Author Topic: Planetside partners with Pixel Plow as Official Render Farm  (Read 17523 times)

Offline Oshyan

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Planetside partners with Pixel Plow as Official Render Farm
« on: August 22, 2014, 09:46:04 PM »
We're excited to announce Pixel Plow as our new Official Render Farm. We've spent some time with their platform and have been really impressed by its features and usability. Best of all, their prices are the lowest in the industry, making animation (or high resolution still image) rendering finally affordable for all. If you can afford to buy a beer, you can render yourself a nice little animation for about the same price. :) 

We've done some render tests showing speed and pricing, and written up more details here: http://www.planetside.co.uk/pixelplow-official-renderfarm

- Oshyan

Offline Dune

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Re: Planetside partners with Pixel Plow as Official Render Farm
« Reply #1 on: August 23, 2014, 06:30:09 AM »
I can surely recommend them myself, having worked with them as a tester for a while; tremendously efficient workflow. 
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Offline TheBadger

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Re: Planetside partners with Pixel Plow as Official Render Farm
« Reply #2 on: August 23, 2014, 07:49:25 AM »
Does sound good! And Im glad for the example in the link.

Can I ask what happened to the other venders?
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Offline cyphyr

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Re: Planetside partners with Pixel Plow as Official Render Farm
« Reply #3 on: August 23, 2014, 07:58:41 AM »
Great news, time to start a little render fund :)
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Offline digitalis99

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Re: Planetside partners with Pixel Plow as Official Render Farm
« Reply #4 on: August 23, 2014, 03:03:35 PM »
...Can I ask what happened to the other venders?

While I can't speak for Oshyan or any Planetside staff, our internal comparison of Pixel Plow vs. The Ranch showed Pixel Plow as the clear winner in every category (workflow, performance, completion time, efficiency, cost...).  Sure, you can say we're biased, but run a test yourself and see.

The Pixel Plow crew has been looking forward to partnering with Planetside for quite a while.  After all, it was my use of Terragen that got me interested in building a public render farm service in the first place.  Sure, we support lots of other render apps, but Terragen is still my personal favorite.
Pixel Plow :: Render Endlessly :: http://www.pixelplow.net

Offline Hannes

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Re: Planetside partners with Pixel Plow as Official Render Farm
« Reply #5 on: August 23, 2014, 03:48:17 PM »
This sounds extremely interesting!
Since I've never used a renderfarm service before, how does this work if you have a file with loads of objects and maybe a GI cache file? Just upload your stuff and off you go? :)

Offline Kadri

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Re: Planetside partners with Pixel Plow as Official Render Farm
« Reply #6 on: August 23, 2014, 04:01:33 PM »

Nice news and it looks usable.
Say i have a 1920x1080 still image and want it to render faster. İn how many tiles can it be rendered in your farm? Is there any limit and is there any control to it? I haven't found a price calculator in your site. Is there a way for this?

Offline digitalis99

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Re: Planetside partners with Pixel Plow as Official Render Farm
« Reply #7 on: August 23, 2014, 05:09:06 PM »
This sounds extremely interesting!
Since I've never used a renderfarm service before, how does this work if you have a file with loads of objects and maybe a GI cache file? Just upload your stuff and off you go? :)

Pretty much.  Make the pathing to your objects and cache file(s) relative to the scene file in the same folder or lower in the folder tree.  Our client application automatically zips up everything in the project folder you select, pushes it up to our farm, puts it in the queue, and delivers results as they complete back to the local folder you select.
« Last Edit: August 23, 2014, 08:04:19 PM by Oshyan »
Pixel Plow :: Render Endlessly :: http://www.pixelplow.net

Offline digitalis99

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Re: Planetside partners with Pixel Plow as Official Render Farm
« Reply #8 on: August 23, 2014, 05:20:42 PM »

Nice news and it looks usable.
Say i have a 1920x1080 still image and want it to render faster. İn how many tiles can it be rendered in your farm? Is there any limit and is there any control to it? I haven't found a price calculator in your site. Is there a way for this?

You don't have control of the tile count.  We automatically determine tile size based on final output resolution and what we've found to work well with TG.  The number of tiles rendering at any time is determined by the job priority you select.

Personally, I've always found price calculators to be a bit gimmicky.  After all, to have any idea of final price, you actually have to render the entire scene/animation yourself to know how much processing power and time you used.  At that point, for what do you need a render service?   ;)

We can do a price calculation for you if you have a specific example, though.

Our real-time, per-job budget limit and cost estimator are more powerful tools than a price calculator, because they allow you to define limits or watch estimates based on the actual job as it renders.  Since we allow our users to change priority or cancel a job at any time as well as have the fully automated budget limit monitor, unlike many other services, you don't have to worry about overruns or unexpected bills.
Pixel Plow :: Render Endlessly :: http://www.pixelplow.net

Offline Kadri

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Re: Planetside partners with Pixel Plow as Official Render Farm
« Reply #9 on: August 23, 2014, 05:33:48 PM »

Thanks for the reply.

