Interview: Render Street
23 April, 2013
Interviews

Finally some content not related to the development of Network website, but rather on our members! This is the first of a series of interviews, where we reach for the most interesting members and ask them to tell their stories or share their work.

Today we proudly introduce Render Street, a very promising and expanding online render farm project led by Sorin Vinatoru!

Render Street is a Corporate Member of the Blender Network, you can find more information about their service at their profile page.

Could you provide us with some background info about you and your activity?

We started working on the RenderStreet project at the beginning of 2012. What started it was in fact the need to render a big project in a hurry. Our partner Oana, who is a 3D artist working in Blender (and our resident Blenderhead), had a few big still images to render in 24 hours. I helped her research and test the online render farm offerings at that time and we were not happy with what we found. Some weeks later, when we were discussing what idea would be interesting pursuing for the future, we went back to the need Oana had and how the current offering was unable to fulfill it. We've seen an opportunity there and started working on it.

It was not easy and we spent a lot of time working on our underlying platform. We managed to get it in a fit enough form for closed beta in November 2012, when we launched our closed beta program, with the support of the community.

What does render.st offer?

We offer online rendering services for almost any kind of Blender project. In order to be able to do this, we support as rendering engines Blender Internal, Cycles, Yafaray and Luxrender. Looking forward to adding Freestyle as well when it launches in 2.67.

What are the technologies behind Render Street?

We support all Blender versions starting with 2.63 and ending with an SVN version of 2.66 that supports SSS. We also support Cycles hair rendering and OSL. Interesting to note here is that we also support baking on our farm for all physics supported by Blender. We also compile our own Blender binaries, so they are optimized to take advantage of the processing power of the servers they run on.

For our backend, it's worth noting that we are not based on an off the shelf render queue. We developed a proprietary algorithm (named RenderWheels) that dynamically allocates servers to jobs based on the continuously assessing the job rendering speed. Our aim is to reduce the rendering time as much as possible. Also, we have spent a lot of time researching the Python integration into Blender, so we are able to automate a lot of things. Such as analyzing the .blend file once uploaded and figuring out whether it can be rendered on GPU or CPU, as well as automatically baking the job if needed.

How has been the response from users so far?

At the risk of not being modest, I have to say that our users love us. We're trying to work close with them when they need our help and they appreciate that. As well as the fact that most of the time they can use our site without any help.

Could you support studios with a dedicated render pipeline?

We're definitely interested in that. We really like to work closely with our customers and figure out how we can improve our platform to support their business. Further more, we incorporate the feedback received in the site, so everybody can later benefit from the improvements. We're looking forward to working with studios with a render pipeline and see how we can help them integrate with our service.

What are your plans for the future?

One thing we know for sure is that there's always room for improvement. So we are going to continue refining our platform. Aside from that, for the near future, we are working or plan to work on these items:

  • releasing version 2.67 as soon as it gets released by the Foundation.
  • adding support for FreeStyle
  • revamping the job control panel, based on the feedback received so far, so it's more streamlined and easier to use
  • working with studios and adapting our platform so we can integrate with their pipelines


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If you have any further question for Render Street you can catch up with them @RenderStreet! For any feedback about this article you can write to us on twitter @BlenderNetwork.