The animation and VFX industry faces significant challenges, ranging from increasing render times and razor-thin budgets to hardware limitations of on-prem capacity. Dealing with these issues can be particularly daunting for smaller facilities lacking the financial and personnel resources to invest in expensive on-premises infrastructure.
AWS offers multiple solutions to help address these challenges, including scalable compute, storage, and batch processing services to help facilities address their rendering requirements in an efficient and cost-effective manner. Leveraging these services allows creative studios to meet demands while also reducing costs and accelerating time to market. Below are the most common AWS services used by the VFX industry and the recommended setup to deploy a virtual workstation in a hybrid cloud environment optimized for animation and VFX workflows.
AWS Services Used for Animation and VFX
Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (EC2)
Amazon EC2 forms the backbone of the AWS compute services and is widely used in the VFX industry for rendering and simulation. EC2 allows users to launch virtual machines (called instances) in the cloud and choose from a wide variety of instance types, each optimized for different workloads and use cases. Users can also configure and customize these instances as needed, such as by selecting the operating system and software to be installed, as well as the amount of storage and network capacity.
Amazon Simple Storage Service (S3)
Amazon S3 is an object storage service that is frequently used in animation and VFX for storage, archiving, and distribution. S3 stores data in a highly durable and scalable manner, ensuring data is always available when required.
AWS Batch is a service that makes it easy to run batch computing workloads on the AWS platform. This service is commonly used to automate batch-processing tasks such as rendering and simulation. With AWS Batch, animation and VFX studios can easily scale their workloads based on the needs of the project, without having to worry about managing infrastructure.
Amazon Nimble Studio
Nimble Studio is a cloud-based software platform built on top of AWS that provides an efficient solution for animation pipeline management. It allows animation studios to create a centralized hub for their projects where team members can collaborate on assets, manage the production workflow, and review the progress of the project. With Nimble Studio, facilities can streamline their workflow and improve the overall efficiency of their projects, while also accessing high-performance computing resources and securely storing and sharing assets.
Recommended Setup: Deploying AWS Studio in the Cloud with HP Anyware and Hammerspace
For studios looking to deploy and manage virtual workstations in a hybrid cloud environment for VFX workflows, TrackIt recommends implementing HP Anyware, a digital workspaces solution along with a data management solution like Hammerspace to synchronize storage.
HP Anyware, developed by Teradici and HP, enables organizations to deploy and manage virtual desktops and workstations in a hybrid cloud environment. The solution uses Cloud Access Software and PCoIP technology to provide a high-performance, secure, and reliable remote access experience. Integrating Hammerspace allows facilities to create and manage multi-cloud and hybrid storage volumes that are simultaneously accessible by multiple users within their cloud studio.
Readers interested in learning more about HP Anyware and Hammerspace can visit TrackIt’s HPA 2023 blog post which discusses a live demonstration of an AWS Studio in the Cloud conducted by TrackIt. The demonstration simulated a real-world post-production collaborative experience incorporating industry-relevant VFX and editing tools (Autodesk Flame, DaVinci Resolve 18, and Colorfront Transkoder) between end users located in two different geographic locations.
The scalability, flexibility, and cost-effectiveness of AWS enable studios to easily address their rendering requirements without the restrictions of limited on-prem capacity. In addition to helping studios meet rendering demands and reduce costs, hybrid cloud workstations implemented on AWS with solutions like HP Anyware and Hammerspace help to enhance the collaboration between artists in a globally distributed environment.
TrackIt is an Amazon Web Services Advanced Tier Services Partner specializing in cloud management, consulting, and software development solutions based in Marina del Rey, CA.
TrackIt specializes in Modern Software Development, DevOps, Infrastructure-As-Code, Serverless, CI/CD, and Containerization with specialized expertise in Media & Entertainment workflows, High-Performance Computing environments, and data storage.
In addition to providing cloud management, consulting, and modern software development services, TrackIt also provides an open-source AWS cost management tool that allows users to optimize their costs and resources on AWS.