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  • Writer's pictureNiina Ojala

5 things to consider when choosing rendering services

From time to time, you may wonder if the familiar way of doing 3D rendering should be changed, for example due to equipment aging or rising costs. In this article, we will review the most important things when considering an outsourced render farm service and talk about the ecological alternative offered by Kuulea Energia in Finland.

1. Own computing capacity or a cloud service

The first things to consider are whether you want to invest in your own workstations or servers, or whether you should buy the service from a reliable render farm partner in the cloud.

At first sight, purchasing your own equipment may seem like an attractive and affordable option. However, it is worth noting that a lot of equity can be committed to the investment, as well as the running costs of using electricity, licenses, cooling the premises, etc. Your own equipment also needs regular maintenance, working time and know-how. If the rendering is done on your own machine, it is good to note that rendering usually interrupts all other work.

If you have decided to invest in your own equipment, the bigger workload may come as a surprise, and your own capacity might not be enough. In this case, it is a good idea to have a reliable partner ready for the need. The investment can also be viewed from the perspective of the average utilization rate of one's own equipment. If the equipment stands between projects with a low load, it will significantly increase the payback time of the investment.

Finding a reliable partner can relieve you of many headaches. The implementation of the Finnish Kuulea cloud service does not incur starting or investment costs and thus frees up capital for other uses. In addition, if the rendering has been done on your own machines in the past, you will free up time and capacity for new projects.

2. Easy to use and support

When schedules for animation rendering projects are usually busy, the service used must be easy to use and fast. The 3D software used must be supported by the rendering service and the modeling must run smoothly.

Before purchasing a 3D rendering service, it is a good idea to check the availability of customer service and support from the partner candidate. Is the service available by email or phone, how fast and in what language? Several render farms are located outside Europe and the rapid availability of support is hampered by, for example, time differences and a language barrier.

Kuulea's professional support team is in Finland, and the service is available in both Finnish and English. A knowledgeable support team will help in implementation and in possible future challenges. Kuulea's platform is suitable for rendering 3D animations, e.g. With Maya, Blender, Guerrilla, 3dsMax, and V-Ray. The list of supported apps is replenishing all the time.

3. Functionality and Security

When rendering in a hurry, there is no room for error and the quality of work should be uniform. Technical quality can be difficult to measure when purchasing a service.

There are very different kinds of render farms, and, in part, the number of errors varies in their services.

For some industries, the certainty that data is located on a secure continent can be critical. It may be important to think about where the render farm and their servers are located.

The infrastructure and software expertise of Kuulea is based on a partnership with the French company Qarnot Computing. Because all our servers are in Europe, a secure operating environment is guaranteed. Our computing service is currently used by e.g., leading banking institutions. We have passed their Trust & Control audit, which guarantees a high quality of security.

4. Price

The first thought might be that cloud rendering services are all very expensive. However, the image is partly outdated.

Companies that provide their services in traditional data centers, must include the construction costs of the data center, the costs of electricity needed for cooling and backup power, operation, and the personnel costs of the occupied data center in their prices.

As the Kuulea heaters are in existing premises, there are no construction cost of the data center for Kuulea. As the servers, ie the heaters, are already located and added to water circulation system of the site, the costs related to transmission path loss are also eliminated.

With this unique distributed server concept, Kuulea can charge their services more cheaply than its competitors.

The most important factor influencing the cost of cloud rendering is the price of the processor time used. In the Kuulea’s service, you can choose how fast you want your work to be completed, ie what kind of processor the rendering will be processed. The hourly, monthly, or yearly price includes everything needed to render the data center infrastructure. In some cases, the necessary rendering licenses can also be included in the price, so that you do not have to obtain the licenses yourself.

5. Environmental aspects

Do you know what the carbon footprint of rendering an animation looks like?

Animation production uses a large amount of energy during the rendering process. Rendering an average 90-minute animated film produces 102 MWh of thermal energy.

This amount of energy can:

- Heats the entire city of Kankaanpää (inhabitants ^11 000) for 6 hours on a winter day.

- Covers the heat demand of a medium-sized apartment building for six months.

- Covers the heat demand of a 10-apartment terraced house for the whole year.

- Heats the domestic water of a family of 4 for about 28 years.

Traditional data centers generate a massive amount of heat when performing high-performance computing. This heat must be removed from the data center rooms so that the servers there do not overheat. In addition, the transfer of heat away from the computer rooms causes additional costs as well as energy transfer losses in the transfer. Even though traditional data centers have done much to achieve more environmentally friendly ways of operating, one of the most significant challenges, however, is how to efficiently utilize and recover the heat generated during computing processes.

In the Kuulea model, the waste heat is generated where it is really needed. This means that there are no costs for cooling the premises and transferring heat. In addition, what makes Kuulea's solution unique is that the waste heat produced as a by-product of data processing is transferred directly into the water-circulating heating network of the property. Thanks to its distributed background system and the heaters in the buildings, Kuulea can dynamically move heat-generating computing loads to where they are needed at any given time. This means that the heat generated from the calculation process of the Kuulea computing client can always be utilized.

Kuulea COMPUTING -service offers a truly green alternative for customers who need computing power. In addition to a business model based on the principles of the circular economy, Kuulea compensates for emissions that occur during, for example, manufacturing and transportation. The full carbon neutrality of the service is achieved by planting trees in Finland, which also employs local young people from all over Finland through 4H.

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