Classic Color: How Blender and Cloud Rendering allowed them to be in the pink of condition



Premedia | Print | Visualization


United States

Classic Color is a Multi Award winning world leader in pre-media, print and 3d visualization industries. We’ve had the privilege of having a chat with Rogelio Guzman, who is one half of the illustrious company’s CGI team. Read on to learn about their experiences in the Graphics business, working with Blender and Modo, and online blender rendering with us.

We always use cloud rendering for all our intensive projects. We do not have a render farm in-house and it makes so much sense for us to use GarageFarm and let the render farm pros handle the complexity that running a render farm brings. This process lets us focus on what we do best.
Rogelio Guzman, Classic Color

A few words about yourself and the team behind Classic Color.

There are several departments that make up Classic Color; print, desktop, retouching, and CGI. The CGI team consist of Bill Cornman and myself. My name is Rogelio Guzman and I am a Senior 3d Generalist. I have been in the advertising Industry for just over 18 years and 10 years within the 3D industry. I have had the privilege to work alongside some of the well known leading brands.

Can you tell us about the company? Its beginnings, location, and expertise.

Classic Color is a premier pre-media and print services provider with forty years of expertise in the industry. We’re a leader in visual communications, including specialty print, artistic retouching, and photo manipulation, as well as computer-generated imaging and 3D rendering. We integrate well into any workflow and are able to seamlessly transition between digital and print marketing mediums, creating a full-circle solution for our clients. We are located in Broadview, Illinois.

If you could describe your typical type of client and the industry you operate in, what would those be?

Our typical type of clients are in the Advertising and Industrial design industry.

Can you talk about some projects you guys worked on? Some that you’re most proud of or most challenging ones.

There are a few projects that stand out for me. The first was with K-mart. They asked us to come up with a new design for a Santa sleigh that was not traditional looking and has a more modern look. So Bill and I brained stormed and came up with a Snow Globe Powered rocket Santa Sleigh. We tried to keep a few elements that would come from a traditional sleigh such as the leather reigns and the Rudolph hood piece. This was a fun project to work on.

The second was for Precision Planting company. We were to take their CAD files of their product and showcase. The challenge for us was to use such high poly models and create animations simulating how the product works.

We’ve seen that you use Blender quite extensively in production. Can you tell us your story with Blender and how you use it?

We started using Blender about a year after we started working on Precision Plantings jobs. The CAD files they were sending us were extremely high poly count and the software we were using at the time (Modo) could not handle that much geometry. It was a nightmare to make a move or navigate the interface. I knew of Blender and tried using it several years back and did not like it at the time, But I figured I give another try and man it was very different this time. Blender had changed their interface and made it more user-friendly. I imported the files from Modo via FBX and Blender handled it like it was nothing. I could navigate and make changes that Modo could not do without getting the death wheel and eventually crashing. After this, I started going deeper into Blender and seeing if I could get realistic renderings like I do from Modo and it delivered. So I convinced my Supervisor to integrate Blender into our pipeline. We now use it in about 85% of our jobs.

What are the projects you rendered on our farm? Can you briefly describe some of them?

All of our projects that are animations or still renders that require quick turnarounds we send to GarageFarm.NET for rendering. This includes all of our Precision Planting jobs. Precision Planting jobs can have a total of 1500 – 3000 frames that need to be rendered

One of the projects we worked on was for Precision Planting. It was for their 2018 January conference. We had four different projects to work on and complete in just under 2 months time. The first was for their 20 20 Launch Animation, Conceal Animation, Hopper Animation and Smart Firmer Animation.

The Conceal animation and Smart Firmer created a challenge with the dirt texture that was going to be needed for working with both close up and far camera angles, and to keep render times per frame down. Especially with short deadline.

Winter Hopper

The size of all 4 projects and time needed to render them was not going to be achieved in the shop. To make sure we met our timeline we used GarageFarm to render all 4 projects. They were able to turn around the renders fast, without worrying about missing our deadline.

First, we started out using Modo but had issues with the high poly count of the client supplied models; we then tested the files in Blender and it worked great. We decided to finish all 4 projects with Blender. Since then we have switched to using Blender as our main 3d software. We also used Black Magic Fusion and Davinci Resolve for the compositing.

What’s your view on cloud rendering and its current state? We know that some studios are still very sceptical about going cloud.

We always use cloud rendering for all our intensive projects. We do not have a render farm in-house and it makes so much sense for us to use GarageFarm and let the render farm pros handle the complexity that running a render farm brings. This process lets us focus on what we do best.

How did you find GarageFarm.NET and when was your first experience with us?

I found GarageFarm.NET through a Google search years ago. My first experience was great. I did not have any experience with using a render farm and was not sure how to provide my files for rendering. Of all the other render farms I tried to work with, GarageFarm was the easiest for me to talk with the support team and get the help I needed. GarageFarm’s customer service is what kept me and still keeps me using their services. It is nice that they have a lot of automation with renderbeamer, but they still have great support when your stuck or have questions.

I love using GarageFarm.NET. I love technology, but I am a strong believer of great customer service with an actual person. GarageFarm Delivers in both areas.

If you could give any specific examples of how a cloud render farm helps a company like Classic Color? Could be something general or specific to the project described earlier.

Using GarageFarm for our rendering is a godsend, especially when we are working on Precision Planting jobs. They have a short timeline and we need to render thousands of frames. GarageFarm renders fast and is very cost effective.

I remember way back, years ago, I was having rendering issues and could not figure it out. I asked GarageFarm if they could help and they gladly offered their services and helped me figure it out. The great thing I like is that they seem to have someone who specializes in the specific software you are using and helps you troubleshoot.

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