Hours of operation

Spring 2017
Jan - Apr

Monday - Saturday

8:30am - Midnight


9:30am - Midnight

You must have a valid SVA ID (with a CAD sticker) to use our facilities. Continuing Education Students do not have lab access beyond their class meeting time.

Full-time SVA undergrad/ graduate students currently enrolled in classes scheduled in the Computer Art Department may have lab access in non-restricted labs per availability. BFA Computer Art majors have priority access to all labs.

No food or drinks are permitted in our facilities.


Image Credit: Christian Haniszewki & Rogelio Olguin

The Qube Renderfarm

Students have a choice of various rendering solutions to meet their needs. It is important to choose the right tool for the right job. Our renderfarm is called Qube and it's well-suited to deliver the rigorous needs of 3D and 2D compositing rendering requirements. Primarily, Qube is set up for Maya render tasks, but it can also be used to process jobs from Nuke. Other software packages are not immediately supported and would have to be arranged with the PC System Administrator. In addition, certain larger jobs can be cleared to use not just the dedicated renderfarm, but the classroom computers as well. This process will require permission from the PC Systems Administrator.

Our facilities have at its disposal approximately 200 dedicated CPU cores on which to render Maya and Nuke projects. Qube is a very literal system, meaning that students must obey its conventions or it will not function correctly. Please do not operate from a false assumption about how the renderfarm works. Failure to use it properly can disable or corrupt the renderfarm's worker nodes, making it unavailable for other users. Abuse of the farm will result in removal of rendering privileges.

You must be signed off by the PC System Administrator or Renderfarm Manager (in the spring) prior to submitting work to the renderfarm. The renderfarm is available exclusively to BFACAD Seniors in the spring semester until the week of thesis output.

Download the Renderfarm Procedures and Guidelines PDF

What a Renderfarm does (and does not) do

A renderfarm is a group of computers that work together to render a heavy 2D or 3D project. it spreads out the work out among more CPUs. Where one CPU can render 1 frame at a time, a renderfarm can render as many frames at a time as there are CPUs available. The farm will not render individual frames faster, it simply divides the workload so more frames get done simultaneously. Please note that individual frame times on the renderfarm may take longer than an individual frame on your workstation, however the total aggregate time for the entire sequence should be faster than your workstation alone is capable of rendering.

A renderfarm cannot repair or solve rendering problems!

If a scene cannot be rendered or has rendering errors on your local machine, then it cannot be rendered on the renderfarm and may in fact crash the whole renderfarm. If the renderfarm cannot find the assets that the scene calls for (such as external textures, video clips, images and the like) problems will arise with mangled renders, "failed" errors or even renderfarm lockup. While powerful, renderfarms are not error tolerant. All errors are recorded by Qube, some causing the render to abort or the node to fail. Any error will result in Qube reporting that the render has "failed", even if your render finishes successfully.

All techincal errors must be corrected before scene files can be rendered on the renderfarm.

One good rule of thumb when using a renderfarm is to be organized. All of your resources such as your materials, maps, 3D models, vertex data, baked caches and image sequences need to be very well organized. It will take you quite a lot of time initially to set it up but once you project files are organized, you will save yourself time later. Go through your entire 3D database and organize everything into a well defined group of folders. Renderfarms prefer well-laid out project databases.

Download the Renderfarm Procedures and Guidelines PDF for a more detailed checklist