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Cloud based computing for baking purposes

Hi all, I am wanting a second PC to run renderings, whilst allowing me to continue to work on my laptop to do my modelling etc.
Whilst purchasing a second, powerful pc, is an obvious solution, I am thinking that I could utilise something like Microsoft Azure to provide a virtual desktop or virtual machine. This would only be needed to run Shapespark. The files would be copied to the virtual machine (after all the setup has been done) and it simply does the final bake, either under the option of CPU or CUDA. A much cheaper option than buying a 2nd PC (although i might use that power for VRAY or Lumion etc)

Does anyone else have a similar workflow?

I am in Melbourne, Australia - so some of the European resources are not available here.

Hi James,

Maybe you can try Paperspace

You can rent a virtual pc there and just drag and drop your files to it (even with an app) to render your scene.
It is located in the US but if you only want to render that shouldn’t be a problem.

thanks Tim, have you tried it?

I tried it a view years ago when tey started their business. I wanted to use it at that time as a work station but because of the latency it didn’t work that time. Now they also have servers in Europe and I guess it would work now much better.
But that shouldn’t be a problem when you upload your files and just press render.

FYI for anyone interested.
Results from my laptop vs cloud based computing. (Path tracing set to high(800 samples)

laptop Baking
CPU - 14.48 hrs @ $0.0 p/hr = $0.0 (14 hrs of almost unusable designing time)
CUDA - 10. 36 hrs @ $0.00 p/hr = $0.0 (10 hrs of almost unusable designing time) virtual computers. These cost $5 p/mth to rent the 50gb hard drive storage.
VM1 - CPU = 10 hrs @ 0.32 p/hr = $3.2
VM2 - CUDA (p5000) = 4hrs @ $0.78 = $3.12

I really like this approach.
So I have synced my google drive with the Shapespark folder and subfolders (just saves time uploading each of the folders which so far are around 400mb.) This can be accessed by the Virtual Machines. The scene folders are copied into the Shapespark folders, opened in editor, and baked on the virtual machines.
This means that I have zero lag on my own machine.

Thanks @tim

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Thanks for this insight! Might be a good approach also to deal with a bigger amount of projects at the same time.

Thanks for the analysis, @James_Craig.

I’d just add that if your laptop is equipped with a Thunderbolt port, you could connect an external graphics card to it. Then you could use the more powerful external graphics card for baking and the built-in one for display. With such a setup the baking shouldn’t affect the computer responsiveness, so you could do design work in parallel with baking.

I didn’t know that something like this exists. Did you ever try one?

Yes, we’ve tried it with Gigabyte AORUS GTX 1070 GAMING BOX, and it worked.

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@wojtek, I looked into the setup required. (i did borrow a friends setup) but I couldn’t get it to work very effectively. - it was kind of a clunky setup. I would rather just buy a better laptop!
But this is working ok for the moment. Its $60 p/year rental + rendering time. I think the sums add up to a very cost effective way to do the rendering. And I can pull out or stop at any given month. I can also add on more vm’s if required etc.

@James_Craig, sure. I don’t want to convince you to another setup, but to mention one more alternative for future readers of this topic.

Gigabyte AORUS RTX 2080 Ti Gaming Box (eGPU), Embedded GeForce RTX 2080 Ti, Thunderbolt 3 Plug and Play, Custom Quiet and Silent Waterforce AIO Cooling System, Dual Thunderbolt 3, Gv-N208TIXEB-11GC


nice @jorgearq , again, it’s a pretty pricy unit ($2k). My online machine is going pretty well so far for $5/mth + a couple of dollars each render.