When referenced together, the use of the terms narrow-band and broadband, as well as their meaning, depend on the context in which they are being applied.
Most people would already be familiar with broadband as a reference to Internet access that gives them adequate speed and bandwidth to comfortably execute applications over the Internet, stream movies without continually buffering, or upload and download very large files in a few seconds.
In this context, broadband equates to the wide bandwidth and high speed transmission of data. The Federal Communications Commission’s (FCC) Household Broadband Guide, gives a rough indication of expected broadband speeds, based on the number of users or devices connected, and the class of usage.
In the guide, usage is classified as light, moderate, and high, depending on the bandwidth demands imposed by functions such as email and browsing, High Definition (HD) video streaming, or high demand applications.
It then offers a range of broadband speeds it considers are appropriate to cover the number of users (or devices) and the class of use. We generally consider the greater the speed and broader the bandwidth offered by an Internet service provider, the better the connection.
In this context, narrow-band would therefore infer Internet access that offers a slow, limited bandwidth connection, such as that provided with the old dial-up connections. One other difference between narrow-band and broadband in this context, is that broadband is an always on, always available service.
The phrase “more is better” would seem to fit nicely here. But there are also situations when the opposite is the case, and is in actuality, desirable. In fact, the terms narrow-band and broadband have been in use in telecommunications, well before the Internet came into being.
In this context, broadband refers to a wide band of electromagnetic frequencies.
With regard to the advancements in technology, and especially the move from analog to digital, if we take a look at two-way radios, narrow-band is preferable, since it allows more channels to fit into an allocated bandwidth range, or in the case of existing systems, to provide a better quality of service.
The FCC has authorized 22 channels in the 462 MHz and 467 MHz range for use by the Family Radio Service (FRS), a private two-way, short-distance voice and data communications service. The range is shared with the General Mobile Radio Service (GMRS), a land-mobile service, also used for short-distance, two-way communication.
Prior to 2013, channel bandwidth had been set at 25kHz, and going further back, it had been as wide as 50kHz. In 2013, a mandate by the FCC was introduced requiring all licensees to migrate to a 12.5kHz channel bandwidth.
Even though there has been a steady narrowing of the channel bandwidth, not surprisingly, the quality of the service has improved, as more efficient modulation methods are being developed and implemented. Some manufacturers have even come up with 6.25 kHz narrow-band radios that function just as well as the original wideband radios.
Among others, the benefits of using a narrower channel, are better channel separation, reduced transmit power requirements of two-way devices, and overall lower noise across the bandwidth, which in turn has provided better sensitivity and range.
Another case where narrow-band is desirable over broadband, is with Internet of Things (IoT) devices. IoT devices connect with other devices over communications networks, including the Internet, in order to collect and/or share data.
Narrow-band Internet of things (NB-IoT) is the standards-based low power wide area network (LPWAN) most commonly used by IoT technology developers.
Among other things, NB-IoT significantly improves system capacity and spectrum efficiency, limiting the bandwidth to a single narrow-band of 200kHz and subsequently allowing for high connection density.
Narrow-band systems are inherently less complex than broadband systems.
Broadband systems have more complex filters (filters are circuits or devices that are used to remove unwanted noise and to provide channel separation).
Broadband circuits require more filters in order to achieve a higher Signal to Interference plus Noise Ratio (SINR).
The probability of overlap with interfering signals is relatively low in narrow-band signals. As the bandwidth increases, so does the probability of interference.
In narrow-band systems, the transmitted energy is concentrated on a smaller portion of the frequency spectrum. As a result, channel to channel isolation is much better.
Broadband signal energy is distributed across a wider portion of the spectrum, making the signal weaker the wider it gets, hence requiring a higher Signal to Noise ratio (SNR). This makes broadband transmission and reception more difficult.
Power requirements for narrow-band are much lower. This makes them ideal for transmission over short distances.
Broadband systems offer much higher data rate transmissions and faster communication, whereas narrow-band systems are slower and offer far lower data rate transmissions.
Narrow-band signals usually have a far greater range of reception, as narrower filters can be used and therefore cancel out unwanted wideband noise. The transmitted energy also concentrates on a smaller portion of the spectrum.
