Taiwan¡¦s First ¡§Render Farm¡¨ Enhances the Soft Power of Domestic Cloud Services in Animation
For Taiwanese who dream of being able to create 3D animations like “Avatar,” but who don’t have the funds or technology to help make their dreams come true, the National Applied Research Laboratories (NARL) built Taiwan’s first “Render Farm,” thus, providing a whole new platform for domestic creative works! Users are able to directly access cloud services of the NARL-built Render Farm over the Internet. These services allow users to simulate vivid 3D figures, special effects, as well as entire scenes much easier than ever before! A number of animations such as “Ripples of Desire,” produced by the 3rd Vision Films, “Cats from the Planet Tai Chi,” produced by StarQ and Kent Animation Digital Independent Production, Inc., and “Hatching,” selected for presentation at SIGGRAPH 2012 and produced by White Rabbit Entertainment Inc., all utilized the NARL’s Render Farm services to produce their animated films. The animation “Hatching” is currently preparing for presentation on the international stage and will showcase Taiwan’s soft power in creative animation.
Render Farm is a 3D animation rendering platform established by the NARL. It was developed using the NARL's self-built Formosa cluster supercomputers, which are characterized by their massive storage capability, high speed broadband transmission capability, and scientific simulation technologies integration. In order to create a realistic and detailed animation, normally hundreds of thousands or even millions of polygons are needed to form a model. After the model is formed, animators paste pictures on the surface of the model and render figures using high performance supercomputers. The 3D animation “Shrek,” for example, was created using over five million polygons. The computing resources required for producing a single animated movie often top out at several hundreds of PCs. Also, technology barriers and the need for capital investment often discourage individual domestic animation movie producers from making their movies.
In order to help domestic 3D animators take the first step towards realizing their dreams of producing their own movies, the NARL built the Render Farm which provides cloud services that allow users to access its supercomputers over the Internet. The Render Farm allows users to create vivid character facial expressions, tranquil ocean waves, extreme explosions, exquisite scenery, and more! Animators no longer need to set up their own rendering workstation or wait long, long periods of time for their rendering results. In the case of “Hatching,” a three minute animation was produced that would cost a typical studio NT $6 million (USD $200,000.00) in hardware and a month's worth of rendering. But using the NARL’s Render Farm, not only were the costs greatly reduced, but it only took about one week to render the same images.
It takes the combined efforts of artists and engineers to strengthen the soft power of the domestic animation movie industry and further build Taiwan’s own dream factory. We hope that Render Farm will encourage growth in Taiwan's domestic culture as well as in the creative industry workers themselves. Also it is our hope that Render Farm will help to produce more imaginative scripts, and attract engineering, physics, and information talent to develop key technologies for 3D animation production, as well as to bring Taiwan’s movie industry to new heights!