Interview of Julien Bagnol, founder at Supamonks Studio.
What is Supamonks and what do you do here? SUPAMONKS is an animation studio based near Paris, France. We make 3D movies (based on computer graphics) (two-dimensional and three-dimensional) for advertising, TV (on-air graphics and children movies) and video games (trailer, cinematic and so on). What kind of heavy processing do you do on these computers that cause them to generate so much heat? The most energy-hungry computations we make are 3D renderings. During rush periods where we compute a lot of images, machines run continuously at maximum capacity to render these images and by doing so they generate a lot of heat. Why does rendering need so much processing power? For us it is like asking why the sun shines… The reason is very complex and technical. The 3D rendering engine analyses various elements in a 3D image, such as colours, intensity, and lighting effects, shadows, reflection... Before Qarnot, did you used to generate a lot of heat in the studio? Yes, a lot, but it was really badly managed: the machine room could warm up to 122 degrees Fahrenheit. And in the winter, we had to warm up other places of the studio with traditional heating solutions. How much animated film do you create per year? In 2016 we produced about one hour and a half of animation movie. Our client has already signed up to double this production in 2017. How long can it take to render a single 3D image? A rendering for one 3D image can last for up to 3 hours if there are a lot of characters, complex sceneries, special effects, and lots of hairs. (ex) Indeed, hair is very complex and complicated, as well as grass for instance. How many hours of computation is that per year? About 1 million hours. Why did you decide to externalise your computer processing with Qarnot? We haven’t decided to externalize it for now, but maybe we will in the future. For now, the use of the platform is quite special given that we mainly have a local usage : we use Qarnot’s service to heat more adequately our offices. What happens when you require computer power – do you send this request for power to the cloud? Talk me through this process. There are 3 ways to get computing power: buy machines (servers), rent machines, or send computations to the cloud. Our pipeline of projects is so complex that sending to the cloud is really difficult to do. But we are currently working on simplifying our rendering externalization process in order to benefit fully from Qarnot’s solution. What are the benefits of computer-processing remotely? The main advantage are the scalability and elasticity of the system (you can immediately access a great number of resources precisely in periods of rush) and freedom from operational problems (you don’t have to manage these resources yourself). What are the financial benefits of renting computing power on an hourly basis from Qarnot’s cloud service? Our main focus is on efficiency. It depends on what you compare it to, but it’s an affordable and green rendering solution. Visit Supamonks’ website and check their latest updates on Twitter.