RenderKing Render Farm FAQ
1. Who Am I?

I am an ex-3D Animator who for 12 years was the Systems Designer for a division of a global entertainment company located in Central Florida. Having been a professional 3D animator, and also having run the computer systems for a billion dollar creative art department; helps me configure RenderKing for the needs of professional 3D artists. I know what it takes - because I've been in your shoes - on both sides - the creative and the technical; and understand working with both sides for what an artist needs to get the job done.

2. What is RenderKing?

This render farm offers up to 588+ ghz of 64 bit 128 quad core with hyperthreaded processing (for 8 total/256 cores) rated up to 23,360 (total averaged) CineBench R15 http://www.maxon.net/downloads/cinebench/ of render power (each render node 730CB avg.)



The render farm supports Maxon Cinema 4D R17.053, R18.057, R19.024 and VRAY 1.9.0b, VRAY 3.4.01 (via VRAYforC4D) and Cycles 4D 1.0.0217 software. It consists of 32 quad core Intel i7 2600K processors overclocked to 4.4/4.6ghz, each render station is equipped with 16GB or 32GB of fast dual channel DDR3-1600 ram (for an efficient 4GB to 8GB memory for each processor core) and large cache fast SATA hard drives.

All run Windows 7 Professional SP1 64bit OS. Dedicated Quad-core Intel OSX, and Linux servers run the various processes on the render farm. Separate MacPro Quad 8-core acts as the "control" system and continuously monitors the farm for proper running programs and processes - reporting detailed feedback or any issues to me via multiple email accounts and text messaging 24 hours a day. All systems are running on Gigabit network with large SmartUPS 1500 Commercial grade battery back up systems on every CPU for optimum speed and stability.

Most importantly, these are not "borrowed" corporate, industrial or university computers that are being used by other businesses needs, secretary workstations or college computer lab stations being "hijacked" or used as needed to act as a render farm, with no security or ethical issues in their full time use as render clients.

What I've found in my latest upgrade research is that counting gigahertz or the number of cores are not the deciding factor anymore. A current 4 core i7 can be faster then a year or two old 8 core xeon - and if the farm is built on machines more then a couple years old make sure you know what you are paying for - do your research and compare using CineBench as an unbiased basis of performance.

You can't just count or compare cores anymore to see what is faster. I am amazed that the same 120 CPU in Core i7 is nearly 300% faster then 120 CPU in Q6600 - amazing performance in the same number of cores. and as always RenderKing is built 100% homogeneous - so no old and new crazy mix of processors, no slightly different processor calculations and performance between render clients - and no render surprises at the last minute.

RenderKing was the first flat rate priced render farm in 2002 - it literally changed the industry as nearly all render farms now offer flat rate pricing now - compared to the cost spiraling ghz hour time based calculations. With RenderKing you know what you are getting... I've never hid the numbers, always given the specs and the hardware used in the farm so you can make an educated decision on where you spend your render budget. No secret sauce, no confusing credits, no "special" pricing games and endless discount schemes to lure you you in with no clear final price that can blow your budget.

Be sure to compare CineBench render power of other farms when price shopping, some hide their CB numbers, or disguise lower CB with higher numbers of Nodes/CPU/Cores to make their prices seem a better performance value.



Multiple Day Subscriptions

25 Days - 48 CPU Cinema 4D -No VRAY -No Cycles 4D - (R17, R18, R19 - 64 bit) Access up to 48 cpu, up to 8,760 CineBench using C4D with 24/7 full user NET Server/Team Render Server control over projects and renders with finished render output to your private user folder using FTP, WEB FTP or Drop Box. $689. Great Value for lower horsepower renders, but still plenty of time to finish the project. only $27.56 per day.

5 Days - 128 CPU Cinema 4D +VRAY +CYCLES - (R17, R18, R19 - 64 bit) Access up to 128 cpu/256 Cores, up to 23,360 CineBench, using C4D and/or VRAY and/or Cycles 4D with 24/7 full user NET Server/Team Render Server control over projects and renders with finished render output to your private user folder using FTP, WEB FTP or Drop Box. $845. Good Value $169.00 per day.

10 Days - 128 CPU Cinema 4D +VRAY +CYCLES - (R17, R18, R19 - 64 bit) Access up to 128 cpu/256 Cores, up to 23,360 CineBench, using C4D and/or VRAY and/or Cycles 4D with 24/7 full user NET Server/Team Render Server control over projects and renders with finished render output to your private user folder using FTP, WEB FTP or Drop Box. $1189. Great Value $118.90 per day.

