Qube! Helps Platige Image Smash Creative Boundaries in Europe and Abroad
PipelineFX's Render Farm Manager Helps Award-Winning Polish Animation Studio Tackle Projects Ranging from AAA Cinematics to Interactive Video Installations
It's created cinematics for AAA games and commercials for Coca-Cola. It's produced viral teasers for the European Space Agency's Rosetta mission and visual effects for Lars von Trier's Antichrist. It's won two BAFTAs, and has been nominated for an Academy Award, a Golden Palm at Cannes, and a Golden Lion at the Venice Film Festival.
And for the past five years, Polish animation and visual effects house Platige Image has used just one tool to manage the complexity of this incredible range of projects: Qube!, PipelineFX's intelligent render farm management system.
The most artist-friendly render manager
“It's impossible to count how many shots we've rendered through Qube!,” says Platige lighting artist Krzysztof Dębski. “It must be in the hundreds of thousands.”
Although Platige had previously used other desktop render farm management software, it was drawn to Qube! by its combination of customizability and ease of use. “Qube! has an artist-friendly interface, that displays all of the necessary data at once. I can manage all of my jobs, see the logs, and even previews directly from the UI,” says Dębski. “It also has an 'open-source style' that can be combined with other software easily. It feels like it fills the last gap in a good production pipeline.”
Autodesk’s shot-review and playback tool RV and production-tracking system Shotgun are used alongside the system, creating a powerful infrastructure for Platige employees. Renders feeding into Qube! are created using a combination of Autodesk's modelling and animation packages Maya, 3ds Max and Softimage, as well as The Foundry's compositing standard, NUKE. Because Qube! is built to interact seamlessly with this entire range of tools, the process of managing render jobs has become transparent, even to artists coming to the software for the first time.
“I hadn't used Qube! before I joined Platige, but once I did, I understood why it is used here,” says Dębski. “I don't know any other render manager with such potential to be so artist-friendly.”
Customizability without complexity
As well as its ease of use, Qube! can be readily customized, enabling a studio to create a render-management pipeline that suits its own particular needs.
“We now have our own [custom render job] submitter for Maya, NUKE, 3ds Max and Softimage,” says Krzysztof Olszewski, Platige's lighting and rendering lead. “We also have integration with Shotgun, so any complete task from Qube! goes straight there. It enables us to work faster, and makes it easier for our leads to check shots.”
Olszewski also praises Qube!'s clustering system, which enables a studio to create custom groups of nodes within its render farm for specific jobs, or types of jobs. “In Platige, we have separate departments for commercials, animation and visual effects,” explains Olszewski. “When a project in one area becomes a high priority, Qube! lets us easily add render machines or move them from one cluster to another bringing more power to a particular project. It’s a smart way to maximize our resources.”
Other key features of Qube! include its intuitive error logs, which make it easy for artists to see why a render job has failed and fix the problem before resubmitting it, and the way in which it enables supervisors to assign permissions to individual artists – which often stops jobs failing in the first place.
“That's something we've had problems with in other render-management software,” explains Olszewski. “With other tools, every user could block or change priorities on every task.”
Qube! and Platige: growing together
Rather than resting on its laurels, Platige continues to grow, both physically and artistically. Now numbering over 250 staff, including directors, animators and visual effects artists, graphic designers and producers, the studio is currently working on an ever-expanding range of projects.
In the past year alone, its output has ranged from an interactive Star Wars video installation at New York’s Discovery Times Square to Polish Legends: a pair of visual effects shorts reimagining classic folk tales, complete with an accompanying e-book. The company has even established Platige Entertainment, a new internal division dedicated to live entertainment work, which is currently collaborating on Sky, a spectacular new 'stereoscopic 3D musical' at Theater Amsterdam.
For all of this work, Qube! forms an integral part of Platige's production pipeline, adapting seamlessly to the needs of each individual project without imposing technical restrictions that might hinder its artists' creativity.
“Without render farm management, we would go back to the Stone Age,” jokes Krzysztof Dębski. “It's like saying that we could make breakfast cereals without having machines to prepare them.”
And with PipelineFX introducing new innovations such as the increasingly powerful ArtistView UI, which provides an artist-friendly overview of complex render jobs, Qube! continues to grow with its users, maintaining its winning combination of technological power that speaks to their requests.
“I've got only one thing to say to PipelineFX,” says Dębski. “Keep up the good work!”
About Qube!™ and Smart Farming™
Qube! is an intelligent, mature and highly scalable render management solution that can be quickly integrated into any production workflow, and is backed by world-class technical support. Smart Farming delivers intelligence to production pipelines by providing business-critical insight into render pipelines, maximizing investment in rendering infrastructure and automating manual
As the leading provider of intelligent render farm management solutions for digital content creation, PipelineFX provides software, support, consulting and training services worldwide. Qube! runs on more than 35,000 render nodes at over 750 customers in 51 countries and is used to render film and visual effects, post production, broadcast, design, games and education media. Clients include Apple, Arc Productions, Base FX, BBC, Cisco, Cutting Edge Sydney, Deluxe, Dyson, Efilm, Electronic Arts, Ford, Google, HBO, Hasbro, Image Engine, L.M.U., L’Atelier Animation, Lockheed Martin, Mackevision, Method Studios, MPC, NBC Sports, Next Media Animation, Nvidia, NHK, NYU, Original Force, Pratt Institute, Procter & Gamble, RedHat, ReelFX, RodeoFX, South Park Studios, SVA, Target, Technicolor, Toyota and many others. PipelineFX is headquartered in Honolulu, HI, and has offices in Los Angeles, London, Portland, Las Vegas, and Vancouver.
About Platige Image
Platige Image is a 3D animation/post-production and VFX company based in Poland, whose work has been recognized at the industry's highest levels, including BAFTA and OSCAR nominations. Platige’s work is distinguished by diversity: from computer games, commercials, and large-scale multi-media projects, such as the Polish Pavilion for EXPO 2015 to stereoscopic painting reconstructions (i.e. Grunwald Battle 3D). The studio has been in the market for 18 years, and has created a global brand known for its creativity, out of the box approach and great quality of work.