A real-world cloud computing case study using a complex Blender scene.
Cloud computing and cloud rendering is often touted as a faster solution than using your at-home computer or a render farm. But is it faster? And how could you measure this?
Luckily, one cloud computing provider—Renderro—did exactly that. They commissioned VFX artist Alfie Vaughan to render a complex scene he had created in Blender on 3 different machines to see the performance differences.
These 3 machines were:
1. Vaughan’s MacBook Pro
2. Vaughan’s (relatively supe’d up) home PC
3. A Renderro ‘Turbo Cloud Computer’ (one of the options available at Renderro)
So, what were the results? Well, first let’s look at the Blender scene Vaughan created. The idea here is that he wanted to test a complex scene involving particles and particular lighting scenarios that he knew would be tough to render.
“The basis of why the scene was so complicated was I included lots of different materials that are notoriously difficult for the computer to render,” Vaughan shares. “And the idea of that was to have an exaggerated difficult scene to see how Renderro’s computers would handle it.”
These things included, continues Vaughan, “sub-surface scattering, where light penetrates into semi-translucent surfaces like skin and then scatters which creates that self-illuminated look you get when holding a torch to your skin etc. And also glass materials because the computer has to calculate all the light bounces and refractions.”
More on the machines
To tackle that complex Blender scene for this comparison test, Vaughan set it up for rendering on each machine.
The Renderro Turbo Cloud Computer is the top of the line machine Renderro offers. Its specs were:
CPU: 48vCPUs x 2.5 GHz
RAM: 192 GB
GPU: 4 x NVIDIA Tesla T4, 64.0 GB
Vaughan was able to create a ‘drive’ on this cloud computer, install Blender, and set off the render.
Meanwhile, the specs for his home PC were:
RAM: 32 GB
GPU: NVIDIA GTX 1080
And then the MacBook Pro was one in which Vaughan of course only relied on the CPU to render, given MacBooks don’t have dedicated graphics cards.
It’s going to surprise absolutely nobody that the Renderro machine—much more powerful than the other machines Vaughan used, since it had multiple GPUs—was much faster to render the Blender scene than the other machines. But just how much faster might surprise you.
Here’s the results:
MacBook Pro estimated render time: 9+ hours (Vaughan didn’t let it go past 2.5 hours for fear of breaking his laptop)
Home PC: 2 hours 33 minutes
Renderro Turbo Cloud Computer: 47 minutes
So the Turbo Cloud Computer—which by the way costs $10/hour to rent online from Renderro—rendered Vaughan’s Blender scene in about 1/3 of the time of the home PC, an already fast machine. Vaughan also adds that he could see some impressive results in terms of interactive rendering on the Turbo machine.
Want to know more? Watch Vaughan’s full video demo below, and check out the cloud workspace options available at Renderro. There’s also a free 30 day trial with $10 worth of credits.
Get bonus and early VFX content via a befores & afters Patreon membership