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Pratt Institute gets Render Farm tech from PipelineFX

PipelineFX’s Qube turns into Pratt’s White Knight after many struggles with existing render farm


Pratt is one of the nation’s top art schools and has to maintain high technology standards for its many computer graphics (CG), architecture and animation students. But after years of fighting an existing render farm solution, which failed far too often and was difficult to manage and find support for when needed, the school decided to just give up…for three semesters.

However, the school’s need for a render farm overcame fatigue and frustration and Pratt drew up a list of needs that were non-negotiable.

PipelineFX Qube Solves Pratt’s Headaches

“Our solution had to solve our app compatibility issue, desire for customization and lack of timely support. Anything else and our farm would fall flat,” said Ossama Elroos, Associate Director of Computer Facilities at Pratt Institute. “With Qube!, we were hooked from the start. It had an answer for every dealbreaker.”

PipelineFX worked with the college’s unique requirements and customized a deliverable solution to the school’s render farm needs. The result is a system that has predictable occurrences like reconfiguring Qube when apps release new updates. Everything else can be managed by the school’s staff and students.

01 - Artist is a specific product for Qube oriented at the 3D artists segment of production.

01 – Artist is a specific product for Qube oriented at the 3D artists segment of production.

With the prior render farm solution at Pratt the solution couldn’t even support multiple content creation apps at once, causing vicious cycles of inefficiency. To maximize resources the main student lab is setup to cater to both the user and the farm. Using Qube the admins setup Qube to reach out to the other computers in the labs for extra rendering power when machines are idle. If someone logs into any computer in the network, Qube then kills the frame and distributes the job to another worker. This means that students can work without constraint, and the farm can process without interruption.

Custom configuration files keep track of application licensing during this process so there is never an issue of use compliance as students render their assignments. And now with PipelineFX’s burst license policy, Pratt can double their render capacity free of charge. Perfect for peak periods like finals.

“We talked to other schools and they are as satisfied as we are,” added Elroos. “It would be hard to imagine they wouldn’t be. Qube! is a lifesaver.”

About PipelineFX and Qube

Folks often get the idea that only Windows tools are supported well under top render farm technology solutions. That is not entirely the case. Qube is an superb Apple platforms developer and many of their best tools are on Apple’s iOS platform.

After Effects (AE), CINEMA 4D, LightWave, Maya, Maxwell Render, Vue, RenderMan, RealFlow4 and several other tools, including Apple’s Shake, all work with Qube and all these tools are cross platform and most with inboard network rendering technology supportive of cross-platform configurations.

PipelineFX provides software, support, consulting and training services worldwide, supporting over 25,000 render nodes at more than 600 customers across film and visual effects, post production, design, games and education locations. Some of its customers include Digital Domain, BBC, HBO, Google, Dyson, Lockheed Martin and many others.

To learn more visit here.

Architosh Commentary

An interesting discussion point in this story is the part about running Qube through the computer lab. Any idle machine can be powered as a render slave at a given notice automatically. If someone begins using that machine, boom!, it’s now part of the render farm.

This type of implementation might be useful in various AEC offices where a lot of rendering takes place. The ability to offload frames in animations in particular would be very useful. We’d love to hear of anyone using Qube or any other product in this way.

Reader Comments

  1. Pratt Institute to Use PipelineFX Render Farm

  2. Pratt Institute to Use PipelineFX Render Farm

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