25 Days - 128 CPU Cinema 4D +VRAY +CYCLES - (R17, R18, R19 - 64 bit) Access up to 128 cpu/256 Cores, up to 23,360 CineBench, using C4D and/or VRAY and/or Cycles 4D with 24/7 full user NET Server/Team Render Server control over projects and renders with finished render output to your private user folder using FTP, WEB FTP or Drop Box. $1489. Best Value, $59.56 per day.


Per Frame Render Options
C4D Per Frame Animation - (R17, R18, R19 - 64 bit) render your desired frame amounts using C4D or VRAY or Cycles 4D with access up to 128 cpu, up to 23,360 CineBench. Administrator controlled render with finished render output to your private user folder using FTP, WEB FTP or Drop Box. 95 cents per frame - 200 frame minimum frame charge per each render project, no frame stacking from multiple separate renders. If average frame render time over 2 hours each - will bump up to multiples, so an 4 hour frame render time counts as two frames rendered.


Large Format / Single Frame Rendering
Large Format Render C4D - render using tiled camera in C4D and/or VRAY and/or Cycles 4D with access up to 128 cpu/256 cores, up to 23,360 CineBench for 1 scene render for up to 3 hours processing per tile/slice. If tile/slice render time over 3 hours will bump up to multiples, so an 5 hour tile/slice render time counts as two quantity (two x 3 hours) rendered and so on. Administrator controlled render with finished render output to your private user folder using FTP, WEB FTP or Drop Box. $99 each render

Large Format Render (C4D R17, R18, R19) - render using Team Render Distributed Render in C4D with access up to 128 CPU/256 cores 23,360 CineBench for 1 scene render with maximum 3 hours total processing per DR image. If frame render time over 3 hours will bump up to multiples, so an 3+ to 6, hour frame render time counts as two frames rendered and so on. Administrator controlled render with finished render output to your private user folder using FTP, WEB FTP or Drop Box. $50 each render


Additional Options
Subscription Upgrade C4D 48 to 128 CPU - this option allows you to upgrade your existing 25 day subscription from the 48 CPU/96 core, 8,769 Cinebench option to the 128 CPU/256 core, 23,360 Cinebench option. Great for those last minute rush renders that need extra render power. Existing subscription dates stay the same. $849

Custom Payment - this option allows an easy way to pay for a Special Request payment situation or other special arrangements if needed. Simply click this buy now button and it will allow you to enter the desired amount for payment.

There are up to 76,800 cpu render hours available per 25 day subscription (32 dedicated render farm computers X 4 cpu X 24 hours in a day X 25 day usage period).


3. When is RenderKing Available?

This is a completely dedicated professional render farm - available 24 hours a day 7 days a week. Like all render farms RK cannot always make guarantees about uptime or throughput performance at possible peak usage times which will vary based on number of subscribed users and jobs in queue to render.

Jobs are processed in a FIFO (first in first out) order, your deadlines or time frame of your project are ultimately your final responsibility. It is difficult to predict peak usage patterns and cannot make special favors for priority access. I do make sure that balance is kept between users and render jobs, so throughput is as efficient and fair as possible. Technical support will be offered for render problems that directly relate to the render farm only. You have 24 hour FTP access to upload, render and download your files and rendered frames as needed.

DropBox

If you would like to have your RK user folder assigned as a Drop Box Folder (users can still use the other WEB FTP, SFTP, or FTP methods of connection too) please send me your Drop Box user email so I can send you an invitation to connect to your RK user folder as a Drop Box.

A RK user folder acting as a Drop Box is very convenient for users as they can just drag a project folder to their RK drop box enabled user folder (then let it upload though Drop Box of course), then log into the RK NET Server web page to start their render and then the finished frames will just invisibly stream back to your side into your RK Drop Box folder. The rendered results will go into the Results folder, inside the project folder - it really integrates a user to the farm quite seamlessly.

It really seems to resolve the issue of a "huge" data pile that for many users is often is a long download at the end of a render. While Drop Box just streams your rendered frames back with no effort to your desktop as the job renders. It is much better then those farms/methods that use C4D itself to manage this process as that means you can't quit/restart your computer or the C4D app during any download, or freezes and crashes of C4D etc will affect/stop the data coming back. Also, if you decide your workstation is better used for processor intensive tasks, with Drop Box you can also set up the receiving Drop Box folder on a central file server or alternate computer location of your choice (can't do that with in app C4D download methods), and you can add other users to the Drop Box account so that all the people who need the data get it automatically - you decide and are in total control.

