Liquid was founded in 1993 as a creative agency of excellence in London. Since then, it has grown into a flourishing studio that specialises in CGI and effects delivering iconic title sequences, branding, commercials, digital , sports and factual content.
The team have worked on projects for clients such as the BBC, ITV, Channel 4, Mediacom, Sony, National Geographic and more. We talked with their Head of Animation, Gabriel Edwards, to discover why they use YellowDog.
As Head of Animation at Liquid, it is Gabriel’s responsibility to not only ensure that he is happy with the high standards of the studio’s work, but that his clients are too.
“Our clients such as UEFA expect absolute top quality,” confirms Gabriel, “and although render algorithms improve over time and get more efficient, they also get more complex.”
After depending for years on their own internal farm, the business requirements made it cost ineffective, and Liquid began cloud rendering about four years ago.
Initially Gabriel didn’t want to commit everything in the business towards cloud render – something that we know many in the VFX and animation industry are wary of. After meeting one of the YellowDog team at an event, Gabriel decided to diversify and try out YellowDog.
After some early tests Gabriel was impressed by the process.
“YellowDog is now the easiest cloud renderer to use; other cloud services require you to zip up and upload files to a server, whereas it’s just one click with YellowDog.”
When working for Discovery, Sky, or Netflix, the last thing that Gabriel ever wants to worry about is his rendering – and since moving to the cloud with YellowDog, that simply isn’t a problem.
“I think the thing that surprised me most about YellowDog was the ease of use,” Gabriel explains. “Files don’t need to be in specific folders for it to work, we can carry on animating or compositing and not worry about the render process, and the finished files will back on my machine in an hour or two without any further interaction from the user.”
Of course, it’s not all about the practicalities. Like any true artist, Gabriel has a soft spot for the beautiful user experience: “The lovely graphic design of the YellowDog Platform really shows up some of the competition!”
We’ve spoken before with Scott and Chris from VFX studio nineteentwenty about those ‘on fire’ moments when everything seems to be going wrong right at the worst time – and Gabriel can sympathise.
“YellowDog is a great get-out-of-jail card for when you come in in the morning and your render has either crashed or not got through as much as frame time calculation might have suggested. It allows us to accommodate client changes quickly and to stop bottle necks into the composite.”
When your reputation is only as good as your last delivery, being able to work “On time, on brand, and on budget” is vital: “These are Liquid’s core values, and YellowDog makes this possible.”
Here at YellowDog, we want to welcome people into the pack rather than make artists feel like ‘clients’ – something we have evidently got right with Gabriel and the Liquid team.
“One of the big differences of YellowDog to other cloud rendering services is the absolutely excellent customer service,” Gabriel confirms. “If I need something doing quickly there is always someone at the end of the phone or email that can help sort things out.”
Our dedication to not just getting the rendering done but getting it done right also means that sometimes, an extra helping paw is needed. “The other day someone from YellowDog emailed me to say there was an intersection between 2 objects at a certain frame in an animation currently rendering on the cloud,” said Gabriel.
“This was an animation mistake, and is way above the service you’d expect to get from a render farm – but it shows how closely thing are monitored. It gives you a great deal of confidence you are going to get your job out on time and reduces the amount of stress in what can sometimes be a stressful business.”
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