How to render a project online for free on Ranch Computing?

When you register, you’ll receive a free €30 rendering credits.
To make the best use of these free credits, we advise you to read this guide.

Step 1: Cost estimation

This step is not obligatory, but strongly recommended. It enables you to evaluate the cost of a render and understand how it is calculated.

To evaluate the cost of a project, simply use the rule of 3: enter the rendering time for one frame on your machine, the number of frames and the power of your machine. We deduce the calculation time and corresponding price on our servers.

When you make the estimate for the first time, it’s necessary to calculate the power of your PC. To do this, you need to run a benchmark utility. For CPU power: CineBench, for GPU power: Octane Bench. Power calculations only need to be performed once (as long as you don’t change your PC) and take less than 5 minutes. Make a note of this result somewhere – it’ll come in handy every time you need to make an estimate.

Lost in estimating a project? Don’t hesitate to contact our support team for guidance.

Tips :

  • I also use the cost estimator for my quotes to give my customers an idea of the price of the rendering.
  • if in your animation there are several passages with very different calculation times per frame, split the estimate into several parts to get the most accurate price. Often, the easiest way is to run several frames in the animation and find an average time.
  • the estimate is based solely on rendering time, and does not take into account scene loading time. For an animation, this is often negligible, but for a still image it can have a major impact.
  • In practice, we often skip this step and refer to similar projects already completed to get an idea of the price.

Step 2: launch rendering on the farm

To transfer your scene to our farm you need to install 2 tools developed by Ranch Computing: RANCHsync and RANCHecker.
RANCHsync is the tool that manages the upload of your scene and the download of rendered images.

RANCHecker integrates into your software as a plug-in. RANCHecker is available for 3dsMax, Cinema 4D (C4D), Maya, Blender and Houdini. Please read the installation guides specific to each software if you encounter problems during installation. RANCHecker communicates with RANCHSync to upload your project directly to the farm via RANCHecker’s “Upload RANCH” button.

The RANCHecker plugin has several functions:

  • check the compatibility of your scene with our calculation nodes.
  • warn you about compatibility problems.
  • advise you on the corrections to be made.
  • create an archive of your scene and its dependencies.

Once validated, you can upload the archive created by the RANCHecker directly from your software to our servers using RANCHsync.

You choose your rendering priority at this point. The rendering priority defines the maximum number of servers available for calculating your images and your place in the queue if one exists. With a high priority: you have more servers and you have priority in occupying the farm.

If for security reasons linked to your company you cannot install RANCHsync, you can use our website to upload the archive.

Once the archive is on our site, we carry out a validation render (at reduced size) to ensure that everything goes as planned. If validation is not successful (invalid project), an error log is available in your account. However, the RANCH support team is at your disposal should you require any further information, or if anything is unclear, with the aim of resolving the problem and calculating the project successfully.

Tips : for very large scenes you can use an FTP transfer and update only the elements that change.

Stage 3: monitoring the progress of the rendering

From your dashboard on the website, you can monitor the progress of your project.
I like to keep an eye on the first few frames to see if the calculation times are consistent and if the image is correct. If a problem is detected, you can also ask for the rendering to be stopped.

Tips :

you can resubmit a project that has already been uploaded. This feature allows you to :

  • output a half-resolution animation for validation.
  • output selected frames in full def. animation for validation.

Then we can relaunch the whole project in full def and with all the frames.

The project report gives us an indication of the calculation time per frame. It should be noted that when the scene is first loaded onto a node, the time consumed is longer.

Step 4: Retrieve your rendered images

There are several methods available:

  • RANCHsync is the simplest tool. It allows frames to be downloaded in real time each time they are calculated on the farm. It’s transparent and simple. You can deactivate the automatic download and run it manually if you wish and even filter the frames you want to download first.
  • an associated FTP account is created for each project, so you can use an FTP client to upload your images.
  • A web download is also available, but it is not very practical for a sequence of images, as you will have to download the images one by one.

Further information…

What is a Render Farm?

A render farm is:

  • people who know the world of 3D and its needs.
  • a support team led by 3D artists.
  • the development of tools to facilitate the transfer and recovery of data between your machine and the rendering farm.
  • and of course powerful, available servers 24/7.

Why use a Render Farm?

A render farm is a booster for your creativity and your company. It allows you to:

  • do more iterations during your creative days to exchange ideas with your team and improve the quality of your images.
  • take on contracts that you wouldn’t have been able to handle on your machines.
  • quickly free up your machines to tackle new creations and lower your electricity bill at the same time.

What are the factors to consider when choosing a Render Farm?

Computing power and availability

This allows you to get your images quickly during the creation phase so you can improve them.
During the final rendering phase, the high availability of the servers combined with their computing power means that all your frames can be supplied very quickly for compositing.

Ease of use

The Ranch tools are designed to make access to the farm as seamless as possible. It’s a natural extension of your studio.

Security and confidentiality

We are aware of the importance of confidentiality in the processing of your images. Your files are destroyed after 15 days on our servers. We can sign NDAs and set up encryption protocols if you wish.


A render farm without support from 3D artists is not a render farm worthy of the name. As soon as a problem appears on our monitoring, the 3D artist in charge of the software checks your scene and the renderings so that you have your images as quickly as possible.

Software compatibility

The development team and the IT team work together to support and deploy new software and plugins versions in our data center.

Prices / Free

Several price offers are available on the Ranch: prices adapted according to delivery priorities, volume purchases offering a 53% discount, academic offers, etc. See our prices page