IMPORTANT: Be sure to think ahead if you are rendering large data intensive renders that you have enough Drop Box storage available! Once your data is copied to your local Drop Box you can easily move it to another location on your hard drive to free up room in your drop box for any other renders. (Note: this does remove it from your RK user folder too, as that is how Drop Box works)

WEB FTP, SFTP, FTP and all other existing RK data transfer methods will still exist, the addition of drop box will just be another option for those who choose it.


4. Why...?

Why don't you have an automated plugin integrated into C4D? The view with RK is to prefer a quality tool for each task. Do you use a screwdriver to hammer nails? C4D is used as a tool to create with - and RK's view is that nothing should interfere or negatively affect that use of that tool's performance. I have 20+ years experience in small and large groups of artists and productions - at the peak managing systems and workflow for 100+ artists and 9,000+ projects per year - there is a pipeline in professional projects for a reason - and a method to the madness - the best and proven workflow process is to take your current project and it's settings and do a SAVE PROJECT with ASSETS. This will save a complete copy including editing any texture paths to local references for proper rendering. As a user you should save this scene file or project folder with an identifying name/number to keep track of the shot or project - this gives you a static backup copy and a date/time stamp of the current state of the scene/project and all settings intact - also great for job tracking, backup and archiving - most pro level productions require this for projects and last minute changes or re-renders.

From there it is a simple task to drag that project folder into your Drop Box folder or FTP window and let it upload to your private user directory on the farm - this works as a complete separate process and does not encumber or slow down your C4D app or affect your working progress on other projects - when uploaded you go to the TRS Server web page and click Start. Simple. Too many people seem to want to make it is an overly complicated process, as mentioned - a simple, smooth and efficient pipeline and it's benefits to projects is a proven successful process with many important reasons for the user maintaining final control over the process.

Send a render off to process, move onto your next scene to work on, go to grab something to eat, or go home to catch some sleep before another busy day tomorrow - check the progress from any common smartphone or laptop etc. Start, stop, reorder jobs etc., a simple web browser available on literally any platform or smart phone can keep you on top of your render progress wherever you are.

Another example is, you are working on a project and decide you are ready to render, you use your "automated farm plugin" to send the job, go grab a coffee or a phone call but then not really thinking about it, you make a few more tweaks, (yes everyone does it) a few hours later you get your finished results - the render is good but did you save a copy of that project exactly as it was or did you twiddle the settings and now what is the current state compared to what was rendered? or the render is bad - but "what" were those bad settings and did you change them or not while tweaking? trust me - it does happen. It is a wrench waiting to be tossed into your production pipeline.

Why don't you download finished renders automatically into my C4D while I'm working? Does your C4D ever crash? get bogged down with heavy data sets? Ever need to quit and restart your C4D since it was not acting correctly? Need 100% of your workstation power for Photoshop or After Effects, etc? That is why. Also more importantly, RenderKing is used most often by individuals or small teams of users on larger projects - often one user will be sending projects to render and another (often at a different location) is the compositor or editor who is simultaneously downloading the render results while they complete for their part of the project - what good does is it if your files are coming back only to you? you then have the additional task to get the data to other users, with RK any specified users are able to access the projects and finished results at any time the user chooses. If you are a hobby user or always work alone and not in a team environment, then sure your data being available only directly to you may be suitable enough for your needs.

Another reason - ever accidentally delete a file? File suddenly corrupted? Alter or fiddle with some render settings but can't remember what you used for the final render? Save over an existing project with new settings? Doh! it can happen to the best usually during a rush or crazy deadline schedules... You have a copy of any projects in your user account on RK - just download a copy for your use again - The important thing is when "you" choose to download and delete the files is under your control.

Drop Box or FTP are industry standard tools you probably already use, are small in resource usage, able to be run on a separate or multiple computers if needed, they are stable, fast, work in the background and easily minimized or hidden and can download the results to your chosen location while the render is running for instant feedback and use of the results once the render has completed or whenever you choose.

This other farm says they have a "dedicated farm" so I don't have to wait or share the farm with other users? This answer is really a bit frustrating... The only way this can happen is if they have a complete identical full farm for each and every user or job they run. Some huge very expensive render farms can actually offer truly dedicated CPU's by allocating a portion of their render nodes to you, but don't fool yourself, you will pay for it, often at four times or higher the costs of RK (Somebody has to pay for all that hardware and electricty). Even with 1,000's of processors they can still be busy with someone else's massive render who has the need or ability to pay for it. Example - you need to render - you log on, or call up etc. - oops... they are running a job for some other user - completion is estimated at anything from hours to days? Now what? Are you now waiting or sharing the farm with another user? Yes, you sure are. The only farm that is always idle and ready for your project alone is the one that is either way too expensive that very few can afford to use it, or has failed so many times that nobody dares gamble with their projects running there.

