Sep & Oct ‘17 Render Farm Software Update Roundup

For the past two months, our developers have been working tirelessly to update our renderBeamer plugin for some of our supported 3d programs. We’re again introducing features and fixes that we have found as well as those that have been requested by our partners. You can see the recap below of what went down for September and October 2017.



Max

  • Added warnings/prompts about no support for Mental Ray (3ds max 2018 and up), support for CXR format with Corona render still shots, and post process effects with V-Ray
  • Render to fields option is now disabled by default
  • Added Photon map support for still shot mode and render as is mode
  • Fixed RealFlow issue with empty caches paths
  • Added reload scene after crash feature
  • Fixed issue with *.exr files connected as *.ifl sequence asset type
  • Disabled “separate render folders” switch for V-Ray frame buffer output (RGB/Alpha)
  • Extended plugin setup for strips mode – now you can render V-Ray strips with every GI configuration, LC modes now create GI caching jobs
  • Added full support for multi-camera scenes with all renderers (Mental Ray, V-Ray, Corona) and all possible render modes
  • Improved plugin GUI layout for displays with lower resolutions
  • Disabled 32bit V-Ray raw exr. Now exr internal format setup will have the same settings as the original scene
  • Fixed disabling render region with V-Ray
  • Fixed disabling Render Mask (now its set to “None”)
  • Added prompt about “Corona render selected mode”
  • Added check/uncheck for all cameras when setting multi-cam scene

Maya

  • Added support for Shotgun plugin
  • Added prompt about no support for the external renderer – Mental Ray – for Maya 2017 and up
  • Added support for $MAYA_PROJECTS_DIR variable used in the assets’ paths
  • Fixed ‘no renderable layer set’ prompt (when additional layers were used in referenced scenes)
  • Adding “>” char was fixed for stacked assets
  • Empty input boxes for Mental Ray texture nodes are being ignored
  • Support for Xgen Animation Guide cache (.abc)
  • Added support for xgmSplineCache Xgen node
  • Locked attributes are getting unlocked
  • Minor adjustments added to Mental Ray proxy handling

Cinema 4D

  • Added support for multi camera scenes with tiled rendering (for stills)
  • Blocked non-renderable high resolution formats (resolution 65k and higher)
  • Fixed issue with custom C4D installation paths
  • Support for X-Particles
  • Added a prompt for X-Particles about settings configuration




Lightwave

  • Fixed support for IES lights assets (Lightwave internal & DPKits)
  • renderBeamer starts automatically after installation now

MODO

  • Added support for vismat assets

Blender

  • Changed plugin workflow – now the plugin will send unpacked scene instead of packing & assets relinking
  • Added prompt about “Auto Run Python Script” when using custom scripts in scene



Rhino

  • Fixed the issue when sending crash logs
  • Added prompt about “Auto Run Python Script” when using custom scripts in scene

VUE

  • Both R2 & R3 are now installed and fully supported on our farm for VUE 2016

Corona

  • You can now render projects using Corona 1.7 on our farm

RenderBeamer

  • Added an alternative port option for main connection – in the settings panel and connection test panel. This is to fix connection issues with some 3rd party security software incorrectly blocking beamer main connection.

If you use any of the of softwares above, feel free to take these updates out for a test run. And for those that haven’t registered yet, click this link and get test credits, on the house!

Got requests for our next batch of updates? Leave us a message at garage@garagefarm.net or give us a shoutout on Facebook!

Happy rendering from all of us at GarageFarm.NET!

Blender Beasts Challenge 2017

Hey Blender heads,

Now that Blender 2.79 is out, we thought we’d celebrate this pivotal release with a little competition called BLENDER BEASTS.

