Blue Zoo // How to Maintain Quality at Crunch Time with YellowDog

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Blue Zoo is one of the UK’s leading animation studios - with a few BAFTAs to prove it.
Having helped to render a Christmas Short Film, Blue Zoo explain why YellowDog has worked so well for their Redshift pipeline.
3D Rendering For the Best Studios in the Business
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Blue Zoo is an award winning CGI animation studio based in London, set up by friends Tom Box, Adam Shaw and Oli Hyatt.

They have created a successful studio making TV series’, commercials and short films focused on character animation,
producing for the likes of the BBC, Nickelodeon, BBC Sport, Disney, Lego, and more.


Modelling Software Maya
Render Engine Redshift
Cloud Rendering YellowDog
Studio Blue Zoo

Reputations are hard to build, but easy to destroy

Tom first met YellowDog’s Founder and CEO, Gareth Williams, at an industry event and was blown away with his ‘can do’ attitude: “I was very impressed with him trying to fit and accommodate our needs, rather than us needing to fit into a standard package service. The team will do everything they can to ‘get you’ and fully understand your requirements. It’s this personalisation and care that really sets YellowDog apart.”

Rendering is of vital significance for Blue Zoo. As Tom explains, “Ultimately it’s what people see; otherwise animation without rendering is just data. Rendering changes the data; without it you have nothing. It’s the culmination of all your hard work and it really can make or break a project when it comes to crunch time.”

Tom continued, “It can kill your reputation if you don’t deliver the right quality and to deadline, as it leaves you only as good as your last project. Encountering rendering problems or not enough power can mean you don’t deliver, and this could be the end of your business.

Customer service second to none

So what about YellowDog’s rendering? For Blue Zoo, YellowDog provides a fantastic rendering service when they’re in a tight spot and need rendering done quickly: “The team do everything they can to resolve our needs. And they’re surprisingly cost efficient for cloud-based rendering, especially when other options are priced out of budget. Rendering in the cloud worked for us first time.”

This proved to be the case on Blue Zoo’s Short: ‘No More Stuff’.

Tom explained, “You never know how much rendering you’ll need; you can only really guesstimate. This is less of a risk for a large studio if it takes longer, however for a small business the price of rendering can cost a lot of money so it’s important to have cost efficiencies to make the business more sustainable and manages risk.”

Learn more about YellowDog's Redshift Debut

Low cost and high connectivity allow cloud rendering to be possible

Over the 16 years that Tom has been in the industry, rendering has changed a lot, especially when it comes to cloud rendering: “A few years ago it wouldn’t have been a consideration when you compare the costs to doing it in-house. Then the internet speed rocketed, costs dropped dramatically, and it allowed us to render at an affordable price.

YellowDog were one of the first cloud rendering solutions to have production ready GPU rendering. So we switched to GPU and this massively increased the quality as well as being even quicker. It was a great relief to have this extra capacity as it can be stressful expanding to render farms virtually when you win a big project or have multiple constant render capacity problems.”

For Blue Zoo, the future of the industry looks bright. Quality is set to increase, with more of a focus on being creative rather than deadline optimisation. This will allow more experimentation and beautiful work because rendering times are decreasing.

YellowDog has your back

Finally, we asked Tom why YellowDog is his best friend when it comes to rendering: “Trustworthiness. I know they are there for me and team, always on hand to help get things working and they’re around when it comes to crunch time. It’s really nice knowing they’ve got our back.”

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