Broadband has come to mean an always on, high speed, high capacity / wide bandwidth access to the Internet. Broadband access can be achieved over a number of connection media, such as coaxial cable, satellite, wireless, copper wire, and fiber optic cable.
Almost all Internet subscriber connections today are implemented over a broadband connection.
Ethernet on the other hand, refers to a physical, wired connection, and low level packet protocol framework that interconnects network devices.
Almost anyone who has used a wired connection on a network, will know of Ethernet cables that connect Personal Computers (and other devices) to a Local Area Network (LAN), usually via a network switch of some type.
Broadband generally refers to wide bandwidth data transmission. However, with almost all forms of communication and online services having taken the route of the Internet, it has become synonymous with high bit-rate Internet access.
According to the FCC, broadband refers to high-speed Internet access that is always on and faster than traditional dial-up access. The types of broadband Internet connections available, include Digital Subscriber Line (DSL), cable, fiber, wireless, and satellite.
DSL and cable are the most common form of broadband connection in the U.S. and UK for households, and fiber optic for large businesses. DSL uses the existing telephone copper cables already in place, while cable uses the coaxial cables used to deliver cable TV.
While most of us tend to think of Ethernet as only referring to the physical medium used in network connections, it also encompasses a low-level transmission protocol for data over that medium, that also includes error detection (but not error correction).
We’ll be taking a look at Ethernet cabling media and the protocol, before discussing what role it plays in broadband, and specifically, broadband internet access.
Ethernet network cables are classified according to their category, which is based on the bandwidth frequency the cable can handle, the maximum data rate supported, and whether the cable is shielded or unshielded.
Typical Ethernet LAN connection speeds of 10Mbps, 100Mbps, and 1Gbps, use Category 5 and Category 5e (more commonly referred to as Cat5 and Cat5e respectively) and Unshielded Twisted Pair (UTP) cables.
While Cat5 and Cat5e Ethernet cables are the most common, Cat6 (and specifically Cat6a) are now coming into more use as data transmission speeds begin to go well into the gigabit range.
An Ethernet, UTP cable, has four, unshielded twisted pairs of solid copper wires, terminated with RJ-45 connectors.
Ordinarily, with other types of telecommunications and network cables, shielding is used in order to cut down on noise and crosstalk from neighboring cables. With Ethernet Cat5 and Cat6 cables for speeds up to 1Gbps, this is achieved by sufficient twisting of each pair of wires.
Not having to shield the cables also helps keep the cost down, which is why this type of cable is so popular.
One limitation of Ethernet cables is that they cannot be used over long runs. The specifications for Cat5 and Cat5e cables, stipulate a maximum distance of 328 ft (100 meters) for error free operation at data rates up to 1Gbps.
Cat6a, also has a maximum range of 328 ft, but can handle data rates up to 10Gbps.
Going over the 328 ft maximum range does not mean that the connection will no longer work, but depending on the quality of the cable, the signal will start to degrade as the run gets further away from the source.
There are two measurements used to gauge the quality of a connection, Signal to Noise Ratio (SNR), and attenuation. Attenuation is a weakening of the signal as it travels further away from its source, while SNR indicates how strong the signal is compared to any noise on the line.
While we’ve dealt with the physical aspect of Ethernet, we also need to take a very quick and brief look at how data is transmitted over the medium, so as to understand how it fits in with broadband Internet.
At the lowest level, data sent over Ethernet is broken down and reconstructed into small packets called frames. Each frame contains the source and destination addresses, and includes a frame check sequence (FCS) used for error detection.
While any frames with errors are discarded, it is up to higher level protocols (typically at the Transport Layer in the Open Systems Interconnection model (OSI model)), to request the retransmission of lost frames.
While many ISPs are slowly converting their subscriber connections to fiber optic cable which will give subscribers gigabit Internet access, fiber optic cable is still an expensive medium, plus it will take some time to replace the copper wire cabling already in place.
Recent developments in Very high-speed Digital Subscriber Line (VDSL) technology have allowed providers to offer 100Mbps and higher, over the existing copper wire infrastructure.
VDSL2 and Super VDSL (also referred to as VDSL2-Vplus), can offer 150Mbps and 300Mbps respectively, on short loop runs up to 1000 ft (~300 meters).
