Render­flow, a rel­at­ively new render-service pro­vider, recently ran a testing-phase dur­ing which users of Blender’s GPU-accelerated Cycles ren­derer could try the ser­vice com­pletely free of charge. We imme­di­ately jumped at that chance with some of our work over at mar­crea and the res­ults were rather satisfactory.

Yet there’s only little inform­a­tion provided on Renderflow’s homepage so we decided to talk to them a bit about the ori­gins of the ser­vice, it’s cur­rent state and what they have planned for the future. Read on to get the whole picture …

Loc­ated on the beau­ti­ful island of Ten­erife, Render­flow is a small team of 7, split between devel­op­ment, sup­port and com­mu­nic­a­tion. Only foun­ded in 2008 it aims to provide a ser­vice as con­veni­ent as an in-house render­farm at com­pet­it­ive pri­cing. While there has been a cli­ent avail­able for 3ds max for a while now the com­pany is strongly look­ing at Blender, Maya and Cinema 4D for the future, where usage of internet-based render-farms hasn’t been so widely adop­ted yet. A spe­cialty of Render­flow is their expert­ise in GPU-rendering, where after an intense phase of research and test­ing the ser­vice is almost ready to roll out on a com­mer­cial scale.

Renderflow development team

The exper­i­mental free phase of Blender ren­der­ing has proven to be an extreme suc­cess for the com­pany. Only minutes after the annouce­ment the regis­tra­tions and render-jobs star­ted pour­ing in at about one job a minute. And as Rodrigo Medinilla from Render­flow vividly remem­bers: “When a cus­tomer tests a sys­tem it is not done with simply upload­ing a cube and a teapot, we got really heavy jobs to render or sequences of 1000 frames.” All in all the farm fin­ished 656 jobs with a total of 46.160 frames dur­ing the 10 day test-phase. Apart from the data col­lec­ted on the farm’s per­form­ance the most valu­able res­ult for the team is the great response and intense com­mu­nic­a­tion with the Blender com­munity. Medinilla likes “to point out that the Blender com­munity is abso­lutely fab­ulous in terms of col­lab­or­a­tion, expert­ise and cohe­sion. The com­munity is really great and we want to reward them soon with a second phase of free test­ing, with an updated sys­tem and more avail­able power.”

Renderflow support teamWith the obvi­ous demand for rendering-services for Blender the team has also some innov­at­ive fea­tures in devel­op­ment, the first of which will be the pos­sib­il­ity to have large particle-systems be solved on the farm.

It’s inter­est­ing stuff all around and hav­ing tried the ser­vice for ourselves we can only recom­mend giv­ing it a spin. You can anonym­ously try out the render-farm with a pub­lic account (your ren­der­ings will enter the pub­lic under a CC-license) or register and receive 15 EUR worth of ren­der­ing time with all the con­fid­en­ti­al­ity you can expect from a pro­fes­sional service-provider.

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