London-based VFX boutique Milk Visual Effects recently added a second studio in Cardiff, Wales. With a capacity of 120 artist seats and a nearly 200 node render farm between its two facilities, Milk relies on Thinkbox Software‘s Deadline for scalable high-volume compute management across projects and locations.
Founded in 2013, a regular day at the Milk office can entail anything from blowing up buildings to giving life to the supernatural.
“Choosing the right tool to manage our render farm was a key decision in forming Milk, so we looked at all our options and ultimately found that Deadline best suited our needs,” explained Milk head of systems Dave Goodbourn. “We’d all used the software before and loved it. Thinkbox takes its development very seriously and they’ve created a really amazing product that you can trust. We essentially formed our studio pipeline around Deadline.”
Whether creating massive crowds or complex simulations, every Milk artist uses Deadline on a daily basis, even if they might not realize it. “We process a ton of data through Deadline across a lot of different applications like Nuke and Maya, and we’re always looking for more to add. From caching animation to creating slap comps, converting frames and transcoding, we pass it all through Deadline so our artists don’t have to spend time waiting for commands to execute,” said Milk head of pipeline Benoit Leveau.
Deadline helps Milk bridge its two locations and be ready to spool up additional resources in the cloud at a moment’s notice. With machines in London and Cardiff, Deadline not only links the local farms to form a single, unified workflow but can also extend to cloud platforms for added processing power. This enables the company to leverage any combination of physical resources, both on and off-site, and cloud resources as one cohesive farm that can grow to meet production demands.
“We’re continually evolving and taking on new jobs with specific needs, so it is important that we have a solution that scales. Deadline accommodates more than enough nodes. We never have to worry about overtaxing our pipeline,” Goodbourn said.