Here's some stuff I have read about that.http://www.extremetech.com/article2/0,1 ... 797,00.asp
This is a great paper on the topic. Its 23 pages. Good stuff.http://www.visualz.com/
Mark Christensen's blog
Distributed Rendering: Life on the Farm
I have an old friend from college who grew up in a farm house built during Shakespeare’s lifetime in Shrewsbury (Shropshire, England). A long time (over a decade) ago I was on the phone with him during my workday, explaining that I had time to chat because I was rendering. His reply was that rendering consisted of recycling pig and poultry carcasses. I wonder what he would make of a “render farm.”
A question came up about the excellent Nucleo Pro, which distributes renders across the processors in your multi-proc (and/or multl-core) machine. What about when you have procs distributed across a network and want your own render farm, a place where images grow on their own while you continue to work (or even sleep)? Before Nucleo there was X-Factor, which shipped with After Effects and created RAM Previews with network machines (an idea which turned out to be impractical, leading the product to be discontinued).
As many readers know there are several third-party solutions to help distribute an After Effects (or other 2d compositing or 3d animation) renders across a network. This has been possible in After Effects since version 6.0, which added automated rendering as part of the Scripting feature set. But Adobe doesn’t provide the means to do it; instead, they and other animation software developers provide the command-line “hooks” needed to let third-party software do it.
Thing is, this software, at least initially, isn’t so easy to install or maintain, and it tends to be larger studios with dedicated IT support who have the knowledge that it even exists, let alone how to implement it (hint: it’s not generally a matter of double-clicking an installer, instead involving setting up a domain controller on a centralized server and optimizing the network for speed and load-balancing).
This article from over a year ago lists some of the options available at that time and describes some of what is involved with implementing them. Since that time, Deadline from Frantic Films has appeared on the scene, which among other things apparently obviates the need for a server, but which is, alas, Windows-only. Also not listed from the Mac-only side is Qmaster, developed by Apple specifically for distributing Shake renders (but allegedly capable of distributing other applications’ renders as well - well, Maya, at least).
Thinking about this stuff revives a fantasy I had when the Mac Mini first appeared: get a bunch of those things with a little extra RAM and a gigabit switch and build a little farm right in my own studio.
I’ve heard others express this idea as well but haven’t encountered an actual implementation, and I’d love to hear (in the comments, perhaps?) from anyone who has created a cheap and easy (sub-$10K) render farm in a small studio, whether Mac or Windows based.