Providers will usually install in neighborhoods, a Fiber to the curb (FTTC) cabinet, with a fiber optic cable connection from the data center, and then use the existing copper lines to provide a VDSL connection between the cabinet and the subscriber’s premises.
This type of run from the cabinet to the subscriber, is commonly referred to as Ethernet in the First Mile (EFM), and is covered by the IEEE 802.3ah standard. As long as the distance from the subscriber to the cabinet is inside the 1000 ft range, very high speed broadband connections can be offered.
So what does all this have to do with Ethernet? Well, remember we mentioned earlier that Ethernet is not just a cable specification, but also includes a data transmission protocol that breaks the transmitted data into small frames.
The Ethernet low level protocol is not only used over a LAN, or connection between a PC (or any other equipment connected via an Ethernet cable) and the Internet modem, it is also used on fiber optic networks, as well as broadband Internet over VDSL connections to customer premises (hence the term Ethernet in the First Mile).
The concept of accounting and retention of data related to accountancy has evolved alongside the inception of computerized systems as well as other technology used to compute and store data in a professional setting.
Taking on the form of cloud accounting, software has allowed clients, accounting firms and even corporations with their own internal accounting department to outsource the computing power and digital storage space required for accountancy to external cloud firms.
However, much like anything in the world of finance, cloud accounting comes with its own advantages and disadvantages, leaving the decision on whether to utilize this particular form of accounting software up to the client or accountant themselves.
Cloud accounting is a subgroup of accounting methodology wherein a cloud farm or similar corporation specializing in the hosting of financial information and accounting software provide their particular services to corporations and accounting firms.
This is primarily done in order to reduce overhead costs as well as simplify the process of storing financial information, of which is primarily communicated to the cloud’s servers via gateway or portal software accessible through an internet connection and any sort of computer terminal.
Additionally, cloud accounting is often found to be a far easier to understand method of personal accounting for individuals as opposed to more traditional accounting that requires clients to be physically present at an accounting firm or related computer terminal.
Cloud accounting is generally seen as a cheaper alternative to other forms of accounting and financial information storage due to the fact that the server maintenance costs, software licensing, utility costs and cost of operation are all outsourced to said cloud server farm.
Cloud accounting is used through the remote access of an online portal, either taking the form of software present on the client’s machine or through a web site directly connected to the cloud firm’s servers.
This, in turn, allows accounting related information to be retrieved from practically any machine with access to an internet connection, also working in reverse wherein accounting software made for computation and bookkeeping can be accessed in much the same way.
This allows cloud accounting to facilitate the general work of accounting and informational storage related to accounting, allowing quick and efficient access to relevant financial data from anywhere with an internet connection.
While cloud accounting is a relatively modern development and was practically built with efficiency and convenience in mind, certain factors and characteristics primarily relating to cloud accounting can instead act as a detriment, both to the client and to the accounting firm leasing the cloud accounting service itself.
The primary concern, especially in instances wherein the financial information being transmitted is considered sensitive, is that cloud accounting may be vulnerable to security exploits and similar unfortunate occurrences.
This can take the form of phishing site scams designed to fool a client, the use of various malicious programs installed on the client or accounting firm’s machines, direct data packet interception, or even simple social engineering.
External parties may wish to acquire the sort of financial information that is oftentimes stored and transmitted through cloud accounting and its subsequent servers, as said information can be incredibly valuable in the right hands, allowing individuals to perform calculations that would otherwise be impossible without said financial information.
Additionally, it is not only financial information that is usually stored in cloud accounting servers, with the particular type of information depending on the sort of software involved and the purpose of said software.
Data leaks can potentially be disastrous, not only for the client whose information has been released, but also for the cloud accounting service provider themselves, as information like individual personal details, internal memos and even proprietary software coding can all be acquired through security exploits.
While it is true that cloud storage servers utilized in the service of cloud accounting are secured to the best of the provider’s abilities, it only takes a single data leak or opportunistic hack to significantly damage the reputation and finances of clients and firms alike.
While it is true that cloud accounting is generally seen as less costly and more efficient than some other forms of accounting such as traditional accounting, cloud accounting service providers often charge a scaling fee that is dependent on the particular storage space, computational power and bandwidth being used by the client.
