GarageFarm documentation

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FAQ

General questions

What is a render farm?

A render farm is a huge collection of machines harnessed together to do one thing -- render your 3D frames. By tapping into the power of render farms, your 3D projects can meet deadlines that are set to the next week or the next day. What usually takes days if you try to render on your own machine can now be completed in just hours. 

Read more on how render farms work https://garagefarm.net/blog/the-benefits-of-using-a-render-farm.

What does GarageFarm do?

GarageFarm has been helping 3D artists meet deadlines and scale their businesses since 2010. It seamlessly connects with your 3D software and fully automates the process of rendering. You can send your scene right from the interface of your application without any complex and time-consuming setups. GarageFarm combines the best of both worlds - advanced technology and the human factor. When rendering with us you're never in the dark, left with no help and a looming deadline. 

Don't take our word for it. See how our customers use GarageFarm and what they say about us https://garagefarm.net/case-studies.

What should I do when a scene fails to render?

We have a team of experts that are online and at your disposal at any time of the day 7 days a week. All you need to do is reach out through our live chat and ask about the job that failed. We will troubleshoot it for you and assist you through the process.

What’s your storage policy? How long will you keep my files?

We allow our users to store project data (project files and any files saved in an account) on our servers for a total of 28 days after a completed render job or project. We guarantee to safely store project data as they are within the initial 7 days. After that, we will relocate the data to archive storage for the remaining period. The archive storage isn’t guaranteed against data loss. We will completely and securely delete the project files stored in your account 28 days after the last completed render job in the given project.

Is the farm secure? Can I render a confidential project on GarageFarm?

When uploading scenes to GarageFarm, all transfers are encrypted. Projects stored on GarageFarm are secured on internal servers safe from any external access. We will always ask for your permission in case we want to use your project files to provide better customer support and a better user experience. We will never share your files with anyone outside of GarageFarm without your written consent.

Following controls are in place to prevent unauthorized physical access, damage and/or interference to the data center building and office: Security guards, secure gate and doors to the servers area and server room. Secure gates and doors, barbed wire fence, security officers, security agency monitoring, security cameras, individually issued security cards for accessing separate areas of the building. To ensure physical security and restrict access and protect equipment we have security guards, access cards, reception, ID cards.

By system design, GarageFarm users are not allowed to access any other data than their own. No client is allowed to access data directly. Each client is allowed to access only his data. Data access is highly secured against unauthorized access.

Our data centre operator provides secure internet connectivity. They do not have access to our local network and data contained there and the data transfer is securely encrypted.

We conduct penetration testing and vulnerability scanning at least once a year. We outsource the testing to our data centre operator's IT department. We evaluate our network and infrastructure security by routine checks. We also perform critical vulnerability software security updates - infrastructure systems and networking gear. 

We perform regular sandbox tests of our own and acquired software against a set of rules. Additionally, we perform antivirus and malware checks. Security on developers' workstations is monitored with special care. We continuously and actively monitor network, firewall, and system device logs and employ all the newest security patches and updates company-wide. Our development team is regularly trained in the scope of software cybersecurity.

How can I know what the current farm load is?

Upon submitting a job on the web dashboard, you’ll be able to see the number of jobs that are currently rendering and waiting in the queue. You can use this info to decide which priority you need to use given the farm load.

Do you support CPU and GPU rendering? What software can render on CPU and what on GPU?

On GarageFarm, you can render on nodes that either use CPU or GPU. The computing device you choose to render on largely depends on your 3D software, the technology it supports, and compatibility with our hardware. 

For example, if you're using Redshift, you can only render on GPU because that's how Redshift is built. If you're using Cycles in Blender, you can choose either CPU or GPU because Cycles supports both technologies and both modes are supported on GarageFarm. V-Ray also supports both CPU and GPU, however, our farm is only compatible with V-Ray CPU.

Rendering modes supported on GarageFarm:

V-Ray - CPU

Corona - CPU

Redshift - GPU

FStorm - GPU

ProRender - GPU

Cycles - CPU and GPU

Cycles 4D - CPU and GPU

Arnold - CPU

Cinema 4D native engine - CPU

Modo native engine - CPU

After Effects - CPU

Do you offer to sign an NDA?

We can either offer to sign our NDA or sign the NDA provided by you after our legal department reviews the document and approves it.

Do you support 3rd party plugins? What if I use a plugin that you don’t have on your farm?

We have a broad range of supported plugins that we constantly maintain and update. If you happen to use a plugin that we don’t have or have a different version currently installed, it‘s not a problem. Talk to us via live chat and tell us the app/plugin you’re using. We’ll explore purchase options. If the software is free, we’ll try to get it installed on the farm within a few hours.

Please note that the custom plugin installations apply only to users rendering on Medium and High priorities. Take a look at the list of apps and plugins supported on GarageFarm https://garagefarm.net/supported-apps.

Where are you based?

We are a UK based business, our data centre is in Poland, and the employees are working remotely from various locations in Europe, Asia, and Australia.

