Rendering in the Cloud – A few thoughts

Rendering in the Cloud – A few thoughts

Autodesk recently rolled out their ‘cloud’ service to subscribers of Audodesk Design Suite, a useful range of features which includes…

Autodesk recently rolled out their ‘cloud’ service to subscribers of Audodesk Design Suite, a useful range of features which includes the ability to render an image or walkthrough ‘off-site’, the main reasoning being that many Revit users do not possess or cannot afford specialised rending hardware.

We put the feature through its paces to identify its benefits and limitations, and compare it to our current rendering capabilities.

The process :

Step one – download the plug-in and install

Step two – Launch Revit and open the desired project.

Step three – A new ‘Online’ tab should now appear, which holds the option to ‘Render in Cloud’.  Click this and the application will launch with a basic set of instructions.

Step four – Choose your desired render options.

Step five – …and render

Step six – Collect your produce!

The pros and cons:

The plus points –
•    Ease of use: The plug-in into Revit itself is quick and easy to install, is pretty stable and reliable to use (only occasionally has connectivity to the cloud issues).  It’s uncluttered and doesn’t take any great deal of grey matter to understand how to use.
•    Time saving: The processing is very fast on basic rendered images – noticeably faster across the board.  On our test run it took around a two minutes to render an image on quality ‘best’ through the cloud, which took our machines just short of six minutes to do the equivalent.
•    No significant reduction in output:  Although the options are a little more rigid (more on this later) there is no real difference in the quality of the output image that can be rendered.

The inevitable cons….
•    Output options:  The options available for image output are a little basic with the user only allowed to choose from four image sizes and four render options.  There is an interactive panorama option available which turns the output image into a static camera which can view the model, but its quality is very poor and can only be viewed in the online render gallery – we’re struggling to find a use for that option at present…
•    Credit limit:  free and unlimted use of the clouyd service is only available to those with a premium or ultimate edition of Autodesk Design Suite, or Building Design Suite.  Trial versions are available with 15 credits (basically, 15 renders) but that’s your lot…

Final thoughts:
The service is undoubtedly a step in the right direction for making extreme quality rendered images available to those without the computing capacity to do so.  Equally, the ‘process sharing’ technology that makes the Cloud possible has opened up a whole realm of potential uses – one example for starters would be processing rendered walkthroughs far quicker which are usually cumbersome.  But that fact the full service is limited to those with a premium or ultimate subscription of Design Suites is perhaps needlessly restrictive and may be slower on take up than perhaps the abilities of the service deserves.

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