Using Blender 2.79, create a still render of a scene featuring a creature from your favorite monster movie, or one of your own making, or something totally different (Beast could mean many things, right?). Pit your work against other contestants from all over the world for a chance to win up to $500 worth of credit so you can render your future projects here at GarageFarm.NET, and bragging rights as we introduce you as our very first alpha 3d artist to our community. We’ll be sponsoring participants by way of a $50 starting credit bonus, so you can render your entries for free, and we’ll be judging your work based on creativity, technical prowess, and clever use of the theme. To learn more and to sign up visit our Blender Beasts page and prove yourself a top dog in the 3d art world!

Why are we doing this?

We love 3d, and believe that the Blender Foundation is at the forefront of creating a world where 3d content creation can be something for everyone – from professionals to young enthusiasts, and where the caliber of 3d artists is determined by the dedication and skill they put into their work, and not what software or plugins they can afford. It’s in this spirit that we created this Blender contest, as a salute to all the great things the Blender Foundation has done and is doing for the 3d industry, and as a means for us to encourage you guys to keep on blending, so that you can claim your place among the noted professionals in CG business.

If you have any questions or concerns, you can always drop us a message on our Facebook page. You can also try out our render farm for Blender, without joining the contest, by signing up here.

Good luck, and Happy Blending!

August ‘17 Render Farm Software Update Roundup

Last month has seen a ton of updates for our renderBeamer plugin for some of our supported 3d programs. We’ve improved plugin stability and introduced some exciting new features we’re sure you’ve been waiting for. Here’s a roundup of what our friendly neighborhood developers have been busy with for the month of August:

 

uploading linked Vray GI maps is now supported

still shots multi camera support in V-Ray is now faster and more stable (each camera will be saved and uploaded separately)

3ds Max

  • disabled hardware acceleration for denoiser filtering in V-Ray 3.x (GPU mode)
  • added support Corona’s CXR for animations and stills (but merging isn’t supported for stills)
  • fixed Corona 1.6.1 ‘missing assets’ dialog window (3ds Max 2017 & 2018)
  • added support for simplified multiple camera rendering for animations and stills
  • still shots multi camera support in V-Ray is now faster and more stable (each camera will be saved and uploaded separately)
  • added prompts about not supported features (Photon map, 3ds Max internal cached hair and fur, .vrscene plugins)
  • now you can render with V-Ray RT set as main render engine (in render as is mode)
  • added support for VDB cache files
uploading linked Vray GI maps is now supported

uploading linked V-Ray GI maps is now supported

Maya

  • added support for Shave and a Haircut dynamic caches (*.stat)
  • added handling for multiple renderers in one scene
  • uploading linked V-Ray GI maps is now supported
  • unsupported prefixes are now being changed automatically
  • added support for OpenVDB plugin
  • GI maps overrides are no longer applied

added support for Tiled camera rendering (for still shots)

Cinema4D

  • added support for Tiled camera rendering (for still shots)
  • improvements in ‘autosave’ switches in GI/Caustics/AO
  • fixed issues with custom GI paths in C4D renderer

added strips mode for rendering still shots in V-Ray standalone

Modo

  • we extended our support for V-Ray standalone renderer (.vrscene)
  • added format selection for V-Ray standalone
  • added strips mode for rendering still shots in V-Ray standalone

Rhino

  • Rhino & V-Ray 3.4 are now fully supported
  • you can render still shots in strips mode
  • you can cache GI & render your stills on multiple nodes

Sketchup

  • Sketchup & V-Ray 3.4 are now fully supported
  • you can render stills shots in strips mode
  • you can render animations (pages)

Web Manager

  • Cinema 4D Takes system update
  • sRGB switch always ON by default for .vrscenes from SketchUp & Rhino

If you use 3ds Max, Maya, Modo, Cinema 4D, Sketchup or Rhino, we hope these upgrades make your experience with us even more enjoyable. And for those that haven’t registered yet, click this link and get test credits, on the house!

Happy rendering from all of us at GarageFarm.NET!

