LOS ANGELES — As the world’s appetite for content grows more and more insatiable, creative firms like London’s Aquint/Opera are finding their logistical edge in the most logical of places: pipeline management. With the help of PipelineFX’s renderfarm management software Qube!, Squint/Opera has recently rewired their pipeline to put speed, performance and task order first – a move that has transformed an under-utilized system into a venerable powerhouse of its own.
This move to Qube! began after a company-modified version of Backburner couldn’t exceed the bar the studio sets for the litany of film, image, branding, interactive and architectural communications projects it works on. Qube!’s ability to automatically manage V-Ray's distributed rendering service actually lured the company away from other options as it fulfilled Squint/Opera’s need to keep their machines constantly working on customized tasks, like rendering film sequences and stills side by side, even when they required varying degrees of automatic and sometimes non-complimentary adjustments.
“We don’t always use 3ds Max, Nuke or V-Ray in the standard ways,” said Ryan Lintott, Director of Technology at Squint/Opera. “PipelineFX’s support staff has been there throughout it all making sure that our desire for customization easily maps to an efficient render pipeline.”
And that pipeline works hard, as it’s asked to create everything from detailed graphic animations used to entice V&A patrons to explore the role of Hollywood costume design to large-format 3D visualizations that helped the architects behind London’s Olympics stadium get the critical feedback they needed to get their design approved and built. Qube!, being highly compatible with all major forms of design software, became something of a hall monitor for these projects – actively directing and enhancing the speed at which a project gets from point one to done. “We use it on every project in the office,” added Lintott. “It keeps people away from rendering locally and wasting valuable time that could be used working on the next phase of a project.”
Efficiency was especially important on the London Olympic stadium project where comprehensive visual assets had to be delivered according to a timeline that didn’t include construction extensions. Working in conjunction with Populous architects, Squint/Opera’s visualizations became the testbed for creative concepts targeting design details such as the stadium wrap and the seat pattern those thousands of fans hoped would be comfortable.
Qube! went for the gold by rendering mega stills quickly through the power of distributed rendering. Slow to render on a single machine, assets like the seat patterns could be set up and sorted out amongst the firm’s available machines automatically by Qube!, increasing the rate at which Squint/Opera could assess and prioritize next steps. Once completed, this collection of materials was used by the architects to give the internal Olympic team images they could relate to and sign off on.
As profits are highly linked to rendering efficiency, Squint/Opera’s decision to employ a tool like Qube! adds up pretty quickly. “It’s easy to see the before and after with a product like Qube!,” says Lintott. “Our projects can be complex, so when you see new versions getting handed in faster and big declines in farm errors, you know something is working. That’s what we were looking for and that’s what we found.”