This, especially for large scale corporations or firms, can mount up over time, leading to large costs that admittedly may still be less than hosting a proprietary form of accounting software on the premises of the corporation or firm.
As the client of the cloud accounting provider grows in complexity and financial ability, so too will the costs associated with retaining the cloud accounting service, especially as more employees or users are brought into play in the form of additional clients.
Cloud accounting is primarily performed through the use of pre-programmed software, removing the presence of a human apart from that of the client.
This may be considered a disadvantage to certain clients or in some situations, as software can occasionally malfunction, potentially costing the client corporation or firm in terms of time and money.
However, it is likely that the majority of cloud accounting service providers retain some sort of customer service department in their corporate structure, as well as more specialized individuals that may act in a faciliatory capacity in the event of any sort of software or hardware malfunction.
Fortunately, particularly smart cloud accounting service providers often create redundant backups, both of the software itself and that of the client’s information, of which could possibly be accessed without the need for human supervision save for the client themselves.
It is true that cloud accounting is among the latest in hardware and software developments within the accounting industry, constantly being updated so as to add new features and patch any exploitable vulnerabilities that may be present in the programming.
However, like all technology, cloud accounting has its own limitations, with factors like internet connection speed, cellular data area coverage and even software design oversights all acting as potential roadblocks that prevent cloud accounting from reaching its full potential as an efficient and convenient accounting method.
This is not to say that these technological limitations will always be present, though, with the constantly developing nature of modern telecommunications and programming indirectly improving upon cloud accounting itself.
While not exactly a major disadvantage of cloud accounting itself, certain clients with specific needs pertaining to software function and data storage may find that the sort of software being programmed and leased by the cloud accounting firm is made with more of a general use in mind.
This, naturally, equates to cloud accounting software being unable to function in specific situations that it is not built for beforehand, necessitating either requests be filed with the subsequent coding department of the cloud accounting software’s developers or for the client to search for alternative software that can meet their particular requirements.
Though technically also considered a technological limitation, bandwidth limitation is the maximum total volume of information transferred between the client’s terminal and the cloud accounting servers at any given time, occasionally referred to as data limit or similar terms.
A standard business practice found in the cloud accounting software and storage industry is to charge clients depending on the level of service utilization they accrue during day to day operations. This, in turn, equates to clients becoming “soft-locked” by their own budgets in the event that they cannot afford the increased fees.
This means that the cloud accounting service provider will limit the amount of data storage and computational power the client can utilize, both to protect the provider from being unable to provide the same utilization to other clients and to prevent the clients from defaulting on payments.
1. Otilia Dimitriu, Marian Matei, Cloud Accounting: A New Business Model in a Challenging Context, Procedia Economics and Finance, Volume 32, 2015, Pages 665-671, ISSN 2212-5671, https://doi.org/10.1016/S2212-5671(15)01447-1.
2. Kinkela K., College I. Practical and ethical considerations on the use of cloud computing in accounting. Journal of Finance and Accountancy. 2013.
3. Abdalla, Peshraw & Varol, Asaf. (2019). Advantages to Disadvantages of Cloud Computing for Small-Sized Business. 1-6. 10.1109/ISDFS.2019.8757549.
4. Sun Y, Zhang J, Xiong Y, Zhu G. Data Security and Privacy in Cloud Computing. International Journal of Distributed Sensor Networks. July 2014. doi:10.1155/2014/190903
With the constant technological growth of software and hardware related to the field of accounting, certain branches of accountancy have been automated or otherwise facilitated through the use of said technology, changing the way accountants and related professionals go about their business.
In terms of accounting software and financial data storage, two of the primary methods utilized are referred to as cloud accounting and that of traditional accounting, both of which essentially serve the same purpose to both the accountant and the client themselves.
Cloud accounting and traditional accounting are two forms of financial data storage and accounting service software that facilitate or supplant many of the more basic functions of an accountant, though the method in which they do so differs between the two.
Cloud accounting or even cloud software in general is a type of computer program that outsources its data storage and general computations to an external system or network that the client and accountant may not be physically interacting with.