We put half a million $$$ into cloud rendering

Some Good News for All of Us

We’ve been having a good run so far. Since 2010, we’ve been growing organically, and at a steady and encouraging pace. From 2 people managing a few computers in a literal garage (hence our name), we’ve moved up to a 30 strong team of farmers, specialists, developers, and operations managers from all over the world, and managed to acquire more powerful hardware year by year. Now it’s 2017, and to keep up with our ever expanding client base, we’ve made efforts to raise more funds. We’re happy to announce that a private investor from South Korea has recently given us some substantial backing. Since then we have invested a total of $500,000 in hiring new developers, technical directors, and system administrators, as well as purchasing a line of Intel V4 processors that can run with up to a whopping 176 virtual cores.

We at GarageFarm.NET always strive to provide the best service that is both affordable and user-friendly. We understand the market’s needs for more power, but more importantly, we are confident that the newer and faster hardware is a step toward a new future for cloud rendering. Affordable pricing and the power of 176 core nodes is something the industry currently lacks, so we’re more than excited to be one of the first to introduce these. With the help of our new key hires and our hard working core team, we’ve integrated this new hardware capability to our farm. We can distribute the 176 cores to individual 4x 44 core nodes, or use all 176 cores on jobs depending on what would suit them best.

We support major industry programs such as 3ds Max, Maya, Modo, Lightwave, Cinema 4d, Blender and much more, and we continuously make that list even longer. Thanks to our investor and the patronage of our users, we are closer to achieving what we set out to do from the very beginning: To be the most capable, user-friendly and versatile render farm on the market.

Multi Camera stills in Cinema 4D

We’re excited to announce our latest iteration of our renderBeamer plugin for Cinema 4d, which now facilitates the uploading of scenes with multiple cameras with ease! Using C4d’s stage tag, or the system with the new version of our plugin, you can upload your multi camera scene in one go. The plugin takes all your cameras in account, launches them as their own jobs on our farm, and outputs each render and all its passes to a separate directory for easy checking!

In addition, beamer can also use Cinema 4d’s tiled camera system to render your high resolution stills, distributing each tile among multiple nodes, rendering them simultaneously, and merging them for you, making hi-res rendering hassle free!

Stage Cinema4D rendering
Stage: upload your Multi Camera setups using the stage tag with renderBeamer for Cinema 4d

Takes Cinema4D Rendering
Takes: use takes to upload Multi Camera scenes with RenderBeamer for Cinema 4d

Tiles Cinema4D Rendering
Tiles: use tiles to render 1 hi-res image on multiple nodes here at GarageFarm.NET with renderBeamer for Cinema 4d

Watch our Rendering University video below to learn more:

Happy rendering from GarageFarm.NET

Canadian award winning directors, Iamstatic choose cloud rendering

SOFTWARE Max | V-ray | Corona
SPECIALTY Film | Titles | Storytelling
COUNTRY Canada

 

In the following interview with Iamstatic co-founder Dave Greene you’ll be whisked off on a voyage of digital discovery, first into the not-so-distant past with the relatable beginnings of Iamstatic, the talented Canadian CG studio born when the internet was just approaching its tweens; an online world where Flash animation was king, and the implosion of the dot-com bubble was still painfully fresh in the minds of many an online business venture. With the obligatory but no-less-interesting origin story out of the way, you’ll soon find yourself discovering what makes the small yet mighty studio tick.

Before ya know it, a mere blink later we’re going behind the scenes of one of Iamstatic’s latest projects, the compelling and darkly intriguing title sequence for Netflix’s historical drama series, Frontier, to investigate exactly how the project came to be. Including the tech involved, inspirations, challenges, and of course how long it took to render on GarageFarm.NET render farm.

Needing to keep their team small and nimble, Iamstatic discovered us through the power of word-of-mouth, and on looking into our render farm were soon convinced that this was the place for them. A decision of course helped by the affordable pricing, and the friendly actual human support available 24/7 through live web chat, Skype and email, even on public holidays.