Uploading & downloading

How can I upload my project to the farm?

Once you have an account on GarageFarm, you’ll need to download and install our software that includes a desktop client app and a plugin for the DCC(3D app) of your choice. After installing the software and a quick setup, you will be able to upload your project to our farm right from your DCC’s interface.

Do I need to upload my project again after rendering a test job?

You can submit a job that has been previously tested by right-clicking on it in the web dashboard and selecting ‘Render full range’ without uploading the project again. Please note that the “Render full range” is available for jobs that have been previously rendered with a step (i.e. 1to400s20). Certain renderers and GI modes won’t allow using this feature and you will need to upload the scene again to render the full range.

How can I download frames?

To download frames you will need to open renderBeamer - our desktop client app. If you have auto-download turned on in preferences, the frames will automatically download to your local drive as soon as they finish rendering. If the auto-download is turned off, you can download the frames manually by going to the downloads tab, selecting the job from the list, and right-clicking or hitting the download button. Each frame will download to a directory you selected in your renderBeamer preferences. If you’re not seeing the job or some frames are missing, try the refresh button - it will sync the app with the cloud. Check out our video tutorial showing how to download frames https://youtu.be/z0F0p5TSHRw?t=304.

How can I check rendered frames?

Each completed frame is downloaded automatically to your local drive to a directory you selected in the renderBeamer application. Please make sure you keep renderBeamer running and the auto-download on whenever you have jobs rendering to get the frames downloaded right away. 

As an alternative, when you’re logged in to your account on the website https://app.garagefarm.net/, you can preview all rendered frames in the web dashboard. In the file browser on the left, you can see all your project files. Navigate to the folder inside your project with Renders in the name at the end. You can double click on the frame to preview it online.

What files should I upload?

To ensure correct results we’ll need all the files used in the scene: textures, proxies, xrefs, lights, cache etc. However, you don’t need to worry about it because our plugin will analyze the project and will collect all the files connected with the scene and upload them to the farm automatically.

I have a new scene that uses assets from the same project already uploaded to the farm. Will I have to upload the entire project with all the assets again?

No! Our software will checksum the files that are already present on your GarageFarm account and upload only the new scene, new assets, or the assets that have been modified.

Getting started

Is there a trial available?

Every account comes with $25 trial credits to allow you to test the service without commitment. You can use all the farm features just like on a full account with two limitations - 10 render nodes (machines) and 30 jobs. It means that you can render a project that costs no more than the amount of the trial credits and the number of jobs doesn’t exceed 30. While on trial you won’t be able to utilize the full rendering speed. However, as soon as you make your first credit purchase the node and job limitation will be lifted.

Do I need to register an account?

To use GarageFarm cloud render farm you need to register an account and then activate it. Registration is straightforward and requires you to provide your name, email, and country. You will get a verification link in the email. When you open the link, your account will get activated and will be ready to use. 

We don’t require a credit card to start using the service. As soon as you register and activate an account, you can use a trial that comes with starter credits.

How to get started?

Once you have an account on GarageFarm, you will need to download the desktop client app called rendreBeamer. It bridges your computer with the cloud. In renderBeamer, you can select a DCC (3D app) you want to integrate with. The integration is quick and simple and requires installing a plugin for your DCC. 

The next step is to send a project to the farm from the interface of your DCC using the renderBeamer plugin. The full workflow is described step by step in our starter guide https://garagefarm.net/software-guides/general-guide.

Testing & estimating

If the calculator says my project would take 10h to render, is it the actual render time?

The calculator shows the farm render time in a best-case scenario where your job gets a maximum number of available nodes, however, in practice that number may vary. In addition, the calculator only shows the time of the nodes when they are rendering. It doesn't include the waiting time in the queue or the time a scene would need to open/load on the render node.

How can I test the service?

Every new user gets trial credits when registering an account on GarageFarm. You can use the trial to test the service without making a commitment. The trial is sufficient to get familiar with the workflow and to test all features thoroughly. 

You won’t be required to use a credit card or to pay when using a trial account on GarageFarm.

How can I get a render time and cost estimate?

You can get a quick estimate using our cost calculator. Remember, it’s only an approximation and it only works for animations.

To get a more accurate estimate for animations, we recommend testing a few frames on the farm using a step. For example, if you have 400 frames in your sequence, and set the frame range to 1to400s20, you will get 20 frames rendered in total. Our system will then calculate the cost estimate for the full range based on those frames rendered.

One thing to keep in mind is that the more frames you render from the range, the more accurate the estimation is. Also, when you choose to render a full range after using testing a job with a step, you won’t need to render those frames again. 

The calculator works with animations only. To get an estimate for a still, render the image on the farm in a lower resolution. 

Please render the image in 1/5 resolution or any other smaller resolution. In the case of a 1/5 resolution test, the cost of a full-resolution render will be 25 times bigger than the cost of a test. For example, if you want to render an image in resolution 5000x6000, run a test in 1000x1200 res first. If your test costs $1, then the estimated cost for the full-res image should be around $25 (5 x 5 = 25). For a 1/4 test it would be $16 (4 x 4 = 16) and so on.

