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Streamlined cloud-based rendering on AWS

Amazon unveiled a new service last Tuesday, named Deadline Cloud, aimed at facilitating the setup, deployment, and scaling of graphics and visual effects rendering pipelines through AWS cloud infrastructure.

Antony Passemard, AWS GM of creative tools, highlighted that Deadline Cloud is designed not just for the media and entertainment sectors, but also for architecture and engineering. It leverages AWS’s compute power to render content for a variety of applications, including TV shows, movies, advertisements, video games, and digital blueprints.

AWS’s introduction of Deadline Cloud signifies the company’s anticipation of a growing need for advanced tools to manage cloud-based rendering processes effectively within media, entertainment, and other industries. Passemard noted, “We’re at a tipping point in the industry where demand for rendering quality VFX and the amount of content created using generative AI are outpacing customers’ [compute] capacity.” He further elaborated that AWS Deadline Cloud is engineered to satisfy any rendering needs by offering a scalable render farm that requires minimal management of the underlying infrastructure.

The service simplifies the initial setup for customers through a startup wizard, which assists in creating a render farm by estimating the project’s size and duration to determine the necessary instance type and configuration settings. Deadline Cloud efficiently manages Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud instances alongside the network and compute infrastructure, and it can also integrate with on-premises compute to support rendering tasks.

Further enhancing user experience, Deadline Cloud features a dashboard for log analysis, rendering job previews, and cost management. It allows for the integration of third-party software licenses or the use of usage-based licensing with popular rendering tools and engines.

Passemard stressed the benefits for creative teams, stating, “[With Deadline Cloud,] creative teams can embrace the velocity of content pipelines and respond quickly to opportunities to accept more projects while meeting tight deadlines and delivering high-quality content.” Deadline Cloud is accessible across multiple AWS server regions, including U.S. East (Ohio, North Virginia), U.S. West (Oregon), Asia Pacific (Singapore, Sydney, Tokyo), and Europe (Frankfurt, Ireland).

The landscape of cloud-based rendering has been evolving, with significant developments such as Google’s acquisition of Zync in 2015, which subsequently led to the introduction of Google Cloud–powered visual effects tools in collaboration with Sony Pictures Imageworks. Other platforms like Arch, Chaos Cloud, and Conductor have been offering on-demand cloud-based VFX infrastructure for some time. The shift towards cloud rendering has been accelerated by the COVID-19 pandemic, driven by the increased costs of hardware maintenance and the space requirements for it, amidst a backdrop of reduced work due to health-related production shutdowns and remote work mandates. This shift is further propelled by the burgeoning demand for rendering hardware spurred by the advent of generative AI, ushering in a new era of cloud-based, GPU-accelerated service providers.

Read the press release for yourself on Amazon.

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