January 28, 2021 Rosie Dinh

Powerful, High-speed cloud render farm for Houdini with Redshift render

As we all know, Houdini is a 3D animation software application developed by SideFX. Houdini is most commonly used in FX departments for the creation of visual effects in film and game. It is used by major VFX companies such as Walt Disney Animation Studios, Pixar, DreamWorks Animation, Double Negative, ILM, MPC, Framestore, and others. Houdini has been used in various feature animation productions, including Disney’s feature films Fantasia 2000, Frozen and Zootopia; the Blue Sky Studios film Rio, DNA Productions’ Ant Bully as well.

And Redshift is a powerful GPU-accelerated renderer, built to meet the specific demands of contemporary high-end production rendering. In other words, Redshift is tailored to support creative individuals and studios of every size. In fact, Redshift offers a suite of powerful features and integrates with industry-standard CG applications. And Redshift has added Houdini to its growing list of digital content creation (DCC) tools which support its rendering engine. Over the past few years, more and more Houdini designers are using Redshift for rendering and dramatically speeding up their render times thanks to this renderer.

In this article today, we are going to explore a powerful cloud render farm for Houdini with Redshift. Let’s get started!

Houdini Integration with Redshift

Houdini artists can now utilize Redshift as its rendering backbone by integrating the Redshift plugin. The key features that get supported include:

  • Hair and Fur–Support of the Houdini curve primitives, that are extracted as RS hair objects.
  • Houdini Primitives— Automatic and configurable tessellation of the Houdini primitive surfaces (primitives, nurbs, etc.).
  • Instancing/Particles— Support of the Houdini instancing, including the Instance OBJ node, and the “instance” and “instancepath” attributes, extracted as RS Instances or RS Point Clouds.
  • User Data Attributes— Support for arbitrary user data attributes per object or instance, enabling shading variation without requiring different materials.
  • Strands— Render of any kind of Houdini primitive as RS strands.
  • Volumes— Direct rendering of OpenVDB files and the Houdini Volume and VDB primitives. Support of volume instancing and velocity grids.
  • Non-GUI tools— The plugin is compatible with all the Houdini non-GUI tools (hython, hscript, etc.) and includes a set of custom HScript commands to control the renderer.

Dedicated Redshift shader options, camera and render settings were all in logical places. Redshift supports Render proxies well and a full set of AOVs (render pass outputs) are available, according to 3D World magazine. With IPR, Redshift allows either bucket or progressive rendering, which constantly updates allowing really quick iteration during look dev. With great tutorials on Redshift’s site, if you’re used to working with other biased engines, Redshift is simple to get your head around and easier than most to use.

Redshift uses out-of-core architecture, which uses all the resources of the computer to render scenes – unlike many GPU render solutions which can only use the memory available on the GPU, meaning that no compromises for scenes are required. Redshift also uses all the memory on all the GPUs within a PC, even if they have different RAM amounts.

Animation and camera effects, such as depth of field, are available and work beautifully, which when the samples are increased, create a lovely rolling falloff, especially when used with the Redshift shaders. Redshift scales well for freelancers or studios, as one comparatively cheap license covers one PC, and if that PC happens to have 12 GPUs in it the license cost is the same as if it had one, making it potentially more attractive from a speed and cost point of view than a CPU based render solution. That is the reason why Redshift is addictive, and has become a dominant render platform over times.

Houdini with Redshift render’s system requirements

This is the information on what hardware and operating systems are required for Redshift to work properly. Please make sure that your system meets the requirements listed below to make full use of these software power.

1. Operating system

Redshift is supported on:

  • Microsoft Windows: 64-bit Window 7/8/10 or higher
  • Linux: 64-bit distribution with Glibc 2.17 or higher.
  • MacOS with Nvidia GPU: Sierra (10.12) or High Sierra (10.13)

2. Minimum hardware specifications

  • 8GB of system memory
  • Processor with SSE2 support (Pentium4 or better)
  • For Windows and Linux: NVIDIA GPU with CUDA compute capability 3.0 or higher and 8GB of VRAM
  • For MacOS with NVidia GPU: NVIDIA GPU with CUDA compute capability 3.0 or higher and 8GB of VRAM
  • Single GPU

3. Recommended hardware specifications

  • 16GB of system memory or more
  • Core i7 or Xeon equivalent, 3.0GHz or higher
  • For Windows and Linux: NVIDIA GPU with CUDA compute capability 7.0 or higher and 8GB of VRAM or higher. We recommended a NVIDIA Quadro, Titan or GeForce RTX GPU for hardware-accelerated ray tracing
  • For MacOS with NVidia GPU: NVIDIA GPU with CUDA compute capability 6.0 and 8GB of VRAM
  • Multi-GPUs

Suitable server package for Houdini with Redshift render

Since the recommended Redshift specifications suggested above, you can choose iRender – a powerful cloud render farm for Houdini with Redshift. Render provides 4 types of multi-GPU-servers (6x GeForce RTX 1080 Ti/ 6x GeForce RTX 2080 Ti / 6x RTX 3080/ 6x RTX 3090) which are the most effective for Redshift rendering in multi GPU cards coming with the following configuration specifications:

