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Spacejunk Expands Render Capabilities with PipelineFX's Qube!

“3D animation became a key part of our toolkit .. we needed an efficient render management process when the number of projects going through the studio each month increased to a level that required our machines to work nonstop," says Michael Blosel, owner of Spacejunk.

Since its humble beginnings 10 years ago when Robb Dierken and Michael Blosel were set on carving out some share of the production and design market, Spacejunk in Columbus, OH, has become a full-service, live-action/motion-design studio. Blosel says that in their early days, the idea of a render farm seemed “just a far-fetched dream, reserved for giant studios, with equally large budgets.” However, as the company grew, so did its projects.

“3D animation became a key part of our toolkit,” says Blosel. “It was important to find a solution so our artists didn’t have to regularly stay after hours or babysit renders. We decided we needed an efficient render management process when the number of projects going through the studio each month increased to a level that required our machines to work nonstop.” That’s when they decided to take a look at Qube from Pipeline FX. Here, Post speaks with Spacejunk’s production technology manager Mike Nelson about the studio’s acquisition.

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WHAT TYPE OF SYSTEM WERE YOU USING PREVIOUSLY? 

“Prior to utilizing Qube, we didn’t have a render management system in place. We would either open the project on multiple machines, or employ whatever render management options the software provided. Neither option was truly effective; the process was time-consuming and involved a good deal of trial and error. It was obvious we had reached a point where we needed to find a solution to increase our efficiency and harness the processing power available within our studio.”

WHAT TYPES OF CHALLENGES IS QUBE ADDRESSING SINCE YOU INCORPORATED IT INTO YOUR WORKFLOW? 

“Qube has allowed us to test ideas and explore creative options. We utilize the software during the day to experiment, then engage all of our machines to render overnight with Qube. Critical features like being able to batch and prioritize jobs allow us to ensure urgent projects are moved to the front of the line without disrupting less critical jobs waiting in queue.”

 WHAT ARE SOME OF QUBE’S STANDOUT FEATURES?

“The wrangler view and the level of detail this feature provides to the user is extraordinary. There are a large number of settings, which are adjustable, allowing us to make changes at a granular level. Another valuable feature is its ability to process a large variety of job types. Regardless of the tool we have elected to use, Qube has it covered. We have also been able to recognize good value utilizing designer licenses. We generally use Cinema4D and After Effects, and have found processing one job (instance) per host computer works quite well for us. If we discover we need additional functionality in the future, we will be able to upgrade our licenses to process multiple jobs per host.”

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WHAT IS QUBE HELPING YOU ACHIEVE?

“The software has allowed us to become more efficient, thus allowing us to expand the number of jobs we can run through our pipeline. Also, we can more confidently accept larger jobs that require longer and more complex renders. Qube provides us more scheduling and workflow flexibility than other options.”

DO YOU CONSIDER THE ACQUISITION SUCCESSFUL?

“We have been using Qube for about a year and don’t have any regrets. It has become a critical component of our studio and integral to our pipeline. As a studio we are constantly searching for ways to improve and evolve, and we haven’t encountered any limitations in this regard with Qube.

“We have come to rely on Qube, and think of it as our artist’s back pocket workhorse. We throw a lot of renders at it, and can count on each project rendering trouble free, or being able to troubleshoot occasional issues effectively and quickly. We are currently preparing to deploy it with Maya and V-Ray, and we are excited about expanding its use. Also, the support we have received from Pipeline has been exceptional. They quickly address our questions, concerns and ideas.

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