What kind of PCs do VFX makers use?

There are many answers to PCs playing the game, but not much information on the ones that make the game…I am curious what kind of a computer does well with things like Fume or Maya 8-10 hours a day. Can a 6700k do well or is having a 6-8 core vastly beneficial? Does having 32-64 vs 16 gigs of 3200 make a giant difference?,Does a Quatro/Fire do anything for you over just a GTX/RX or is it really only good for AutoCAD?

More ram the better, a current gen i5 or higher, we have gtx 970’s in our machines because we develop for VR and that’s the minimum card we need to run the games. Other larger studios that do lots of realistic fx might have a dedicated machine or render farm for rendering out sims. I can usually get moderately high particle counts and dense fume grids with the setup. Quadro cards now are only needed for running stuff like realistic fur and hair and high polycount scenes. Higher end gaming cards work well for developing.

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Cool! Do you have any examples of companies with renderfarms for sims? I’ve only ever seen distributed light baking but never simulations or rendering.

Maybe not full blown production render farms, but maybe a studio with lots of fx and more specialized artists? If I had to take a guess, maybe someone like Naughty Dog or Bungie would have the resources for that.

I could ignore it, so inb4 you could just ignore it.
but I am not fond of these “what kind of hardware should I get/are you using” topics.
Thats like asking a painter what brushes they use, or if the canvas was bleached or a more natural kind of cloth.
It doesnt matter, its the results that matter.

You could argue that a good build helps with rendering sims, but an older computer can do those same sims (within reasoning) it just takes longer.

Anyways, I see these questions on quixel, substance, unity, ue4, photoshop, 3d coat, zbrush, houdini, etc, etc forums/facebook/reddit groups and besides being 99.9% pointless and useless, imho they dont belong on a forum where we discuss VFX, not RAM, SSD, HDD, and all that stuff for which about a million websites and threads are already available.

I take it you don’t run many heavy, realistic sims right?

Good for you, tell those damn painters and their shoptalk, in a shoptalk forum! They should know better. They should all just use crayons and do their paintings dot by dot. It just takes longer.

Am unfamiliar with VFX, the answer I got wasn’t the same as the generic responses I did get from “PC” places. Being entirely new, I asked the experts just incase I am unaware of something. I also don’t visit those websites since I don’t have PC that can handle any of those programs at the moment, the most this has is MS Paint :blush:

This forum made me want to dive into the VFX field so I wanted a comp that could do the job since all of you were so much more experienced. Apologies, I’ll be sure to look on those sites

I asked here kind of the same question you are asking but i was targeting on a GPU. If you are a real time vfx developer its reasonable to understand that you will work in “real time rendering pipeline” (google it if you want to learn more and how its different). The answer I got here related to my question is fair enough to pass it on to you as well. If you make a game that runs only on a million dollar machine because you have it but nor considering your target-audience’s rigs (an average gamer) so your work is useless or perfect for a specific kind of audience. Back to rendering, thing is all your resources will be soaking GPU power and the VRAM it has. So the better RAM and VRAM you have the better the bandwidth to communicate between the CPU and GPU. Therefore balance those three elements to fit your budget. If you are a full offline rendering guy that only use CUDA because you can so put your money on as many CPU cores you can. Hope I can help you further.

Also depends what you are doing if you are a programmer or artist, Houdini works fine with a gamming rig and also any other 3d package Software you will find . Quadro is perfect for calculating floating points in your viewports but not for GPU rendering

EDIT: RAM is good also for caching your data without writing to it to disk. but you don’t need to buy a lot of ram. just learn tricks and most of the average 2016 technology will give you more then enough.


Yeah, there was an article on “Gameratsu?”, I forget the actual name, but it was a coder explaining differences in comps, system, class, micro levels of how code for games leads to possible holes in optimization due to the nature of different systems.

My main concern was rendering times, and would X item slow the program to the point where I would be frustrated. I didn’t do 4K gaming, I have no idea how different resolutions affect VFX or actual game development since I didn’t think it was just a simple upscale from the original resolution. I tried asking tech experts, but they say Quatro only helps in rendering (they mean generally all, not specific like Travis had mentioned), but then artists tell me much more indepth answers. I have a budget so had to be sure of every piece. Everyone here says no to Quatro since I’ll be doing more all-purpose (because I am newb). 4/5 on oc.net and Tom’s Hardware will say it’s good for rendering compared to GTX – 1/5 will say Quatro is only good for CAD, makes no sense for 3D animation. This is why I asked

rendering time you mean FPS, we don’t measure rendering time in a cigarette break. We measure by how many frames we can push into one second.
if you are interested in graphics engineering I can explain you shortly that the resolution decides how many pixels you need to calculate for every frame. for optimizations there are many approaches from mesh optimizations to textures to shaders to shit load of aspects that smarter people will teach me everyday.
let me ask you a question before you keep asking because you shoot everywhere and that’s good, but step by step.
do you have any experience with game developing or 3D in general? (that would be easier for me to guide you then) ^^.

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It’s good for rendering computationally heavy scenes in a 3d package like Maya or Max in a CG production environment; the kind of stuff you’d see in Avengers and Avatar. This is relative though, as it will only save you a second or two per frame for rendering, but in scenes that are running collision sims or very dense particle sims that are being rendered for days or weeks, this could save you hours or potentially days. There is nothing that I know of that a vfx artist in a game studio would need to render for days, not even effects for a real-time cinematic.

There’s a really good thread on polycount about this: Upgrading or building a new PC? This is the thread for you! — polycount
For me personally a beefy gaming pc with some extra ram does the job really well.


Similar to the link above, there’s also this guide from Logical Increments that provide you some alternatives depending on your budget.

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