In simpler terms, cloud accounting most likely takes the form of a web page or similar internet accessible gateway that allows both the accountant and clients to input or retrieve information at will, so long as a functioning internet connection and terminal are present.
This is considered more efficient than certain other methods of accounting, as the calculations and responses of a computer are significantly faster and more accurate than that of a human.
Cloud accounting has begun to grow in popularity owing to its accessibility, both to non-professionals and large scale accounting firms, wherein it may facilitate any sort of financial function from a simple tax return calculation to the storage and management of thousands of financial statements.
However, concerns have been raised about the safety of said financial information management, as the method of utilizing off-site servers to host the software and data primarily uses the internet in order to transmit data, leaving it more vulnerable than traditional accounting.
Traditional accounting, on the other hand, is a method of accounting wherein bookkeeping information and similar financial data sets are stored either in hard copies such as printed receipts and invoices or are stored in a local hard drive, usually physically present in the place of business itself.
This can take the form of either a pen and paper wherein a bookkeeper or accountant directly records financial transactions and other information or it may instead be in the form of software installed and hosted entirely on a local terminal, likely without any source of external connection or outsourcing.
Traditional accounting usually requires that the accountant or client themselves be physically present - requiring the client to book an accounting consultation. One both parties are present they may interact with the terminal so as to input financial information or perform accounting calculations, oftentimes considered an inconvenience in comparison to cloud accounting and its general function.
While a hybrid form of traditional accounting exists wherein the software is stored within a network of computer terminals instead of a single machine, it is relatively uncommon and more frequently used in large scale corporations or accounting firms with multiple employees.
Cloud accounting, being a relatively new development in the field of accounting technology, presents a variety of benefits, both to the accountant and to their clients, with such things as remote accessibility and reduced overhead costs being a primary motivator behind the popularity of cloud accounting.
The primary benefit to utilizing cloud accounting software is the convenience of which it may be used, with online portals to remotely hosted cloud accounting servers being accessible even through a mobile phone or laptop, allowing clients of the accounting software company to access their financial data at any time.
Additionally, the storage of said software and financial data in an off-site server means that corporate entities and similar businesses need not own a physical space to store their financial accounting data, especially in comparison to the large expanse of space needed in order to retain physical hard copies.
This, as well as the fact that maintenance costs are shouldered by the software or cloud server owners, equates to significantly lower overhead and operating costs for the corporation renting said cloud accounting software.
Traditional accounting has its own unique set of advantages as well, making it an equally advisable method of accountancy for a variety of purposes.
The first and most notable benefit to traditional accounting is the secure nature of its data storage, with financial information generally being stored on the premises in the form of a physical hard copy or on a proprietary computer terminal without direct access to the internet, most of the time.
This equates to sensitive internal financial information like disclosures and financial appraisal statements being properly protected by the very function of traditional accounting itself.
However, this security may come at a price, as traditional accounting data can be subject to hazards like hardware failure and fires, all of which can result in a complete loss of the financial data stored therein.
This may be avoided through the use of backup copies or redundant systems that act as an insurance against the theft or loss of said financial information.
Another benefit involved in traditional accounting is the sustainability of certain methods used beneath the purview of traditional accounting, with certain kinds of book keeping requiring only a pen and paper or a single low power computer terminal.
Of course, this does not include the costs of maintaining a traditional accounting system, with expenditures like software licensing and computer maintenance occasionally being more expensive than simply leasing servers from a cloud accounting corporation.
Cloud accounting may truly shine in certain situations where ease of accessibility is essential, such as in the case of clients with highly mobile lifestyles or companies with international branches, necessitating the availability of said accounting software from anywhere in the world.
This is in addition to the fact that cloud accounting allows multiple clients or accountants to work on the same task at the same time, facilitating the coordination and collaboration of whole accounting departments or individuals in executive positions within a company.
Compounding on this collaborative ability, cloud accounting may also adapt and scale to the needs of the client, increasing in specificity and resource allocation as the client’s own needs grow. This may also occur in reverse, with corporate entities that are downsizing being able to reduce overhead charges as they utilize less of the cloud server’s computational and storage power.
Traditional accounting is best used in circumstances that require either a more secure method of financial recording or in the day to day function of smaller financial entities that do not require extensive book keeping and computation.
