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Jellyfish speeds up render times with Exponential-e

Jellyfish speeds up render times with Exponential-e
David Wood
11 March 2015

Vfx studio Jellyfish has become the first vfx firm in Europe to use the cloud for near real-time rendering.

The company is using Exponential-e’s high-speed network to virtualise graphic processing in the cloud, enabling artists and animators to render scenes up to 80 times faster through its protected virtual infrastructure.

Jellyfish is now able to produce frames within seconds and make direct changes to shots or sequences on the fly.

When Jellyfish Pictures tested Exponential-e’s cloud rendering technology on a number of high profile projects it found it cut the time it took to render a single frame from 45 minutes to just 34 seconds.

The system has accreditations for privacy and security including the  Cloud Security Alliance's STAR rating.

Jellyfish Pictures CTO Jeremy Smith said: “The production time saved by this technology has fundamentally changed the way we work.”

“Rendering can take weeks to complete, especially if the shot has had to go through a number of iterations. This new way of rendering via the cloud means we can cut rendering processes down to near real-time completion.”

“We now have the flexibility to scale our resources on demand, no longer making investments in hardware that we might not use.”

“In addition, since we have significantly reduced the turnaround time needed for shots and sequences, this means that we are able to make quicker production changes asked for by the director.”

“We can now focus on strengthening the relationship between our artists and the studios commissioning the projects.”

Exponential-e’s Cloud rendering solution uses Graphic Processing Unit compliant engines including Vray RT, iRay, 3ds Max and Maya.

By virtualising the GPU in a system that contains thousands of processing units and significantly larger bandwidth, it bypasses maximum limitation of eight cores offered by traditional Central Processing Units (CPUs).

Exponential-e CEO Lee Wade said: “One of the vfx industry’s most pressing challenges is the amount of time needed to render frames.”

“Generally rendering can take several hours, sometimes days – even when making the smallest changes to footage.”

Jellyfish has two locations, a vfx studio in Margaret Street in central London and an animation studio in Brixton, south London.

The company's rendering requirements have increased since setting up of the animation studio in Brixton, where it is currently working on The Foundation/NeVision’s Floogals for Sprout NBC, a 52 x 11 minute series which mixes CGI and live action.

There’s also an Amazon preschool pilot Buddy: Tech Detective – also with The Foundation.
Jellyfish CEO Phil Dobree says there has been a significant resurgence of UK animation thanks to the government’s tax breaks for animation scheme.

At Jellyfish’s Brixton animation studio there are 35 staff including 12 Maya trained staff animators.

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