStreet ONE, our newest all-you-can-render, flat fee tier, is now open for registrations. The program is designed for people who have constant rendering needs and want an always-on resource they can offload their work to. This will ensure close, precise, control of the results, making the 3D renders more available throughout the process.
“I first used RenderStreet with a project that I knew I would have to outsource to a farm for. We reached out early on to see if the services that RenderStreet provided would mesh with our workflow. Not only did RenderStreet offer the services that we needed, but their staff made the whole process extremely approachable. There were moments when I had issues with my renders (problems that stemmed from my own inexperience), and RenderStreet reached out to me with answers to my problems before I had a chance to check them myself.
The workflow provided by RenderStreet is ideal; it is literally a one click process for me to get my render started on their servers. If I have a more complex setup, or if I have any questions regarding the process, I know that I would be able to contact them with my concerns, and they would respond in a timely manner with a well formed response to my comments.
RenderStreet offers the best solution that I’ve found for my Blender rendering needs. I look forward to working with them in the future.”
In the first part of this series I talk about the technical considerations for buying a new laptop for 3D work / rendering. I also tracked down the two NVidia mobile cards from the latest generation that are in the performance area. If you want to see how GeForce GTX 970M and 980M tested out in Cycles, you can see the figures here—their rendering performance is quite impressive.
Next, I’m going to make a few recommendations for specific notebook models, which I consider suited for particular usage patterns. Let’s get started.
The road warrior. If you are spending a lot of time on the road and need a light but powerful notebook, this one’s for you.
In the first article from the notebook review series I am recommending two NVidia cards: the GTX 970M and GTX 980M. They are the top two performers from NVidia at this moment, and they are most likely to successfully keep up the pace a few years from now.
When doing my research, I tried to find some benchmarks to show Blender’s rendering performance. I wasn’t able to find any data, so I turned to the online community for help. I knew that in the notebook community there are users with vast knowledge on the subject, and with access to the newest hardware. I found the reviews made by HTWingNut from the notebookreview forum very thorough and informative over the time, so I approached him with my request.
“I really love your service.
It’s so much better than render farms I used in the past.”
There are just a few more days left in this year—time to turn the page and set the grounds for 2015. To do that, we passed in review some of the best works rendered on RenderStreet this year, showcasing some of our clients to the world.
The demo reel features 3D animations that were made by some of the greatest artists and animation studios using Blender. From realistic buildings and architecture design, to cartoons and commercials, the selection pictures a wide scope of 3D renders.
For me, choosing the right notebook is always more difficult than building (or buying) a desktop. The customization options are often restrictive, and similar configurations from different manufacturers can be priced very differently. Plus, the prices are always higher than a similarly spec’ed desktop and the upgrade possibilities are in some cases almost nonexistent. All this means that a lot of research is needed before taking out the wallet, and a lot of people might find this difficult.
Because lately I’ve heard the question ‘what laptop should I buy for Blender?’ a lot, I decided to look a bit into the matter. Read on to hear my take on this.
Note: This applies to all rendering engines that work with NVidia GPUs. Also, I won’t be talking about Macs here, as they don’t have any configuration with a decent NVidia GPU at this point.