Why don't you show all these big names or logos of people who use RK? Sorry, RenderKing is about getting your renders done. That's it. It's not about boasting or bragging about the farm. What does "X" using the farm accomplish for your project? I admit when RenderKing first began I did for a very brief time, put "glowing reviews" or comments up on the web site, I think this is a common way to try to express credibility. The first couple years there were some recognition or testimonies from users, but it did not take long to realize that I was seeing "glowing comments" and names on other render farm web sites that were using RK - so how credible is that, did they pay to use that farm or was it a freebie to get the "glowing review" or are they just a user that hops from spot to stop looking for the best deal and a little glowing compliments helped grease the wheels for their special price? I know that happens because i have users asking for special deals all the time - there are a lot of people who want's something for nothing. Ultimately, RK is not meant to be in the spotlight - it is a back end resource that is here to do it's best to complete your project to make you, the user look good.


5. How Does RenderKing Work?

Email me at setup@RenderKing.com indicating you would like to set up an account. Include your name, company name (if applicable), mailing address, desired LOGIN NAME and PASSWORD (minimum of 4 characters please) and what version of C4D you would like to use to render in the email. I cannot setup a new account without this information. To change your PASSWORD on a current account, just email me or indicate the change in your next PAYPAL payment email.

Once you have an account on RenderKing at any time you have the ability to upload or download your files. Simply upload your complete project folder with all your settings set as needed. Make sure to set relative pathnames for textures. All users should be sure to remove any files and rendered frames when completely finished with your job so as not to waste server space. Files left on the server are typically deleted 48 hours after the user subscription has expired.

HOW TO USE RENDERKING - the EASIEST farm to use out there

1. Open your scene file and set the render settings to your desired output, then SAVE PROJECT WITH ASSETS from Cinema 4D.

2. SAVE into or Drag that new project folder into your RK Drop Box folder.

3. Switch to your web browswer Team Render Server or NET Server web page and click START on your project - as the job renders the rendered frames are automatically copied back to your side using Drop Box ready to use.

That's as EASY as it can be.

4. OPTIONAL/RE-RENDERS ARE EASY TOO - To re-render just edit/re-save the project file, clear the old results and run the job again - or reuse the project folder with other scene files to save uploading any large textures again.


6. What Plug-ins Are Available On RenderKing?

Plug-ins for rendering will be added, updated and supported on an as-needed, and as-requested basis. Stability of the render farm machines for ALL users is first priority. For speed and to prevent any issues bake any plug-ins you can before rendering, this in many cases relieves the need for the plug-in to be on the render farm - many plug-ins may not function normally when distributed between multiple processors. Check your plug-in documentation for any concerns or compatibility with network rendering before you submit a job with a plug-in.

For Cinema 4D R17.053/R18.057/R19.024 64bit users the currently installed plug-ins are: VRAY 1.9.0b or VRAY 3.4.01 or (R19)Cycles 4D 1.0.0217



7. What If I Need Help Or Have A Question?

For render farm user account status, access or rendering issues, or any other RenderKing related questions email to help@RenderKing.com the response time will be as soon as possible.


8. Some Rules That Help RenderKing Run Efficiently

Please render a couple test frames on your own computer FIRST. Please make sure you have tried at least ONE frame on your own machine to make sure it actually WILL render and not crash the render clients with an out of memory error as well as so you know what to expect for render time. Make sure you check your save and texture path names, bake anything that needs it, and have included all your textures before you start.


Please be aware of your render settings - a few times lately there have been users with completely outrageous render times and settings. This grinds productivity to a halt and needlessly wastes render time and resources. Please do some testing and try to keep suitable render times for the projects needs and not just turn on every advanced render feature and checkbox "because you can" it often adds little to the scene and complicates things unnecessarily. Recently a project was submitted with 10+ hour render times per frame! with a little tweaking and skilled use of the settings these per frame times were brought down to 1 hour with no noticable difference in the image result. This is a professional farm geared for professional users - please understand that wasteful settings will be handled by administrator control so efficient projects can have fair access to render time. Thank you for your understanding and respect of the use of an open time farm like RenderKing.


IMPORTANT:  if using VRAY, default settings under VRAY- OPTIONS make sure the checkbox for LOW THREAD PRIORITY is left ON.