Considering the fact that traditional accounting is significantly more air-gapped than cloud accounting in terms of accessibility by external parties, traditional accounting is also an excellent way to ensure that only certain individuals within a financial entity are fully apprised of the inner workings of said entity.
Traditional accounting may also be used in certain situations wherein the financial entity or individual wishes to be the sole user and owner of their own servers or terminals, allowing them to make modifications and upgrades as they see fit.
This is especially relevant in instances wherein certain hardware or software configurations that are not normally found in the services provided by cloud accounting companies, such as server hardware designed in such a way as to only function with the use of physical keys.
Traditional accounting is, in fact, more expensive than cloud accounting owing to the costs of maintaining and purchasing hardware specifically for the purpose of accounting.
This is further compounded by the additional costs of software licensing, leasing or renting a physical location in which to store said hardware as well as the cost of constant maintenance and updating of the traditional accounting equipment.
Whereas in the case of cloud accounting, the individual or financial entity only needs to pay a subscription fee in proportion to the storage space and computing capacity they are using, with lower rates being charged for smaller uses of the cloud accounting company’s services.
1. Otilia Dimitriu, Marian Matei, Cloud Accounting: A New Business Model in a Challenging Context, Procedia Economics and Finance, Volume 32, 2015, Pages 665-671, ISSN 2212-5671, https://doi.org/10.1016/S2212-5671(15)01447-1.
2. Kinkela K., College I. Practical and ethical considerations on the use of cloud computing in accounting. Journal of Finance and Accountancy. 2013.
3. Aman, Aini, and Nahariah Mohamed. “The Implementation of Cloud Accounting in Public Sector.” Asian Journal of Accounting and Governance, vol. 8, no. Special Issue, Dec. 2017, pp. 1–6. DOI.org (Crossref)
4. Featured Imaged Editorial Credit ©photogranary/123RF.COM
3D rendering services, being an extremely versatile utility for producing computer generated imagery, are offered to a wide range of clients, from simple architectural students to expansive film studios with highly valuable external contractor partnerships.
However, much like many other services in similar industries, the particular monetary cost of 3D rendering is directly related to the level of quality that the end product may be as well as the complexity of said product.
Generally, most ordinary 3D rendering projects can come at a cost between $100 USD to $10,000 USD, an extremely wide range owing to the subjective nature of 3D rendering, the individuals involved thereof and the differences in rendering methods between 3D rendering artists.
Oftentimes these prices are carefully calculated and measured so as to provide the client the best quality end product for the level of compensation given, sometimes leaving the freelance renderer or rendering firm with only a thin margin of profit after operating costs are factored in.
While the exact definition of expensive is entirely subjective and may in fact be quite an acceptable price for the sort of rendering project being completed, there are several factors behind the reasoning of these rendering prices.
The first of which is the particular level of manpower and unique skill involved in producing 3D rendering projects. 3D rendering, though it is facilitated through the use of specialized software and automation scripts, usually requires at least one engineer or render artist to be present so as to act with creative and technical agency during the rendering process.
This is especially accurate in 3D rendering for sectors such as the video game industry and similar graphically intensive media, wherein one or even an entire team of professional render artists may work on a single scene so as to provide a photorealistic or otherwise high quality visual experience.
Apart from the manpower and skill used in creating high quality 3D renders, there is also the matter of the operating costs, both for the equipment used in said rendering project and in the management of an organization dedicated to 3D rendering.
3D rendering, especially completed within a reasonable length of time, requires significant processing power that is usually provided by top of the line computer systems equipped with specialized hardware such as graphical processing units and multi-threaded central processors.
These computer systems, being taxed to a crucial level, will draw large amounts of power so as to continue functioning at their maximum or near maximum capacity, and as such not only does using a 3D rendering system require a lump sum of money to build but also requires operating costs in the form of maintenance, cleaning and power usage.
Just like the particular monetary cost of 3D rendering, the electrical energy usage involved in creating a 3D rendered scene depends on the complexity of the project as well as the type of hardware used as a rendering system during the process.
Certain types of inefficient hardware parts may draw more power than is needed, especially if utilizing outdated software or performing in a capacity not ordinarily meant for the particular piece of hardware.
