Recently DC-Activ changed the direction of their business and now engage with clients through virtual reality – basically they design and 3D model real 3D environments, immersing their clients within them using virtual reality goggles, amongst other cool tech gadgets.

This is now their core business but they still work on the bread and butter marketing side; lots of POS and retail design. And this is where YellowDog comes in.

The importance of high quality, reliable rendering

Martyn explained that the way the company is now set up, it is of less reliance for rendering in their business but when they get really dynamic clients that need rendering or animations done in a very short space of time, they don’t have that in-house capability. As it’s important they’re able to maintain their client’s expectations and get things done as quickly as possible, they do need to have a good level of hardware within company, but sometimes they need that extra bit of help.

“I was looking for render farms online and found YellowDog. I saw that they were Bristol based and we’re only in Bath so it made sense from a proximity point of view. I picked them because they have the integration within the primary software we use; we use 3D studio max and V-Ray. And also due to their ease of use with plug –ins and user friendly tutorial videos.”

The biggest selling point  

For Martyn, he didn’t want a big render farm based in Europe that, to him, is very faceless and corporate. YellowDog seemed much more personal and immediately gave DC-Activ support over the phone before doing any work. His biggest fear with a render farm was that costs can get out of hand quite quickly so one of YellowDog’s big selling points was that the cost was agreed before and this was the price you paid. A big selling point to have no hidden costs.

YellowDog offered great response rates, with quick turnarounds and they resolved problems straight away. They even offered support at the weekends and late at night, showing they are a really reliable company.

“I can call Jack and explain what I need within a certain budget. We’re transparent about this and they are honest as to whether it can or can’t work and then give options or solutions. “

What the future holds for the rendering industry

Talking about how rendering has changed over time, Martyn has always used V-Ray – a piece of software that calculates lighting and the materials you’re using on your 3D objects and physically produces the energy for you. Using this piece of software for the last 13 years within the industry, he’s seen year-on-year new releases and improvements. One of the main things brought out in the last couple of years is the incredible increase in speed –  images come out so much quicker than even needed and almost using less hardware too – a major benefit to our industry.

When asked where he sees the rendering industry going in the future, Martyn said he can see two sides…

“As we as a company are moving into virtual reality, which actually uses game technology, so we’re seeing the traditional pre-rendered V-Ray approach being replaced by a real time rendered on the fly approach. The game engine is then physically rendering the image as you’re moving around in 3D space! It’s not a pre-rendered animation that takes months to render out; you’re in the film moving around as its rendering.

That is all through the graphics cards GPU, it’s driving the power because they’re getting better and better, and cheaper and cheaper. I can really see the swing towards that.

I think that traditional rendering software, although there is always a place for it, will switch more to the GPU side. A lot of farms already adopt that but the way in which you have to set up the 3D is different to when you’re using GPU
compared to CPU. On a technical level, that’s where I see it going.”

Running on…
Lastly, we asked Martyn what he runs on to get through to deadline… He explained the team have an obscene amount of music on in the DC-Activ office. That, and the obvious choice of coffee for the really long nights as well as lots of chocolate from the tuck shop. “We’re definitely more diet based here!”