How to correctly calculate the cost of rendering on our farm – and get a discount

How to correctly calculate the cost of rendering on our farm – and get a discount

In this article we’ll tell you how the cost of rendering on our farm is calculated and how to do it correctly, without forgetting about special discounts.

The cost of rendering depends on 3 main components: machine hours amount, selected plan and volume discount.

Machine hours amount – is the amount of time it takes to render a project or a scene multiplied by the number of servers involved in it. To calculate it, you need to know the approximate time of rendering one frame and the total number of frames.

Plan – your plan defines the basic cost of a single server’s work and the overall number of servers to be used in rendering of your scene. The more servers working, the faster you’ll receive the result. But as they say - “time is money” - and you’ll have to pay more for a better plan.

Discounts – discounts are calculated using a special formula. The more machine hours used – the bigger the discount.

By multiplying these three components, we calculate the cost of rendering of your scene or project.

Let’s now take a look at how to correctly calculate the cost of rendering on our render farm using MegaCalculator.

The hardest part is to accurately assess the amount of machine hours required to render your scene. It’s almost impossible to predict how much time it will take to render it, so it can only be estimated.

Case 1. You need to render N frames, each of which takes 5 minutes. We multiply 5 minutes to N and divide it by 60 – this is our number of machine hours.

Case 2. You have one or several scenes, and rendering time noticeably fluctuates depending on the frame and camera. This means we have to figure out the average rendering duration of a frame. Several key frames should be rendered first, including the “lightest” and the “heaviest” ones. Ideally, all the frames should be rendered through with a certain step (f.e. each 50th or 100th frame). After that the rendering time is summed up and divided by the number of frames. This average is multiplied to the number of frames needed to receive machine hours.

Case 3. You need several large images rendered. You’ve already rendered similar scenes on your computer and can tell an approximate time it took. This case is not that different from case 1, just make sure to add a small time margin.

Case 4. You need several large images rendered and have no idea how long it would take, because it is not rendering on your computer at all. In this case science is powerless, and it usually means lighting was configured incorrectly and there are too many polygons in the scene. Such a scene is hard to render even on a render farm and it will cost a lot. If your scene was done in 3ds Max with V-Ray, we can recommend using SolidRocks plugin which will automatically adjust materials and lighting in the scene.

So, if you project falls into first 3 cases, you were able to calculate the amount of machine hours for your PC. To figure out how much time it will take on the render farm, open our calculator and choose:

- your CPU and it’s frequency

- choose an average time of rendering one frame on your PC (for animation), or an approximate time of rendering an image (for static images)

- specify the number of frames

As a result you’ll receive a table, that shows how many machine hours will be required to render your project on our render farm, how much it will cost and what discount you’ll get.

How does MegaCalculator work

Knowing the time it takes to render one frame, the calculator simply multiplies this number with the amount of frames to calculate the cost.

Let’s make our example a bit more complex – the rendering time is fluctuating depending on the position of the camera in the scene. In this case we have to count the average time of rendering of one frame by taking a choice of tiles with a step = N (for example, in animation, the step could be 50). Though we can cheat a little bit, and just take the fastest and the slowest frame, add their render time and divide by two – this will be our average rendering time. Multiplying this average by the total number of frames will give us the result in machine hours.

It’s important to notice the distinction for calculating the cost in online service. Be aware, that if your project contains 1500 frames, and you test rendered just several of them, you’ll only see the cost of rendering these frames WITHOUT a discount for the whole project. So rendering all the frames won’t cost this same amount, it will change. The bigger the project, the bigger the discount. You can always use our MegaCalculator to approximate the cost.

Important. Discounts are applied not for replenishing your balance (as on many other render farms), but for the whole project. So the more you render, the bigger the discount is going to be. No overcharging. Only bonuses for your project.

If you are still having trouble with calculations, contact technical support via e-mail: or via Skype: megarender.

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