Siggraph 2016 post-show thoughts

Posted on August 2, 2016 in Blog \ News

Now that we’ve had a brief moment to catch our breath after the Siggraph show last week, I thought it would be good to share some observations.  Before I do that, though, I wanted to say how happy we were to meet several of our customers in person.  Many of you stopped by and had great discussions.  All the feedback we received from our customers at the show was positive.  That is both amazing and humbling.  We hope we can continue to be relevant, capable, and cost effective as time marches on.  I can say that we absolutely want to be all of those things, so stay tuned.

The most overwhelming observation we had while at the show is that the need for massive, purpose-built computing platforms is only getting larger.  We even had people asking us to open up our infrastructure to non-animation applications due to their capacity needs.  We spoke to several people involved in a wide variety of higher education institutions, and all of them told us stories of woe when discussing their internal render farms.  Even the major studio techs and reps that stopped by were looking for more compute power.  There is no shortage of need, but there is a profound shortage of service providers that can effectively and adequately meet that need.  Sure, the Google/Microsoft juggernauts were there, touting their general purpose computing platforms as the best way to build a large scale render farm.  Those with perception and/or experience in dealing with them, though, know they aren’t the best platform for that task.

Observation two was that there is turmoil in the land of software development.  Companies are being bought and sold, products are being consumed or spawned, and there is an amazing amount of churn in the marketing quest to continually release new products.  This seems to have many software developers on edge.  A few of them are looking to partner with render farm services like ours, as they know that having a quality referral for rendering services can only strengthen their customer loyalty.  We hope to build our partner network as a result of the conversations we had with those developers.  Software and services are increasingly linked, and customers are looking for solutions that extend beyond what a traditional software developer can deliver.

The last observation is somewhat of a somber one.  It is quite clear that many, many people, from every corner of the industry, have tried multiple render farm services over the years…and come away unimpressed, dissatisfied, or just plain flustered.  If you’ve watched this funny little sub-niche of the animation industry, you’d know that many services have sprung up and died in just the past few years.  Longevity, it seems, does not directly fit the render farm service industry.  While we are somewhat new, being only about four and a half years old, we’ve already outlasted several of our competitors.  Changing services and re-learning new ways of doing things can be disruptive to workflow.  We hope to continue our business strategy and move forward with consistent dedication to meeting our customers needs.  We’re not looking to end up in the render farm service cemetery.

As you can imagine, with the raft of new software versions announced and/or launched at Siggraph, we have already begun assimilating them into our farm.  New supported products will be announced, of course, as we develop them.  This last month of summer will certainly keep us busy!

We’re already looking forward to Siggraph 2017, having signed up for a booth already.  Even better, our partners at Planetside Software will be sharing space with us promoting the latest of the Terragen product line.  It’s going to be a fun time, so we hope to see you there!

-Render Endlessly

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