The studio have continued rendering their various projects with us ever since the success of their Frontier titles, and as a thank you Iamstatic have excitingly provided the cherry on the top (well, bottom) of this interview, in the form of an appealing otherworldly surprise to send you off with. That said, let’s get stuck in shall we!


From the get go we always had someone helping us through any questions. Even after rendering many jobs, I still run into things I need help with and I never have to wait for a fix. It is refreshing to get to know the people behind it all, you develop a rapport with them, and in doing so the GarageFarm.NET crew almost becomes part of your team.
DAVE GREENE

What’s your name and where do you live?

We are Ron Gervais and Dave Greene. We both live in Toronto Canada.
We are the managing partners, and creative directors at iamstatic.

What do you do in your free time when not working?

We mostly think about personal projects and original IP. Outside of “work” related things, we both play music and have been avid video game players for years. We also both have families and they are what we care about most of course.

Can you talk about your initial experience with CG and what led to it?

Our first project in CG was a personal short. None of us had ever used 3D to any extent and decided to make a two-minute piece. Needless to say it was both a disaster and a great achievement. What led to this was working in the early days of Flash, experimenting with animation, it was a natural transition for us to move our storytelling into a CG environment.

Can you tell us about Iamstatic? Its beginnings, location, and the team.

It is a long history that started back in university. We both went to school in Halifax at NSCAD to study fine art. There iamstatic became an online gallery where we experimented with code, animation, web design and collaborated with other artists on curated projects.

What’s Iamstatic’s forte and the type of projects you take most pride in?

We always try to inject some narrative to our projects. A sense of story is very important to us and helps to make the work more meaningful. I guess all of our title work means the most to us because it is where you get to bring a lot of your own ideas and story to things.

Can you talk about the most meaningful project to date you guys worked on?

It is hard to say one over the other, as they all kind of influence each other from project to project. Three projects that came one after the other for us were:

These projects all influenced each other, and each lead us to the next. The FITC titles was an original short by us, and was shown during the pitch for Crimson Peak. Which I feel the tone of those two pieces lead us to getting the Frontier work. We have always said the personal projects, and ones with story, are what lead you to the work you get. And this is a great example of that.

What would you like to achieve moving forward? Where would you like to see Iamstatic in 10 years?

We are a small studio. In fact iamstatic was a directing team for a long time, and over the last year and a bit we have moved towards building our studio. We have started to add directors to our roster who we collaborate with, or act as the production company for them on projects. We want to keep a core team who share the same interests and philosophies as us.

Can we talk about the recent projects rendered on GarageFarm.NET? The title for Frontier being one of them.

We worked with our friends at Intelligent creatures in Toronto, who brought us in due to our past work on other titles sequences.

Our involvement was to pitch and execute the creative for the titles. Intelligent Creatures were doing some VFX shots for the show, and asked us if we would like to pitch for the titles since it is more in line with what we do.

Iamstatic - Zahn
Iamstatic - Landon

How much creative freedom did you have on this project?

The amount of freedom on a project usually is pretty open. You of course have to take the client’s needs into consideration, and find ways to tell your own story. We always feel that they are coming to us because they are looking for an interesting way to tell their story, so we never hold back on hopefully showing something new and interesting.

The reception of the title has been pretty good we feel. It has had many views and we feel pretty proud of it.

Iamstatic - Frontier

The other project, while I can’t say much about at the moment, is a complete 180 from the last. It’s very colorful and otherworldly, and is not a title sequence. Which is nice for us because for some reason we seem to do very dark and moody stuff! We are happy people I promise 🙂

What did you find was the most challenging aspect of the Frontier title?

Due to the topic of the show, there were a lot of opinions on what it needed to be. How much story to reveal and in what way. We actually had a lot of shots that we cut out along the way.

Can you tell us some more about the tech details and tools used?

