AWS’ Deadline Cloud Eases Content Rendering

AWS’ Deadline Cloud Eases Content Rendering

Given the growing requirements for enhancing the quality of rich media content, Amazon has now launched a new service called Deadline Cloud. The new service would allow customers to set up, deploy and scale graphics and visual effects rendering services on an AWS cloud instance. 

The new service allows Amazon’s customers in the media and entertainment space as well as those dabbling with architecture and engineering to use its AWS cloud infrastructure and Deadline to render content for television shows, movies, ads, video games and digital blueprints, says the company in a blogpost

Why is Amazon coming to the party now?

The post quotes Antony Passemard, GM of Creative Tools at AWS as saying that the industry was at a tipping point where demand for quality rendering of VFX and the mushrooming of content created using GenAI was outpacing the customer’s on-premises rendering capacity. Hence, AWS came up with Deadline Cloud as a scalable render farm that allows customers to ignore the challenges around managing infrastructure. 

This allows creative teams to enhance the pace of content pipelines and respond quickly to opportunities of accepting more projects, while also meeting tight deadlines and delivering high-quality content, Passemard says. Amazon’s announcement comes weeks before the National Association of Broadcasters conference scheduled in Las Vegas later this month. 

The company is betting big on growing demand for content rendering tools that can help the media and entertainment business. The blog post says Deadline Cloud lets customers create graphics, VFX or AI-generated visuals via a cloud-based render farm that can scale from zero to thousands of compute instances for peak demand. 

What does the new service offer?

Built-in customization tools and integrations with digital content creation software such as Autodesk Arnold, Autodesk Maya, Foundry Nuke and SideFX Houdini are available to tailor a customer’s render pipelines for specific projects with direct rendering from preferred tools in design, modelling, animation, and VFX among others. 

Creative teams can potentially accelerate production timelines by running more projects in parallel without having to worry about capacity overruns. Deadline Cloud also provides built-in budget-management capabilities that helps customers analyze project costs at a granular level so that they only pay for what gets rendered. 

Setting up Deadline Cloud is also relatively simple as a startup wizard walks customers through the process of providing the site, the duration of projects and instance types before configuring permissions. The service then provides Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud instances that manages the network and compute infrastructure.

There is a dashboard that provides details of logs, previews of in-progress rendering jobs and a review of costs. Deadline Cloud also allows customers to link their third-party software licenses with the service or alternatively leverage usage-based licensing for rendering with Amazon’s own set of tools. 

Is this something new or has it been done before?

The service is currently available only in select geographies including some cities in the US east and west coast, Singapore, Sydney, Tokyo, Frankfurt and Ireland server regions. “With AWS Deadline Cloud, we can scale render capacity up or down based on dynamic workloads and adjust capacity in minutes rather than hours,” Passemard notes. 

It is worth mentioning here that cloud-based rendering isn’t new as Google had acquired Zync in 2015 to come up with several cloud-powered visual effects tooling in partnership with Sony’s animation studio and Sony Pictures Imageworks. There have also been platforms such as Arch and Chaos Cloud that provided on-demand VFX infrastructure. 

However, Amazon’s excitement around this space grew post the Covid-19 pandemic when VFX workloads began moving to the cloud as cost of hardware maintenance skyrocketed and work dwindled. With Deadline Cloud, Amazon is hoping to extend its capabilities around pay-as-you-use concept to the creative space. 

And allow the creative minds to focus on their space instead of having to worry about costs of infrastructure and productivity challenges. 


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