YellowDog: An evolution in render-farming

YellowDog discuss their revolutionary render-farm technology, utilizing excess computing power to create a supercomputer to render for everyonefrom studios to freelancers...

YellowDog discuss their revolutionary render-farm technology, utilizing excess computing power to create a supercomputer to render for everyone
from studios to freelancers...

3dtotal: Thanks for talking to us today. For the benefit of those who don't already know, who are YellowDog and what do you do?

Gareth Williams: YellowDog is building the world's fastest supercomputer by securely monetizing underutilized computer power. YellowDog is a revolution in rendering for 3D studios and artists. By using computer power from both the cloud and the crowd, by tapping into the unused processing power of thousands of computers, we are creating a best of breed supercomputer powerful enough to chew through the biggest render jobs in next to no time. We are more than just a render farm. Our render services provide a guaranteed price, quality and speed of delivery. In addition, we support software that is most popular with 3D and animation artists such as Maya, 3ds Max, V-Ray and Redshift, and we've just announced the inclusion of Chaos Group's VRScans. We've also recently scored two Oracle awards for ‘Excellence in Innovation' and ‘Disruptive Technology'.

3dt: Who can currently benefit from this service and do you plan to expand that in the future?

GW: Our services are there for all those involved in the animation, 3D and CGI industries. From freelancers to big studios, the need for massive amounts of computer power for a short part of the production process is the same. Our service helps those who are producing architectural visualizations and animations, to animations on set builds, from adverts to kids' TV programmes to full movies – anyone and anything really.

Our user experience built for the 3D artists and animators, through the application of user centered design and iterative agile software development, is market leading. This has been validated by many of our customers. There are four components that we've built in YellowDog:

• YellowDog Plugin: Integrates with your 3D modeling software and identifies all assets needed for the render

• YellowDog Sync: Securely and quickly sends render jobs to YellowDog and receives the render output as the frames are completed

• YellowDog Platform: This does all the clever stuff that accepts, segments, distributes and securely manages and processes render jobs, as well as handling all the administrative tasks

• YellowDog Application: Securely processes and renders the jobs on the render nodes

Working together, these elements provide a secure, fast and reliable service to our clients. As for the future, we're going to be supporting new render engines and modeling software, including adding more GPU rendering support to complement our Redshift capability.

We're also really looking forward to opening up YellowDog to more people so they can contribute their computer power to the YellowDog Pack. Right now, we have more than enough computer power available to us through our partners, but as we're growing fast, we'll be needing to bring on more partners in the not-too-distant future.

Click here to download your free YellowDog trial

Praise for YellowDog:

"They offer a great online platform, a good interface that is easy to use and a supportive team, very supportive. They stand out in pricing as it's flexible and you can see what is rendering at a given time."

Somu Mohapatra – Giant Wheel Animation

3dt: How does your service differ from other cloud rendering options and how does this benefit the user?

GW: Essentially, this is down to four things:

1. Our guaranteed price, quality and speed of the render service (there are different options)
2. Our ease of use
3. Our personal touch – you get to chat to real people
4. We're the only render service that both crowd- and cloud-sources our render power

Our customers need to know that their rendering will be done on time and at the price quoted. This brings in a level of certainty into a job when the pressure is on and deadlines are looming. It also provides welcome relief from the need to invest in their own servers and to effectively run a datacentre, allowing clients to focus on their work and deliver ever more awe inspiring animation.

When planning and budgeting for a project either in the tender stage or in production, animators and 3D artists have confidence in the rendering element when using YellowDog. When the pressure is on, animators may need to run on coffee or late night gym sessions and we say let your animations run on YellowDog.

The personal touch is also incredibly important to us and our customers. We are always available on the phone or by email to provide personal service and support when needed. However, our facility that allows clients to check on the progress of their render has reduced this need. We also provide free tips for animators and 3D artists which are hugely popular. Published monthly on our website, each one provides a different insight into the expertise of animation.

3dt: What inspired you to create YellowDog?

GW: It started by thinking about how great it would be to help people make money from their mobile phones when they're not using them – many of us carry around pretty powerful computers all the time and, especially at night, they're not used to their full capacity.

Since the late 1990's, there has been a way to contribute your spare computing power to science projects – the most famous is the Search for Extra Terrestrial Intelligence (SETI) which processes data from radio telescopes from around the world looking for a signal from other intelligent life.

Bristol, where we're based in the UK, is one of the major creative and animation hubs in the UK. Speaking to a number of 3D artists and animators, I soon realized that rendering can be a big problem. I thought we may have an innovative and compelling solution to that problem – and YellowDog was born.

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