This is demonstrated well in cases such as the usage of true ray tracing calculations in graphical processing units that are not equipped to handle said calculations, wherein if the processor does not return an error, it will utilize large volumes of power to perform the complex calculations instead.
Generally, a non-industry standard computer system used by a freelance render artist or home amateur will only use approximately 600-800 watts per hour of rendering.
This figure, however, does not consistently apply to all forms of render projects, as stronger computer systems will likely utilize more energy per hour at their maximum capacity.
Keep in mind that the relative maximum capacity of a rendering computer is dependent both on the hardware it consists of and the software it is using, and as such it becomes difficult to estimate the exact amount of electrical power that will be consumed over the course of a rendered project.
3D rendering, while being a professional endeavor that oftentimes requires study and years of experience to master, is also completely available to amateurs that wish to explore the subject matter or to even begin working as a 3D render artist themselves.
Even using rudimentary home computers that are not specifically built for the purposes of rendering, it is entirely possible to create basic 3D renderings with the help of a few online tutorials, allowing amateur 3D renderers to create projects that they may require for little to no cost.
However, for 3D rendering projects that require a professional level of quality or must be completed within a certain length of time, it is best to outsource the work to external independent contractors or a firm specializing in computer generated visual works.
This is particularly important in cases wherein photorealistic graphical effects must be achieved in order to create the desired effect, such as in mass produced entertainment media or advertisements.
While there are doubtless a multitude of factors that come into play when discussing the particular financial, energy and manpower costs of 3D rendering, some of these factors are larger contributors to these costs than others, and as such may be manipulated to achieve the desired effect.
Generally, 3D rendering is paid either on a by rendered frame basis wherein the client compensates the 3D render artist or firm with each image or frame that is produced. This is usually done in instances where the client only requires snap-shot images of the render, or even multiple scene render images.
However, it is also possible for a client to instead pay the render artist or firm on a per project basis, with monetary compensation being dispensed once the entirety of the render project has been completed. This is more commonly seen in large-scale projects with a multitude of rendered frames, with the final output most likely being some sort of video or animation.
As previously mentioned in this article, the scope and complexity of a 3D rendering project is one of the defining factors that are brought to the table in concerns of the particular costs required in order to facilitate the completion of said render project.
This includes characteristics of the project like number of frames being rendered, the type of rendering and what sort of effects or computations will be included, as well as the particular processing power that will be required in order to complete the render.
Considering the fact that the majority of 3D render projects involve the use of custom 3D models produced by the 3D render artist or individuals employed within the render firm, it is entirely possible that particularly large scale projects with a multitude of modeled objects in its scenes will require quite a few individuals to create said models.
Apart from the creation of 3D digital objects, additional manpower may also be required if multiple scenes are being rendered concurrently or in the case of multiple plans being implemented simultaneously for the project.
In the event that the client’s 3D render project requires a deadline be met with only a relatively short length of time available, it is likely that more rendering systems will need to be dedicated to the completion of the project, necessitating a higher premium as more power and work hours are consumed.
This is mostly applicable to projects with multiple scenes or frames being rendered, as single frame or image renders often do not take very long at all, and most likely will only require a single processing machine be occupied by the rendering operation.
While there are doubtless a multitude of independent 3D rendering contractors with equal or greater skill level than those that are employed beneath rendering firms, it is usually best to contract to bigger organizations that specialize in large-scale projects if the render project to be completed is of a particular complexity - these organizations also likely make use of a render farm to complete these contracts.
This is due to the fact that large 3D animation works or similar rendering projects oftentimes require a full complement of 3D modelers, experienced 3D rendering artists, software engineers, hardware technicians and many other types of support staff in order to facilitate a large rendering undertaking.
However, 3D rendering freelancers often present lower premiums and require less compensation due to their lack of an affiliation with any large corporation or firm, reducing their operating costs and allowing them to offer lower prices for similar levels of quality.
3D rendering freelancers are best utilized for smaller rendering projects that do not require significant volumes of manpower and support.