The servers’ configuration of iRender not only surpasses the minimum hardware requirements of Redshift, but it also exceeds the recommended requirements above:

  • Redshift supports multi GPUs on one machine, increasing rendering performance multiple times. This is one of the main reasons we recommend these 4 packges for designers to have flexible choice based on their budget and time.
  • These package uses Nvidia GPU cards with a VRAM capacity minimum from 11GB up to 24 GB, which completely exceeds the Redshift recommendation of an Nvidia GPU with CUDA compute capabilities 7.0 and 8GB VRAM capacity or higher.
  • A RAM capacity of 128GB (server 5, 6) and 256 GB (server 7,8) is many times higher than recommended.
  • The Dual Xeon E5-2673 v3processor has also completely met the CPU requirement from Redshift. Although Redshift mainly depends on GPU performance, some processing stages that occur during post-processing also depend on the performance of CPU, disk or network drive. These include extracting mesh data from your 3D application, loading textures from disk, and preparing scene files for GPU. Depending on the complexity of each scene file, these processing stages can take a considerable amount of time, and as a result, lower-end processors can bottleneck overall rendering performance. Thus, CPU is also considered as one of the criteria that cannot be ignored.
  • In terms of operating system, iRender currently provides services with two operating systems: 64-bit Windows 10and 64-bit distribution Ubuntu 18.04.5 LTS with glibc 2.27, ensuring the recommended operating system that Redshift offers.

We have tested rendering on all 4 servers to give you a better overview of the power of each server. Please watch through the video below:

Let’s take a look at Redshift benchmark table when rendering in iRender’s 4 cards packages:

To sum up, using redshift to render your Houdini projects is fast, using iRender’s 6-card GPU servers is definitely a lot faster. These servers are the ultimate online solution – The best Cloud render farm for Houdini rendering allowing up to multiple, powerful 8x GeForce RTX 1080 Ti/ 8x GeForce RTX 2080 Ti / 8x RTX 3080/ 6x RTX 3090 GPU. These servers are the premier solutions to maximize your advantage when you need it most – to win the project, to meet the impossible deadline, or pivot your visual direction with unparalleled speed. Depending on your budget and your time, let’s pick one server to experience new level of rendering.

What's else you can get when choosing iRender Service?

1. Free redshift license for Prime customers

Yes, exactly!  iRender provides the Redshift license to Prime customers. Users who recharge enough points to become Prime customers will be able to use the Redshift license without usage or maintenance costs. You can fully read the manual and benefits of using the Redshift license provided by iRender here.

2. Deeper discount with Fixed Rental

You will be charged on a per-minute basis. Depending on the type of server you choose, we will issue you an invoice once you shut down the servers, so that you will control your balance easily.

The hourly rental option is always available for you to choose. However, you can always save from 30% to 60% with our Fixed Rental feature. For those who’re in need of a server more than a day, or have an extremely large project, we advise to choose a daily/ weekly/monthly rental package. The discount is attractive (30% for daily packages, 50% for weekly, and 60% for monthly packages).

We accept payment through PayPal, Stripe, bank transfer, or credit card. And of course, we sometimes provide promotions for customers on special occasions. Staying connected with us to keep updating these programs.

3. Real human support 24/7

Users can access to our web-based online platform and using multiple nodes to render at the same time. Hence, with us, it does not matter where you are present – as long as you are connected to the internet, you can access and enjoy the 24/7 rendering services that we provide, and if you meet any issue, our real human 24/7 support team is always ready to support you.

4. Easy to use and simple process

What you need to do is just 5 simple steps including: Creating an iRender account, Recharging money, Transferring your files to the remote server, Selecting a package and connecting to the server then finally Taking full control of the server and doing whatever you want.

We ensure provide you the easy-to-use interesting and effective solution. With just one or two clicks to create an image, and 7 to 15 minutes to boot system in the first time, you will use the servers (GPUs & CPUs) like your own PC. Additionally, you just need to setup working environment once, and save as Images to keep it for life.

Furthermore, we are one of a few render farms providing a unique transfer file tool, without having to access to a third party for transfering data. The tool is called GpuHub- Sync. You can upload your data even when the remote server is turned off and it will automatically sync to the remote servers and vice versa. Furthermore, major cloud transferring platforms like Dropbox, Google Drive are also supported if users want it.


iRender is one of the powerful cloud render farm for Houdini with Redshift. Thanks to our leading technology, we help users create high-quality images and videos in the shortest time ever and minimize the rendering time.

With the above advantages and the machine configuration package that iRender are offering, we believe that Houdini users will have the most comfortable, quickest, and most effective rendering time with Redshift.

So, do not hesitate anymore, let’s HERE to get FREE COUPON to test our GPU servers and reach a new level of cloud rendering.

iRender – Happy Rendering!

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Rosie Dinh

Hi everyone. Being a Customer Support of iRender, I always hope to share and learn new things with 3D artists, data scientists from all over the world.


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