134 Posts

I did an intense test of a nice and free distributed rendering service for BLENDER called 'Sheep It!'

I recommend that everyone of us might use it and keep your PCs online for collecting Render Credits and rendering your animations of course.
It's pretty simple. You even don't need to have installed BLENDER. Just download the client and start it (check the instuctions).

Your animation will be split on available computers of other Sheep It! members. So called 'render clients'.

You save your BLENDER scene with relative paths for textures as a packed file and upload it via your account. Then it will be queued and you have to wait. In the beginning it starts slow but more and more clients of othe users will start to render frames. An animation what would usually take a couple of days on your computer will be rendered in a couple of hours. When the rendering is finished you will be informed by e-mail and you can download a ZIP.

500mb per BLENDER pack. And you have to take care that your pictures will not render much longer than 20 minutes on a quad core machine. If so you can select a tiling option what will split the pictures into 4 tiles but you will receive a single picture. I ran into this situation. It's not hard to do LEGO animations rendering an hour per frame in HD. So lower the picture size to 1290 x 720 (720p) or try the tiling option. The problem is that Sheep It! will block you for the community for this renderjob if it realizes that most of your pictures render too long. You can finish that job with your client(s) of course but that's not the idea.

it needs some testing to get a feeling how far you can go but it's a great opportunity to get massive extra renderpower you usually can't afford.

Fortunately I am a 3d pinoneer from end of the 80th. Unfortunately I am running an animation studio what pushs me away from the fun stuff. Fortunately I am back to some fun stuff because of digital LEGO but I feel rusty. Unfortunately I am not familiar with BLENDER and when I look back 30 years of dealing with many applications without reading the fucking manual I never experienced a piece of software hard and drustrating to understand like BLENDER. The GUI is annoying. But it's free and the potential is amazing. My bittervet tears are tasty. I know. I could import a BLENDER scene into MODO to create a fast and simple camera animation over 800 frames for a nice test. The Z-up crap of BLENDER gave me a headache and I did not find a clean workflow yet to import animation data correctly into BLENDER. The following example to show the power and possibilies with Sheep It! was unfortunately broken at the end of the animation. There's an issue with the plotted camera animation. I had to cut the movie at frame 710. But for a first dirty test it's amazing because:

Cumulated time of render: 6d08h18m
Real duration of render: 6h22m


Notice: this was rendered in 720p @ Medium quality. You will recognize bad grain especially at the white windows.
14 Mar 2016, 13:34
Edited 14 Mar 2016, 13:42
317 Posts
Thanks for this interesting report. Do you actually use any render farm service for your professional business in order to save time or free up computing capacities within your studio? If so, which services do you use? Do you use network rendering with modo?

Yes, Blender is a hard nut to crack. It starts getting fun once you've learned the 50 most important keystrokes...
17 Mar 2016, 20:37
134 Posts
I tested now two concepts:

sheep it!

Burp runs via BOINC. This is a service where you can run many projects like SETI. It's neat but the problem is that an admin has to care about starting your submitted job. If you are not under time pressure you just add it and wait. I had rendered one test what would take here 4 days on my Alienware 17 and it was finished in nearly 2 days. Actually I am rendering a HD scene with better sampling. This runs well. File restriction is 400 MB.

Here's the result:

Now I realize that everyone can download my RAW files. I have to check next time. I think there's a setting for it.

Sheep it! has server issues at the moment but this seems to be the better concept. You submit the job and everything will run automatically.

But both concepts are not made for commercial business. You would use a renderfarm when you have a tight deadline. Then you need a reliable and fast service. This can't be done by a free concept. If the farm is down you are f*cked.
17 Mar 2016, 22:53
Edited 17 Mar 2016, 22:58
70 Posts
Wow, this is a quite interesting website... I think I'll try it in the future. Thank you for sharing it with us!
5 Nov 2016, 08:22
70 Posts
I uploaded a project yesterday on Sheep It Render Farm and I like the idea behind this site.

What do you think, should we make a Team on Sheep It, and add Mecabricks users to it, so we could help each other in LEGO rendering?
1 Jan 2017, 18:13
3242 Posts
Why not
I managed to make it work on my mac.
1 Jan 2017, 19:57
70 Posts
Okay, I made a team called Mecabricks rendering squad!
Please join everyone!
2 Jan 2017, 16:46
Edited 2 Jan 2017, 17:53
272 Posts
Nice idea to create a team! Joined!
5 Jan 2017, 18:23
557 Posts
We are slowly climbing on the team list, currently rank 26th. Glad to see that @renderbricks climbed to second place on "Top renderers for a month"! Without him we would be far down on the team rank...
3 Jan 2018, 14:07
70 Posts
I rendered last week with 3 PCs at one time and collected a few thousand points
I'm glad Renderbricks shared this great site with us!
3 Jan 2018, 17:41
557 Posts
That's great @KovJonas! I have almost reached one week with one of my computers now.
3 Jan 2018, 18:05
134 Posts
3 Jan 2018, 19:38
700 Posts
Congrats Renderbricks!

Our team is now in 23rd!
21 Mar 2018, 20:43
134 Posts
Yes. Actually 22 computers are running SheepIt
22 Mar 2018, 00:15
Edited 22 Mar 2018, 00:15
700 Posts
You crazy nut, where do you put 22 computers?!
22 Mar 2018, 15:48
Edited 22 Mar 2018, 15:52
134 Posts
Team is now 22nd! The 22 computers are from my university where I am codean and a professor for animation/vfx.
22 Mar 2018, 20:31
700 Posts
Ah, that makes sense... I thought you might have been using the ones from your work.

Q: Where do you put 22 computers?
A: A university of course!
23 Mar 2018, 15:31
134 Posts
Well, at my studio I can add 5 more. Let's do it ...
23 Mar 2018, 18:23
233 Posts
21st now.
Also, thanks a lot @Rendebricks who generated about 90% of the actual team points.
26 Mar 2018, 12:05
134 Posts
All connected machines will render the next two weeks non-stop. If nothing breaks we might hit the 14th rank temporarily. After that my students will take control again.
26 Mar 2018, 13:22
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