"We automatically determine tile size based on final output resolution and what we've found to work well with TG. 
The number of tiles rendering at any time is determined by the job priority you select."

Are there any round numbers you could give? This is still a little vague :)
For example for a HD size still image if the low priority uses minimum 8 tiles i could estimate myself that it would render probably 8 times faster.

Offline digitalis99

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Re: Planetside partners with Pixel Plow as Official Render Farm
« Reply #10 on: August 23, 2014, 07:34:31 PM »

Thanks for the reply.

"We automatically determine tile size based on final output resolution and what we've found to work well with TG. 
The number of tiles rendering at any time is determined by the job priority you select."

Are there any round numbers you could give? This is still a little vague :)
For example for a HD size still image if the low priority uses minimum 8 tiles i could estimate myself that it would render probably 8 times faster.

Priority level has no influence on the number of tiles selected.  Only final output resolution is used to determine tile size.  The total job time is going to be affected by the priority level chosen, not the tile size.  If the tiles were X by Y, and it took Z seconds to render a tile, tiles 2X by 2Y would take 4Z seconds to render.  The net effect is the compute time spent and cost are the same regardless of tile size.  The total job completion time is still tied only to priority level chosen.  That's why tile size is not too relevant, provided it is generally what the render application can optimally compute.

Since you wanted an example, a 1920 x 1080 still is usually split to around 100 tiles.  Again, tile count and size doesn't have any bearing on cost or delivery time.
Pixel Plow :: Render Endlessly :: http://www.pixelplow.net


Offline Oshyan

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Re: Planetside partners with Pixel Plow as Official Render Farm
« Reply #12 on: August 24, 2014, 11:02:23 PM »
Ranch Computing is still doing good work and still supports Terragen. We're grateful to them for being the first major render farm to support Terragen and for the partnership we had with them. But as Ty mentions, Pixel Plow was basically built with Terragen in mind and as a result it's simply a nicer, smoother, more flexible system to work with than any other currently available option.

Pixel Plow is also much more cost-effective, and with our animation-capable versions of Terragen starting at only $349 (Creative + Animation), we saw rendering costs becoming far more expensive than the initial software investment and that's rather discouraging to people actually wanting to take advantage of their animation features. We knew we had to find a way to make animation rendering more affordable for everyone. Pixel Plow is an excellent partner for realizing that goal.

You're going to see more Terragen animation from Planetside as a result of this, but the real hope is that we see more from *you*! The great thing is that even a simple camera move can really make a scene come alive, and so many of you have scenes that are animation-worthy. It doesn't take much. If you can get your render time down to 20 minutes or so per frame (at 1080p or 720p), you can render a nice 10 seconds of HD animation for $10-$15! Test renders at lower resolution to check motion, etc. will be just a couple of dollars. Getting a full-motion view of your favorite scene for under $20 seems like a pretty worthwhile investment, no?

We're working on other ways to make animating more affordable too...

Kadri, I did a quick test of a 1080p image that takes 4 hours and 45 minutes to render on my i7 3.4Ghz quad core here (I intentionally chose a long-rendering, demanding scene). I rendered it at low priority on Pixel Plow just to get a baseline and it took a little under 45 minutes, about 6.5 times faster. Total cost was $1.42. :D At that price you could easily render at Medium or High priority (cost would be ~$7 at High priority) and it would deliver about 3x faster at High (tiled rendering is not as efficient with resources as as distributed animation frames, and you will see greater advantages on higher resolution images too). So you can choose how important speed is to you and pay accordingly, and even at High priority the pricing is still very competitive. Also you can of course be rendering or building something else on your local machine while something is going on the farm, which is a handy way to experiment and keep your workflow going while rendering a high resolution still or animation.

- Oshyan
« Last Edit: August 24, 2014, 11:04:16 PM by Oshyan »

Offline Kadri

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Re: Planetside partners with Pixel Plow as Official Render Farm
« Reply #13 on: August 25, 2014, 04:05:57 AM »

With a standard animation it is so or so clearer what and when you will get mostly.
I especially asked because some still renders with transparency and raytracing are taking very long (30-40 hours) you know Osyhan.
With those prices it might be more reasonable to use Pixel Plow to get faster results.

It looks encouraging indeed. I think i will try at least a control test of an animation and see how it gets.
I spend more money on smoking ;) (i will quit...ones again)
« Last Edit: August 25, 2014, 05:09:44 AM by Kadri »

Offline Dune

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Re: Planetside partners with Pixel Plow as Official Render Farm
« Reply #14 on: August 25, 2014, 06:25:55 AM »
I don't know if it has changed, but you might need to make and upload a GIcache file for stills. Have you had any progress with that, Ty?
In case you still haven't seen enough of my work: www.ulco-art.nl