Before submitting a scene, we recommend you evaluate its rendering duration and cost. You can do this by using the cost estimator on the RANCH web site.
This tool does a reasonably good job of approximating the render time for animations, with a margin of error of +/-20%, however it remains an estimation, and not a guarantee.
Please make sure that the value you enter for the render time per frame on your system is really an average render time, and not the render time of a random frame (which may be considerably lower than the average).
The accuracy of the estimation is proportional 1) to the homogeneity of the frames and 2) to the CPU load. In other words, the estimated render time will be very close to the actual render time if 1) all the frames take the same time to render, and 2) all the CPU cores on each node are running at 100% when rendering the project.
Just to be on the safe side, we recommend you enter here the time of the longest frames of your animation.
The reasults give you:
The total processing time of a project includes the preparation time (deployment of the scene and scene elements, textures, etc. across the whole RANCH), the render time itself, and a small project management time (ftp account creation, etc.).
The time and cost displayed by this cost estimator correspond to the rendering phase of the project.
There are 3 ways to estimate to cost and duration of the rendering of a still image.
1. Use the online cost estimator based on the rendering duration of your image on your machine.
Warning: The duration indicated on your machine can change while the image is rendered. For instance, after 10 minutes of rendering on your machine, the software indicates a total duration of 23 hours. Thus you stop this rendering and enter this data in our cost estimator. But if the rendering had not been stopped, 30 minutes later, the software would have indicated a total duration of 30 hours, based on the difficulties of the image. As a consequence the time and cost estimation given by the estimator would be biased.
2. Send a strip of your image.
Warning: whether horizontal or vertical, the chosen strip must be relevant so as to make a realistic estimation. It is actually safer to choose a rather complex strip as the estimation will be over-evaluated and there is less risk of bad surprise.
3. Send your image in low resolution.
Warning: if you send an image which is 1/4 of the final resolution, you could be tempted to multiply time and cost by 4 to get the final results. Warning: depending on how complex the image is, this rule is not always valid.
Advice for an accurate estimation: 1. Send your image in 3 different resolutions. 2. Look at the progression curve depending on the resolution (linear, exponential…). 3. Deduce the duration / cost of the final resolution based on that curve.
Note that there are other solutions to estimate the cost and duration of the rendering of still images created under unbiased renderers like Maxwell Render or Indigo (read dedicated sections).
For distributed or MultiBand rendering with stills (3ds Max, VRAYforC4D), consider as a rule of thumb that the RANCH should be 50 to 100 times faster than your system.
Warning: never estimate the time / cost of an animation based on a still image! The resulat will not be relevant. Read the dedicated section to estimate an animation.