IMPORTANT: if using VRAY the farm is based on i7 QUAD processors with hyperthreading - so please change any settings to the proper number of passes (light cache etc) for RK this is best at 8.

Admin Info: Abuse of the FTP server (i.e. usage unrelated to RenderKing) or unreasonable or "overkill" high render settings may cause administrator intervention - jobs stopped, reordered in the render queue, up to, or including the immediate termination of your account - forfeiting any balance.

Admin Info: Why do my jobs sometimes change order or start for short times and then stop again? If at times there are multiple jobs waiting in the render queue, to keep balance and fair access of the render farm time the Administrator may need to bump a job up for a variety of reasons; to ensure the job will render properly (i.e. all textures are included, no memory errors etc) to get an estimate or average frame render time so projects can be time estimated and the job queue fairly balanced if needed. Under normal circumstances the job queue runs as FIFO - first in, first out - but some users will queue multiple render jobs at one time - this can create an unfair balance to other users having fair access to render time (e.g. if one user uploaded 10 really long renders at once - and at the bottom of the job queue there was your render project that could finish in just minutes rather then sitting the entire time behind the other 10 very long renders)

So occasional testing, or bumping of jobs may be necessary to help the Administrator create an accurate estimate of render time needs to balance the queue and overall user render time access. Adjustment of the render queue may also be done to allow the highest number of renders to finish in the fastest time (e.g. if there is one project estimated to take 20 hours to complete and 4 other projects behind it that all will take 30 minutes each to complete, it is more beneficial to reorder the queue for the fastest overall throughput as possible). The Administrator reserves the right to ensure the render farm is processing all projects - for all users - as balanced and efficiently as possible.


9. Discounts, Special Prices or Favors?

Unfortunately I do not offer weekly or daily anymore when requested… Most long time users know I really try to be accomodating and work with everyone... I really tried to do the special request thing for a few years to help people out - but it can easily become a source of abuse, constant administration headaches, and upset the balance of the subscription model... What then happens is too many start asking to just subscribe for a day or a week only - saying that is all they need etc... I understand the specific need but it devalues the subscription premise and client base of the RK... It's like of asking for a discounted price at an all you can eat buffet because you don't want the appetizer or the dessert which comes included with the meal.
Since the rates are already so low - it defeats the exteme savings purpose of the subscription model... (think how much a cell phone plan would be if you only wanted it for one week etc - it would essentially be the same cost since the infrastructure costs are still there) Even ONE small to average render at any of the time based render farms is usually the same or more expensive cost then a subscription at RK for a whole 25 days here... so even one render should easily justify the subscription costs.

10. Setup and Payment

Email me at setup@RenderKing.com indicating you would like to set up an account. Include your name, company name (if applicable), mailing address, desired LOGIN NAME and PASSWORD (minimum of 4 characters please) and what version of C4D you would like to use to render in the email. I cannot setup a new account without this information. To change your PASSWORD on a current account, just email me, or indicate the change in your next PAYPAL payment email.

RenderKing.com limits the total number of subscribers at any one time, this is to guarantee a high level of service and always enough available render time. Please email to inquire about the status of RenderKing user account availability or check the Sign Up page. Subscription fee must be paid in advance of your 25 day usage term.

The RenderKing Sign Up page lists the current user subscription status and expiration date. If all slots are filled you may choose to prepay to guarantee the next available spot - current users have first option to renew their existing subscription. If not resubscribed by the day of the expiration date posted the spot becomes available for a new user.

Payment is through PAYPAL merchant account where I have had a Certified Business Account for many years. The payment options are any major credit card, checks and direct bank account transfers. To avoid PayPay spending limits choose to pay with a standard credit card do not sign into the PayPal - instead choose the option "I do not have a paypal account" by the credit card icons. This will be a standard merchant account transaction just like any other credit card payment.


My PAYPAL account is my email address dann@darkskydigital.com

Refunds - Rates are calculated and based off the individual Per Day rate as show above in the listed available render options and also on the RK Sign Up page. Multi-Day and 25 Day Subscription rates are discounted rates calculated based off the bulk purchase of days within the Subscription period. A 100% Refund is available if a user has subscribed early, prior to their start date, or as long as they have not began their scheduled subscription period. All other refunds will be pro-rated and calculated using the Per-Day rate only, negating any discounted bulk rates - regardless of the user having utilized any render activity on the farm or not, due to days elapsed having been occupied by the user subscription.

TO PAY:

Go to the RenderKing Sign Up page here

Thank you and I appreciate your honesty and professional respect of this service.


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