We rendered just over one minute of footage for this project. Typically we tackle most projects in 3ds Max, as it always proves itself with small teams, and on this project it was a core team of three. We rendered shots in Vray and Corona. Frame times varied a lot between shots, but with really complex scenes render times between a half hour and one hour was manageable. Some Shots were much less though. It really depends on what is in the shot.

What was the reason behind using an external render farm for this project?

With the Frontier titles, we knew we had to keep the team small and nimble. Part of that meant we needed a solution for rendering. We just don’t have the time to manage problems with renders on the farm. It was actually the first project we did with GarageFarm.NET and it was refreshing to have the power of a larger studio in our hands.

I don’t really see us having a large in house farm anytime soon. I don’t really see the point anymore. We may have a few blades to chew through some shots, or do look development with, but when it comes to the long shots I like having 24-hour support through GarageFarm.NET, and the ability to scale up at any moment.

How did you find GarageFarm.NET? Anything in particular that made you choose our service?

A friend of mine who has used cloud farms before had heard of GarageFarm.NET but never used them. So I looked into it, and I liked the story of how they began. From a small team who knew production and decided to make a service and grow the business.


There are people there 24/7 to help, and I never have to wait for things to get resolved. I remember leaving a setting on a camera that I shouldn’t have which caused render times to be very, very long and costly. I talked to the GarageFarm.NET team and they took pity on me, and within a few days they added it to the sanity check when submitting shots.

When we decided to go with GarageFarm.NET, we could tell right away it was the right choice. From the get go we always had someone helping us through any questions. Even after rendering many jobs, I still run into things I need help with and I never have to wait for a fix. It is refreshing to get to know the people behind it all, you develop a rapport with them, and in doing so the GarageFarm.NET crew almost becomes part of your team. And I feel that is how they approach you as a customer.

Having the burden of maintaining a render farm is not an easy task. It is not something we felt as a small studio we wanted to tackle. We would rather spend our time on making the work and not stressing why something is not rendering properly. We have seen the benefits on all of our jobs. Even recently when we decided to switch render engines (Which is always a tricky thing to dive into in production) the GarageFarm.NET team actually took the time to work through workflow problems with us. Problems on either side don’t matter, they just get solved.

At first it was uncharted territory for us. But as I said there are people there 24/7 to help. I would also like to point out that I think GarageFarm.NET is a very fair price compared to the competition. It was also why we are committing to this service.

Do you remember any funny or interesting stories along the way that you want to share?

Our funny stories are NSFW. If you want to hear them, you have to come by and have a drink with us 🙂

Where can people find you?

Our doors are open if anyone is in Toronto and wants to come by. But we can be reached through our contact page at iamstatic.

Anything else you would like to add?

We have since rendered many other projects with GarageFarm.NET, and there are more on the way.

Iamstatic
Iamstatic

 

Medusa’s hair is making fans see red

By: GarageFarm.NET

James Whitbrook of I09’s thoughts on Medusa’s hair in this clip from Inhumans are on-point, but to be fair, the underwhelming effects on Medusa’s crimson locks may have less to do with sub-par vfx work, and more to do with the possibility that some implications of translating this aspect of the comics to live action may have been overlooked in the process of achieving a believable body of hair that was responsive to the actress’ body language.

Medusa Red Hair

Medusa (portrayed by Serinda Swan) belongs to the race of Inhumans, a species of prehistoric earthlings mutated by the Terrigen Mists produced deep under the Inhuman city-state of Attilan, presently located in the oxygen-rich Blue Area of the Moon. Considered a member of Attilan’s Royal Family, Medusa’s parents chose to expose her to the Terrigen Mists when she was a child. Medusa is married to her distant cousin, Black Bolt (portrayed by Anson Mount). The latter’s insane brother, Maximus the Mad (portrayed by Iwan Rheon), also claims to be in love with Medusa and has made frequent attempts to usurp the throne as well as make her his bride.

