March 31, 2023 Yen Lily

Will render farms become obsolete with the development of Unreal Engine 5?

In the development of game engines like Unreal Engine, we can see many benefits for CGI movie makers. It helps users make movies in real time, so you can interact with the 3D environment nearly immediately and enables us to modify our scene and see the result when working. It’s so convenient that you might question ‘will render farms become obsolete with the development of Unreal Engine 5?’. To answer that question, let’s explore more in this article.

1. Will render farms become obsolete with the development of Unreal Engine 5?

The answer is NO.

First of all, real-time rendering software like Unreal Engine are not good enough to perform the complexity of the scene. If you are talking about game scenes, maybe it can catch up and do a good job. But for the animated movie scene, it’s far from enough.

Game scenes could be higher in FPS, it could reach 30FPS, 60FPS or even 90FPS for VR games, and the quality could be mind-blowing. You can check the video introducing Unreal Engine 5 of Epic Games.

However, you should note that not all the things you see are real-time. There are some still assets rendered before with the effects such as lighting, environment, shading. They will be rendered, saved during the production process, and then used when you are real-time.

You can see in the video above, the environment and the details are absolutely gorgeous. In contrast, the character of the scene is somewhat not on the same level of quality, not to say that it’s very underdone.

Now we come to the quality of animated movies. It’s a different level of detail. Let’s take a look at this scene:

Each strand of hair sticking out of his arm is modeled as a physics simulated strand, and it took 11 to 12 hours to render a single frame of this character from Monster Inc because he has a total of 2.3 millions individual hair strands. Can you imagine how much resource and power it took to do that, and whether a real-time rendering software can do that?

Or if you look closer at the details of the garment or clothes in games, they are often smooth. There’s no way a game engine now can reach this kind of detail, where you can even see the lints on the shirt of the Incredibles 2’s character. As Pixar shared, it took them about 30 hours to render just one frame of that. Imagine if you put it in a game which is 30FPS, so one second of this character on this shirt will take like 900 hours. Can you wait 900 hours to play your game real time? And for just one second in the game?

Real-time rendering game engines could develop so fast, but it cannot replace the animated movie rendering engine, especially in the pipeline of big studios/companies who made blockbuster movies. In their pipeline, it’s not about the time, it’s about the details they can reach to make their movies look as realistic as possible. And they can write a lot of their own software to do that.

Zootopia is one of many examples. If you think 2.3 million hair strands in Monster Inc. is a lot, this Disney movie takes you to another level. A single giraffe has 9.2 million hairs on it. To animate and render just one individual frame might take up 100 hours to do.

And the whole movie is about animals, which means a lot of fur. If one scene has all these animals, how long do you think it will take?

To reach the realism, the Disney team came to the zoo, to Africa, learned and studied how animals’ fur interact with the environment, light and wind, and even with their own bodies, etc. Their team created specialized software for fur shader, for muscle and fat movements. These software enable them to modify the hair, and predict the light moves through the space and bounces off the hairs and exits. That’s why you see the characters look real, like the otters look oily, sheep look fluffy and bunnies look cuddly, and their movements have good weight and shape.

To be able to perform and render these customized pipelines, a render farm is a must. It could be the studio’s render farm, or cloud render farm. All to achieve the most insane CGI you cannot imagine. Therefore, even if the real-time rendering software like Unreal Engine becomes so advanced, the movie rendering software will become greater.

2. Final thoughts

The CGI world will always continue to develop. Right now and in the past, real-time rendering software could be not on the same level with movie rendering software, but who knows in the future. It all depends on human creativity and eagerness to develop more powerful hardware and make impossible become possible.

If you want to find a render farm for your customized pipeline, or for your real-time rendering software, iRender is the best choice. At iRender, we provide a remote workstation(s) where you can use it like your own computer. Therefore, you can install any software you want, add your license and render or modify your project by yourself.

We have many server packages, from single GPU to multiple GPUs. For real-time rendering software like Unreal Engine, we suggest our server 3S with the high-end hardware such as CPU AMD Ryzen Threadripper Pro 3955WX at 3.9GHz clock speed, core 16, thread 32. RAM 256GB, Storage NVMe SSD 2TB and Video card RTX4090.

Let’s see how Unreal Engine performs on our server 3S (single RTX4090):

For movie-rendering software that needs a lot of computing power, we suggest our multiple GPUs packages such as 4S, 5S or 8S. CPUs are AMD Ryzen Threadripper Pro 3955WX at 3.9GHz clock speed, core 16, thread 32 or AMD Ryzen™ Threadripper™ PRO 5975WX @ 3.6 – 4.5GHz, core 32, thread 64. RAM is 256GB, Storage NVMe SSD is 2TB and Video card is 2/4/6 x RTX4090.

Not only those powerful configurations, iRender also provides you with more services. From a useful and free transferring tool named iRender drive/GPUhub sync to 24/7 support service via livechat with real humans who will support you whenever you encounter an issue. Our price is flexible with hourly rental which has a pay-as-you-go basis, daily/ weekly/ monthly subscription with discount from 10-20%.

Register an account today to experience our service. Or contact us via WhatsApp: (+84) 916806116 for advice and support.


Thank you & Happy Rendering!


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Yen Lily

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


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