Dive deeper into the why and how of running tests on a render farm https://garagefarm.net/blog/how-to-use-online-render-farms-part-2.

Why is running test jobs important?

Network rendering across multiple machines is very different from rendering locally on a single machine, especially when system environments aren’t the same as is often the case with cloud rendering. Tests help you determine whether your scene renders fine and produces the same results as on your local machine. On top of that, you avoid the situation where you pay for results that aren’t what you had in mind.

We always urge users to run tests first no matter how optimized a scene might be or how confident you are that the scene will render without any issues. Better be safe than sorry. In addition, tests cost very little and if the results are correct, the frames rendered in a test won’t be re-rendered and you won’t be charged for them when rendering full range.

Pricing & billing

When should I pay?

Initially, you receive $25 credits that you can use to run some test jobs and get familiar with our service. Once you use them up, you’ll need to buy credits to continue rendering. You should give our discounts offer a closer look.

How can I pay for the service?

We offer a variety of payment options that include PayPal, dotpay, Revolut (coming soon), Zen (coming soon), and wire transfers. You can pay with a credit card using any of the before mentioned payment services i.e. PayPal and dotpay. We encourage you to check out this document detailing how to buy credits on GarageFarm https://app.garagefarm.net/payments.pdf.

Do you offer discounts for students?

Sorry but we don’t. You should try our Low priority, though. It’s great for students and artists who are just starting out. In addition, each account comes with $25 trial credits. You can obtain additional credits through coupons giveaways. Make sure to follow us on Twitter or sign up for our newsletter to stay in the loop.

What’s included in the rendering time and in the price? How am I charged? How is my render job billed?

We only charge for rendering time, in other words, the time nodes (farm computers) are working and actively processing a job. To break it down further, rendering time includes scene/asset loading, pre-processing, rendering, and output saving. All these processes influence the total time it takes to render a project and effectively that’s what is included in the final cost.

We don’t charge for jobs while they’re waiting in the queue, when they’re acquiring nodes, or when software is being installed on the node prior to starting a 3D app. The billing starts as soon as a job is assigned a node and the node starts rendering. We charge by the second and the pricing is all-inclusive - it encompasses electricity cost, license cost, and service cost. 

See our Pricing page to learn more.

Do I need to get a subscription?

On GarageFarm, you pay as you go. Pay only for the time you are rendering. It’s up to you how much you spend. It can be anything between $1 and $10,000 or much more. You’re not required to purchase a subscription and you won’t incur monthly charges for using the service.

What are priorities? Which priority is right for me and my deadline?

You can choose between three priorities when rendering on GarageFarm. Essentially, a priority offers you a choice regarding your placement in the render queue. The higher the placement, the sooner a job will start rendering and the sooner it will finish rendering.

You can select a priority that best suits your deadline and your budget needs. For example, you can choose between the speed or low cost or middle of the road.

High priority - 100% cost, 300 CPU nodes / 50 GPU nodes per job, top placement in the queue

‍Medium priority - 50% cost, 150 CPU nodes / 25 GPU nodes per job, in the queue behind High

‍Low priority - 25% cost, 75 CPU nodes / 10 GPU nodes  in total, in the queue behind Medium and High

You can switch the priority of the job that is running at any point in time. The frames that already have started rendering will be charged based on the rate according to the initial priority and won’t be affected by the priority change. The new frames will be charged based on the rate of the newly selected priority. 

More info about rates and node specs here https://garagefarm.net/pricing/.

Does your price include tax/VAT?

Our prices do not include the tax/VAT.

We are a United Kingdom-based company, which means that for everyone from the UK we need to add 20% of the VAT to the payment. Generally, HRMC will refund the VAT amount to British companies after filing the VAT Return form.

If you are from a country within the European Union, and you have a valid VAT number, the tax/VAT won’t be added to the payment.

If you are from a country within the European Union, but you don’t have the VAT number, we will add the standard VAT rate for your country to your payments.

If you are from a country outside of the European Union, you don’t need to pay the tax/VAT.

What will happen when my render job is more expensive than the credits available in my account?

As soon as your account goes below 0, the render job will get paused (not killed!) and the currently rendering frame(s) will continue rendering until finished. This means your account will go to a negative balance. To prevent this from happening it is crucial to run test jobs before deciding to render full range or full-resolution renders in order to estimate job cost and plan accordingly.

The negative balance in the account is the responsibility of the user and must be paid to enable back full system functionality.

I got charged for frames that were broken or rendered too long. Can I get a refund?

Don’t worry. Please contact us and we will investigate the issue and will help you find the cause.

If the cause of the incorrect frames was our system failure, we will offer you a refund or some other form of compensation.

Please note that we can’t guarantee a full refund in cases where no tests were performed or the instructions provided in the system or documentation weren’t followed or were neglected. You can read about the Return Policy in our Terms of Service.

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