Help with hardware choices

There’s not much information on these kind of questions since most graphs are not based on real-life scenarios (Maya, FumeFX, ZBrush). I’m building a computer to help me ease into field of explosions, lights, magic, and FX, but my experience is practically zero to this forum. Since everyone here has been doing this for some time, I was hoping to have some insight on Memory (RAM) speeds and if you found certain speeds very helpful or efficient in your work. I won’t be working in a 4k (for now) environment if that’s of any useful information.

In terms of RAM, I’ve found that speed is mostly negligible, and that capacity is far more important (up to a point). I wouldn’t spend a fortune on getting faster RAM, but I wouldn’t be able to work efficiently with any less than 16GB (preferably more). I find that more is useful in fx, because of how I’m regularly switching between different programs as I put things together (Unreal/Unity/some game engine, 3dsMax/Maya, Photoshop, and maybe some other 3rd-party plugins or something, and a browser for reference).

After Effects in particular guzzles as much RAM as you’ve got, and Photoshop uses more and more when you leave it open (despite closing documents).

If you were working with 4k stuff, I imagine a video card with more RAM is probably more important than your computer’s RAM, but I don’t work on anything that big either, (and seldom do sims myself) so I can’t say from experience.

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I’d say, don’t overthink it.

If you are going to do large sims, get a ton of RAM and a large SSD drive to shift stuff to when the RAM fills up. If not, expect crashes. I have never cared about RAM speeds and it has never affected my work in the slightest.

CPU will obviously be important for simming as well. Most software these days can take all the threads you can throw at it so I tend to go with the simple rule of the more the better.

GPU: get a good gaming card. Nobody uses Quadro these days. At least not if you also want to work in a game engine on the same machine.

If you are just going to do realtime stuff, any gaming pc will do. I mean, there’s no point having a superfast machine if you are making stuff meant to run on a potato like the Xbone.

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true, i would just buy a normal or just a bit better normal PC and start working on it.

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Thank you for the reply. For some reason, not getting notifications on these. I really hate to ask this since it’s probably self explanitory, but Real-time VFX is the kind where it is rendered while doing something in a game and not things like CGI for… Warcraft or something? I Figured it was just a cool name, didn’t know there were any drastic differences.

Prerendered can use hours/frame. Our stuff needs to render at 0.016 second/frame.

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i would say that the Movie FX or like u say CGI (ComputerGraphicItems [or Industry - mostly for Industry]) are more in to simulation or high resolution Textures (+16k or procedural simulated with Houdini or something else) with huge particle counts. So that the PC have to render the Frame for the Movie or Picture for hours.

The Real-Time FX are not like that its really more CHEATING then something else. U try to minimize the performance and get the best resold for the Frame rate. It make sense if you look at some Games like BF1 with realistic graphics. People want to play this games in framerates about 120 FPS so you cant wait even a 0.01 sec to get the Video FX done for the PC.

The only difference i see in this is the amount of performance u can use and how much time you have to get the Frame done.

i hope i could help you

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No, that does help. When I first joined the forum, I wasn’t aware games and CGI was so vastly different. I figured computers couldn’t handle that kind of graphics rather it being a question of time. Either way, CGI scares the hell out of me with what I hear some old employees say about it in other places.

I can see why VFX artists value tech people, makes a good pair to get the most out of the time constraint.

Hmmm Tech knowledge

In MovieFX is it an other target the Visual at the end must catch the overall look from the scene. If you watch a movie you will never see a big and impactful effect twice on the screen yes the small ones there is a drop and the other one could be the same out of 1000.

But in Games you have to use your resources carefully. mostly you use the same Shaders masters or even FXs so that the memory dont get to high.

What is better or harder i dont know. Is it scary or do u need really that much tech knowledge i dont think so. its like with everything in live … practice makes the great one. If you get use to it. Its easy so sit down and make your stuff xD <— and share it with us :blush:

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Oh, the tech part I don’t mind, it was their “office politics” people talked about. I will, just waiting for new comp to get in and reading as much of the art and texture knowledge in the mean time. Resources on here are good material :slight_smile:

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Should you do VFX work on them?
The short answer… yes.
The long answer goes more along the lines of… desktops will always be superior in every way when it comes to performance (except in the category of portability.)

However, if mobility is something you value, then investing in a laptop for VFX might be the right choice for you.

If you are like me, I treat my desktop and my home as a place of leisure and relaxation. In order to get any deep work or creative projects done, I find a workplace outside the house (whether it be a rented co-working area or my local Starbucks). After weeks and weeks of research I made my investment in a new laptop.

I am happy to say that it is one of the best purchases I’ve made in modern hardware. Gentlepeople, I present to you the ultimate VFX laptop.

MSI P75 Creator

Everything you could possibly need for your VFX workflow can be run smoothly from this beauty. Run simulations in real-time with tools like Houdini, Maya, 3DSMax and Blender. Create art with Photoshop, Krita and Substance Designer with the click of a button. Work with lightning fast smoothness in your preferred engine (UE4, Unity, Frostbite, etc.)

Major Specs important for VFX:
Intel i9 Processor
NIVIDIA GeForce RTX 2070
(15" is 4K, 17" is 1080p as of Aug '19)

The whole reason I decided to share this is because my productivity in VFX work has shot up the roof since I’ve been able to work on my projects on-the-go. This week alone, I’ve logged 20 hours of impactful improvement… something I struggled daily with at home where I had access to my TV, Switch, etc.

Picking the right hardware to do your VFX work is an important decision. I highly recommend this laptop. As a user it is serving me extremely well. For other VFX laptop users on the market, what hardware might you recommend?

P.S. I’m happy to answer any questions if you are on the fence with making a big purchase to improve your productivity on the go.