Straightface Studios taps Nuke from the AWS Thinkbox Marketplace for burst

In the fast-paced worlds of 3D animation, VFX and motion graphics, time is of the essence, and productive facilities are consistently looking for better ways to streamline production. For nearly a decade, Straightface Studios has done just that using Thinkbox Software’s Deadline to manage its on-premise compute resources. Recently, when Thinkbox launched its Deadline 8 beta with per-minute licensing options, Straightface signed up to put the release through its paces. Straightface quickly discovered that The Foundry’s NUKE on demand better suited the studio’s needs than using permanent licenses, and has since transformed the way it utilizes its entire farm.

straightface paint animation cartoon deadline

“We get more bang for our buck, while also being able to make quicker revisions and experiment in ways never before possible because of prohibitive render times. More frequent NUKE revisions help us validate where we’re going and avoid costly last minute surprises,” said Straightface VFX Supervisor, Gavin Greenwalt.

"The capacity we need varies per project; one day we may not need to use NUKE at all, the next we may need it extensively!"


Using Deadline’s farm statistic tools to evaluate 2015 render times, Greenwalt was able to break down every render hour used by plug-in type, filtering down to NUKE and making note of the total render time. Purchasing NUKE by the hour has not only proven to be more cost-effective, but also saved Straightface’s time. Rather than waiting for a finite number of render nodes to complete a job, the studio can burst render across its 21-node render farm, spreading the job out and completing tasks more quickly. Composites that used to take upwards of 50 hours to render can now be sent off based on morning feedback and reviewed the same day.

straightface crab gold deadline customer

Considering the scope and timeline of Straightface’s projects often fluctuate, on demand NUKE licensing has also relieved some of the pressure in anticipating needs throughout the year. “The NUKE render capacity that we need varies per project; one day we may not need to use NUKE at all, but the next we may need it extensively. Now we can easily scale up and down as needed without a big commitment. Previously, if our system couldn’t finish a project on time, we’d have to consider purchasing another permanent license. Now we can use our money more wisely by investing only in what we need,” Greenwalt added.

“More frequent NUKE revisions help us validate where we’re going and avoid costly last minute surprises” 

Since on demand hours are easily purchased via Thinkbox’s Marketplace for Usage Based Licensing, scaling is simple for Straightface. “The Thinkbox Marketplace is easy to navigate and use. It’s also immediate so that you don’t have to deal with complex invoices or wait on a company’s sales team to respond; you just drop the hours into your cart, check out and they’re ready to render. It doesn’t make sense for us to switch to usage-based licensing for all our tools, but the benefits of NUKE on demand are obvious,” he concluded.