Los Angeles, CA -- With two animated features in production, and a commercial due every month, Qvisten Animation AS is the epitome of a hardworking animation studio. But like most creative organizations, they can only be as good as the tools they have around them. For years their render farm was more burden than boon; more likely to crash than provide them with the customization tools they required. During their search for something more stable, the team came across PipelineFX’s Qube! – a production-proven render farm manager that satisfied their need for consistency. It has never let them down.
Qvisten’s hurdles were apparent to PipelineFX support staff the minute they showed them that first demo: workers were disabling themselves, the system was crashing several times a week, prioritization tasking was laborious and there was no easy way to customize the render manager. Qube!’s advanced feature set was designed to target these problems, often times without any direct customization, making it a prime out-of-the-box solution for studios of all sizes.
“When you produce around 3,000 shots a year with a 50-node render farm, having to manually supervise your files is too much to bear,” said Fredrik Fottland, producer at Qvisten Animation AS. “By customizing the submitter to differentiate job priority based on file content, file location and pipeline step, Qube! can filter our content out to the available workers without additional input or downtime. Once the job is submitted to the farm, our artists can step away and start working on the next shot, knowing Qube! will get the job done.”
Qube! also had to seamlessly work with several versions of the Arnold renderer. Qvisten had several custom versions that they used for different productions, all with different licensing agreements, posing possible challenges in terms of legal use and job submissions. Since Qube! can distribute jobs based on available licenses, Qvisten was able to always stay in compliance with their negotiated agreement with Solid Angle (Arnold’s creator). And through their collaboration with PipelineFX’s technical support team, Qvisten wrote a submission-based GUI with Python scripts in Maya that could efficiently communicate with the render engine. This eliminated the possibility of detection errors and allowed Qvisten to focus on the qualitative aspects of the 1,000 frames they usually have to output through Arnold each day.
The decision to redesign their pipeline around Qube! has made reliable support service a key foundational element. From the start, Qvisten pipeline leads, Raymond Kreppene (render supervisor) and Jo Jurgens (technical supervisor) have seen PipelineFX’s team care as much about creating an efficient pipeline as they have, whether that is helping them manage simple jobs like playblasts from Maya or Nuke renders, or facilitating a smooth process for the more complex Arnold tasks that require a string of 3-5 dependent jobs.
“Qube! gives you more control than competing products,” added Jurgens. “We got that, plus something that remains stable through the days, nights and weekends. It’s by far the most reliable render manager we’ve ever worked with.”
Qvisten has just finished production on Ploddy The Police Car on the Case; a 3D animated feature about a police car; and is in the final stages of production on their 10th feature film Solan and Ludvig's Christmas; a stop-motion story about two friends that are determined to stop a snow storm from ruining Christmas.