Tangent Animation is a Canadian production studio and a collective of film and television professionals with a shared vision and combined experience that encompasses CG Animation, Live Action Film Production, Visual Effects, and Software Development. The result — an award-winning collaboration with co-production partners both domestic and international.

The Challenge

Tangent Animation required elastic cloud computing services for the deployment of a cloud renderfarm used for 3D animation rendering. The planned fall 2018 premiere for the feature-length animated film release created a short production window and the need for rapid scalability of compute and storage resources.

The Solution

Tangent Animation leveraged Beanfield Metroconnect and Megaport for AWS Direct Connect service, as well as an AWS Snowball appliance to move data between their data centre in Canada and AWS S3 storage buckets. EC2 compute resources, and Blender provided the CPU based 3D rendering computation power, running inside custom customer installed Linux image compute nodes. S3 storage buckets were used for staging media assets as well as storing the rendered media asset output.

The Outcome

In July 2018, Tangent Animation completed production of “Next Gen” starring John Krasinski, Constance Wu, David Cross, Charlyne Yi, and Jason Sudeikis. The film premiered on Netflix and in theatres globally on September 7th, 2018.

The Highlights

  • Cloud rendering solutions included AWS (peak 3000 instances), Alibaba Cloud (peak 1000 instances), on-prem (600 instances) 
  • 50TB of data transitioned to AWS S3 for processing by EC2 render VMs
  • 1500 shots
  • Deployed proprietary data transfer/synchronization solutions to remote file systems and two production facilities
  • 500 media assets
  • Up to 300 versions of each asset
  • Tracking 15,000 tasks through the production process
  • Rendered using Blender (Opensource alternative to Maya)
  • Leveraged software developers from Tangent Technology to fix gaps between Blender and Maya
  • Contributed ray-tracing core improvements to Blender
  • Sponsored two in-house engineers at Blender Institute
  • Tangent Technology provided development services to Tangent Animation including:
  • Development of a proprietary asset management solution
  • Blender/Cycles development (in-house engineering staff in addition to sponsoring two developers at the Blender Institute):
  • Cryptomatte integration
  • Integration of Intel Embree, ray tracing core improvements
  • OpenVDB integration
  • Improved Alembic support
  • MipMap Texture caching
  • Blender Development to be contributed back to the Open Source community

About Beanfield & AWS

Amazon Web Services (AWS) is partnered with Beanfield Metroconnect to provide your business with the comprehensive solution you need to connect your enterprise to the cloud directly. With the fastest circuit activation times in Toronto and Montreal, you can connect directly and get reliable performance — all over a private network that scales easily and delivers the lowest possible latency.

AWS Direct Connect

AWS Direct Connect is a cloud service solution that makes it easy to establish a dedicated network connection from your premises to AWS. Using AWS Direct Connect, you can establish private connectivity between AWS and your datacenter, office, or colocation environment, which in many cases can reduce your network costs, increase bandwidth throughput, and provide a more consistent network experience than Internet-based connections.

About the Author:

Daniel Simmons is the Director of Cloud Strategy at Beanfield Metroconnect, a cloud product manager, cloud evangelist, and a solution architect for cloud and data centre services. He lives in Toronto with his partner and dog.