TLDR: CGWire partners with render farm provider Ranch Computing to provide you with common offers!
We first heard of Ranch Computing at Unit Image when Frank and Gwénaëlle, our founders, were working together on a high-end production. A production spike caused an urgent need for image computing, and we needed a big-capacity specialist to run the render. That's when Unit Image called the Ranch Computing team.
During our production, it allowed us to keep things running smoothly and made it easier to ship the quality needed. Later, when CGWire was founded, we kept on meeting the people from Ranch Computing at festivals and conferences. They loved our mission and decided to sponsor our events, showing that we share the same values.
Today, we recommend the service so much that we worked out a partnership between Ranch and Kitsu: Ranch will offer free credits to Kitsu clients, and Ranch customers will receive one month free on their Kitsu subscription! Please, contact us for details.
What does Ranch Computing?
Ranch Computing is a French company based in Paris. It is a high-performance rendering service for CPU and GPU projects and a hardware solution provider focused on 3D rendering.
As an animation studio, you need to render 3D projects quickly without compromising on quality to move forward: not an easy thing when you use your own hardware! A render farm solves this by splitting the rendering workload among several dedicated machines with loads of processing power: one week of rendering on your computer becomes 20 minutes with their service!
Now, let’s see how a render farm works and how you can start with Ranch!
Why You Need A Render Farm
As previously mentioned, rendering your 3D models on your own machine is time-consuming. Your processing power limits the speed at which you can render your projects. With a render farm, you can borrow more power depending on your usage: if the rendering takes a week on your machine, you can send your assets to a company like Ranch and they will render it for you in just a few minutes.
You can also build your own render farm of course, but it’s expensive. Not only do you need to buy costly hardware like GPUs at several hundred dollars a pop, but also spend time configuring and maintaining the infrastructure, and paying for electricity bills. You’ll also need to know in advance how much power you need, and it might not make sense to invest thousands of dollars in equipment you’ll only use for one project. A render farm service offers the advantage to scale up and down depending on the needs of your projects, without having to learn anything about server management. You just log in to a website and upload your assets to be rendered―it couldn’t be simpler.
Last but not least, a render farm not only increases processing time but also rendering quality. You are free to choose between higher and lower resolutions for your assets depending on the project’s requirements because you are no longer limited by your hardware limits. In a world where expectations for 3D models to look more and more photorealistic keep increasing, having a render farm becomes mandatory to keep up with the competition.
Getting Started with Ranch Computing
You need to create an account to keep your 3D models private. It’s free to get started and will only take a few minutes:
Push your shots to Ranch
First, you’ll need to install the RANCHecker plugin in your favorite 3D modeling tool. RANCHecker will prepare your scenes from Blender, 3DS Max, Maya, Houdini, Cinema 4D, Indigo, LightWave, and Maxwell before rendering.
You can then choose between using a CPU render farm and a GPU render farm depending on your project. Each rendering method has its own pricing. But in general, Ranch Computing offers an excellent trade-off between costs, speed, and quality:
Ranch proposes a handy price calculator to reinforce the transparency of their pricing―nobody likes an unexpected bill!
Even better, Ranch offers 30€ worth of free credits, as well as a 50% discount for academic projects, on top of your Kitsu discount.
If you encounter any trouble at any point, Ranch offers great documentation and tutorials, and is also available for direct support.
Upload your scenes
You can now upload your scenes by going directly to Ranch’s web portal. It’s as simple as drag & drop:
For projects beyond 50Gb or 9999 frames, you’ll need to contact Ranch’s customer support beforehand.
Download the rendered frames
You have two options to obtain the rendered frames.
RANCHSync allows you to download your frames in real-time in your desired 3D modeling tool as soon as they are rendered on Ranch.
You also have the possibility to use the link provided in the email sent upon completion of the rendering work to download your files.
Speed is ultimately what makes a project’s costs go down. If you can build a pipeline stack that increases your animators’ daily quota thanks to tools like Ranch and Kitsu, the investment quickly brings high returns.
In any case, you’ll benefit from the frame preview feature to check your renders as low-resolution thumbnails while they are being rendered:
And that’s a wrap! Hope this article convinced you to try out Ranch Computing to improve the quality and speed of your 3D rendering pipeline. You don’t have to believe our words though, just try it while it’s free!
At CGWire, we believe that collaboration must happen at all levels. That's why we are proud of this partnership. It will improve our offers and show that the animation ecosystem can be strengthened while we work together!
We run a Discord community where you can discuss your problems or solutions and learn from others. We are already 1000 members sharing tips and ideas. Join us―Technical Directors and Production MBut what is Ranch Computing?anagers from all over the world will be super happy to welcome you!