Medusa can control the movement of her hair as if it were countless thin appendages growing from her head. A psionic field permeates her mutagenically altered hair-cells, causing mutual attraction across the gaps between strands. She possesses a long, thick head of hair, every strand of which has greater tensile strength, modulus of elasticity, and shear resistance than an iron wire of the same thickness, as well as the psychokinetic ability to animate her hair for a number of feats. Medusa also possesses certain physical skills superior to those of human athletes.

Medusa’s hair in the graphic novels relies on the certain effects provided by the artist’s strokes, and shading that, while not an accurate representation of the physical properties of real hair, sell the idea well enough for a comic panel. Bold black lines representing light occlusion between clumps for example, highlight the overall color, create a feeling of energy, and can change the impression of the hair’s form to resemble anything from a silken sheet to a menacing cluster of tendrils where appropriate.

Recreating this with a 3d hair simulation may not play out as gracefully because viewers are now seeing this happening against a real environment,where stylizing is harder to get away with, and are more likely to observe inaccuracies more quickly at an instinctive level. Certain arguments about the “uncanny valley” might illustrate this further, actually.

Anyway, we’re still really excited about Inhumans coming to the small screen, and who knows, the vfx team behind may still be able to comb through that issue and still do something before the show airs. Best of luck, guys! Watch the official trailer for Marvel’s Inhumans here.

 

Stories from the Farm Ep. 2: Getting my shi(f)t done

Farming is serious business, but even with all the focus and alertness the job demands, there are the occasional light-hearted conversations that farmers and customers share together, that make it fun and entertaining.

This next yarn comes from our very own Piotr:
“Once, when I was turning the shift over to another farmer, I was ending a conversation with a customer. When I finished briefing the other farmer, I wrote to the customer to say I was going to end my shift, but I accidentally wrote “”My colleague will continue work with you as I’m going to finish my shit.”” Luckily, the customer had a sense of humor, so he corrected me, I apologized, and we laughed it off.”

Our team of dedicated and hardworking farmers works 6-8 hours a day all week, and after a long day of farming, a laugh does a lot to let out some steam, especially if it’s shared with a good-humored customer. It doesn’t mean that just because the work gets tough, a farmer can’t afford to shoot the shift.

Wait

June Software Updates

Hey there!

Our developers here at GarageFarm.NET work tirelessly to make our plugins address any possible need you might have for uploading your project to our render farm. We thought it would be nice to share with you the latest developments that have been accomplished in the month of June.

Maya

  • added support for multiple assets with the same filename but different path
  • added renderSetup and upAxisDirection checking
  • Yeti cache output path will be cleared if no cache was used
  • fixed colorSpace texture bug
  • fixed the issue with coping .tx files
  • disabled the Arnold option for ‘Skip license check’
  • enabled the Arnold option for ‘Auto-detect threads’
  • set “verbosity level” in Arnold to ‘Errors’
  • added Arnold prompt about the ‘Feature overrides’
  • added support for assets files in .ass, .ass.gz (Arnold stand-is ) and .mi, mi.gz (Mental Proxy)
  • YETI PRE/POST MEL Vray scripts are now removed in Arnold and Arnold scripts removed in Vray
  • handled invalid output image prefix in VRay
  • fixed the issue with copying xGen abc
  • disabled the optimizer prompt
  • other minor fixes and improvements
  • added an option for vrscene export

3ds Max

  • Anima full support
  • changed the prompt text for Corona GI
  • added support for Corona LUT files (ext .cube)
  • fixed disappearing Max Listener
  • set bucket size 16×16 for strips by default
  • added vrscene export option
  • fixed settings for store direct light

Lightwave

  • Extended support for special assets in sub-folders (like mdd caches/abc files/GI maps)
  • Improvements in plugin stability & speed
  • Fixes for IES assets links

There you have it! Stay tuned for even more updates, and feel free to test the mettle of our plugins with your scenes! New registrees get $25 dollars worth of bonus starting credit, which is more than enough to render out a short sequence or a series of stills. Happy rendering from the guys and gals at GarageFarm.NET!