Sunday, 31 March 2013

The Incredible World of Rendering

Doesn’t the beautiful visualization of movies like Madagascar, Transformers, etc. make us think about the behind the scene classy work that resulted in something so incredible? The visual effects that are used in such movies do not get created out of thin air within seconds. The render times match upto 40 million hours to make such detailed films. The idea of this article is to provide a sneak peek into the vast world of rendering.
The first question that comes to our mind is very basic: what is rendering? In the world of computer graphics, rendering is a process of generating images from a set model by computer programs. This model could be anything between an object to a shot from the movie. The basic challenge is to produce a 2D image from a 3D depiction. To avail rendering, something called render nodes are required. Render nodes help in improving the workflow along with the project throughput by off loading the main and important render work away from the local computer and putting it onto a dedicated render farm.
Now let us understand how a render node works in a better way. Each node is connected to your home or business network (as per your location) via a LAN connection. Once the configuration is done, some third party rendering software can be installed so that the management of all the individual nodes becomes easier. This third party software further allocates the frames that need to be rendered to the render farm. It keeps breaking the frames till the last frame gets rendered. Once done, the render nodes “rest” till the time the software sends more frames to be rendered.
A render farm which is basically a large number of render nodes can be installed both in a huge film studio and in your home if you are a freelancer having a home studio. While installing it at home, the power and cooling factor should be considered properly. Since a huge number of nodes will be kept in a close room, it will not only end up consuming a lot of power, but also generate a huge amount of heat. The next issue to be given importance is the hosting of the files for the software somewhere other than the production system. This is the reason most people opt to buy a network attached storage box to tackle all file hosting work. The files could be published directly to the server before the rendering begins or can be worked on from the server. Publishing to the server will make sure that your workstation has a fast access while working from the server means that the issue of missing files and broken links can be avoided.
Before buying any product please go through both online and offline media to get a good understanding and also to save some cash.

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