Artists and studios: openFirehawk on Patreon launches in 1 week. Open source vfx cloud rendering & infrastructure as code.

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Joined: Feb. 2009
This is a glimpse into a different future for our craft I would like to create with your help.

It's been 9 months of dreaming, innovation, and work for me and I launch openFirehawk on Patreon in 1 week!

So what is it? A path to use the cloud for our craft at the lowest possible price with free and open source code to manage your own private simulation, storage and rendering.

It is not a turn key solution yet, and it is not easy for me to distribute its abilities to you all yet, but I am well on the path to being able to do that.

I realised through my deep dive into all things cloud to solve my own CG life problems, that actually I think this solution is the best way I can imagine we would use houdini in the cloud in the future, or any other cg software. The needs for houdini and data handling are extreme, so its a special case that I wanted to solve.

Cloud rendering for Houdini hurt my wallet and brain. the cost of any rendering services are usually many times the cost of the base compute resource (known as the spot instance price or preemptible price). The solution I've worked on also grew out of necesity because I couldn't find anything that gave me the control over the remote resources I needed to build a pipeline.

So I thought,
“Wouldn't it be insane if we could just build our own modular open source infrastructure for VFX and directly pay the big services to use their machines at the lowest possible price?” Also, I thought it would be cool to be able to say “Want a copy of my vfx infrastructure?”

So I've created openFirehawk to do that. Its purpose is to provide access to the cloud providers, at the base price of that resource, and give you full control.
Open source is a path to making the cloud as cheap as possible for our craft, and openFirehawk proves it is possible with this first rendered test simulation I ran in AWS, HD here -

The rendered effects here are just the beginning of what openFirehawk can do with CG rendering & virtual workstations for artists. The animation was simulated and rendered in #SideFX #Houdini on AWS instances for $1.20. I paid $0.01 per core hour - many times cheaper than the alternatives available to me. 100 cores for $1/hr sounds like a nice way to offload heavy workloads.

openFirehawk is currently in alpha, and its use has manual steps that I seek to eliminate. It is an on going project, and I want it to be a good modular and extendable foundation for other code contributors in our industry.

So, would you like a copy of my 3D rendering cloud infrastructure to produce CG like this?
I have a need for your support to take it far - into something that you can use more easily, and a tool that continues to improve.

Any support you want to provide by talking about it with your colleagues, sharing my posts like this, and contributing through Patreon when it is launched on Tuesday 19th Feb in a week will help take openFirehawk to become something that everyone in CG can benefit from.

Stay tuned for next Tuesday!
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103 posts
Joined: Feb. 2009
I shared this on Linked in and FB yesterday, those that saw the post, apologies for saying the same thing here.

I went through $40,000 of savings to create this VFX tool and I’m open sourcing it as I continue. I launched and a Patreon page now to support the work. Companies have spent a lot on this problem, so I'm excited that there is an open source collective path towards a good solution for us in houdini.

I’m thinking to be free of the VFX dungeon, cloud rendering has to get WAY better. It has a long way to go and it needs to get VERY VERY CHEAP. The cheaper it is, the more effective remote CG work can be, and that excites me. If it’s expensive it doesn’t interest me because, I just want to use as many cores as I can afford.

I started to learn DevOps to make cloud infrastructure start doing what I wanted it to as an FX Artist. I wanted to have direct control over the compute resources at the base cost and efficient processes around data handling.

I’d like it to help other VFX artists and studios too, to render as affordably as possible when it's robust enough. It could enable a different ecosystem that is more remote work friendly.

If what openFirehawk enables would affect you, or your choices in the future, or maybe other mates of yours, let them and let me know! If you have buddy’s or know studios similarly aligned, share the work or talk about it to help support it to grow.
Edited by Andrew Graham - Feb. 20, 2019 02:39:07
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