1. 'Designblendz Team’ (August 15 2019) “Key Factors that Affect the Cost of Your 3D Rendering” designblendz designblendz.com
2. Badler, Norman I. "3D Object Modeling Lecture Series" (PDF). University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
3. Geng W. (2010) Artistic Rendering for 3D Object. In: The Algorithms and Principles of Non-photorealistic Graphics. Advanced Topics in Science and Technology in China. Springer, Berlin, Heidelberg. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-642-04891-3_5
The term render farm, in the context of computer-generated image rendering, refers to a set of computers of particularly high computing performance that are most often used to produce visual effects in cinema, three-dimensional modelling for architectural demos, and even cartoon animation frames.
Render farms are primarily created or rented by animation studios and architectural firms so as to facilitate their work, allowing a great deal of computations to be performed in a relatively short amount of time and at a level of which cannot be easily replicated by any one single computer system.
A render farm, by technical definition, is a set of computer nodes configured to compute at a parallel level, wherein animation and rendering is produced on a frame by frame basis utilizing the separated but organized processing power of each individual computer system.
A render farm is primarily facilitated by the delegation of computational tasks to each individual computer that is part of the render farm network.
Generally, a render farm queue managing software will instruct each computer as to the tasks required in order to render the animation, usually in the form of a single frame at a time. This automated form of delegation allows the render farm- at least to our human perspective- to perform the extremely complex calculations needed for per-frame sophisticated image rendering to occur nearly simultaneously.
Even in the event that the render farm’s computers have not been tasked with creating an image frame, their processing power may still be used in a variety of other ways, such as tasking them to render simply a small portion of a frame, several frames at once, or something with a non-visual output, such as physics engine simulations.
Unless the particular entity in control of the render farm has created the computer system network themselves, it is likely that the render farm is run and managed by proprietary software generally found to be server-side and otherwise only receives external input through controlled means from the client says Render Vision, a Melbourne-based rendering studio.
This is all the more applicable with the development of high-speed network render farms that do not require the client to be physically present with the render farm and may instead simply upload their unrendered work to a cloud storage network.
If the client has not simply purchased the render farm outright, it is most likely that the rendering farm’s proprietary owners will grant temporary software licenses to the client, especially if the farm must be physically set up away from their usual base of function, so as to facilitate legal use of the render farm and its computer programs.
Render capacity refers to the total processing power capable of being exerted by the render farm when fully operational. This particular statistic is of vital importance both to clients and the render farm’s firm as it refers to the speed and efficiency of which the render farm is able to work at.
A variety of factors may affect the particular render capacity of any one render farm system, with things like an excessive workload, insufficient processing power or even simply the ambient temperature of the server room adding to the length of time it may take to complete a single render operation.
Naturally, the relative quality of the rendering operation and its subsequent complexity will also increase the exact length of time it will take to bring to completion, with higher resolution images or three-dimensional renderings with excessive levels of post processing effects taking a significantly longer time to finish than simple two-dimensional single frame renderings.
As technology progresses, so do the industry standards for rendering capacity, with what was once a state of the art rendering farm being reduced to an outdated processing system unable to keep up with newly developed technology.
As such, rendering farms are continuously updated and its related software optimized to the absolute maximum. Even at a physical level, parts are often switched out as soon as new technology is approved for use in the rendering industry.
At a software level, render farms dictate the process of rendering through specialized software referred to as “queue managers”, either built into the particular rendering software the farm is utilizing or through an external program that acts directly on each individual computer in the network.
While this particular type of specialized software is not exactly needed, usually in relatively small render farms, it is far more efficient than manually dictating tasks to each and every local machine connected to the system.
This is especially true in render farms that use a loose network of machines that do not completely involve local machines, wherein factors such as slow connection and hardware differences make manual task dictation difficult.
However, if the render farm has all or most machines assembled and present on site or in close enough proximity to each other that a high-speed internet connection is not needed, queue management software is an excellent dictation solution.
As previously mentioned, render farms do not always need to dictate a frame render, and can otherwise command a computer to perform a variety of tasks that do not directly involve the compounding of a frame or post process effect.
The queue manager software is most often present on every single machine that is part of the network as well as an off-site or separate server that performs the computations required to dictate the tasks to said machines. This is done both to facilitate network communication between the computers as well as to reduce the processing impact of the software on the rendering farm’s primary rendering computers.
However, in the case of render farms that do not have all of most of their processing computers physically present on site or within close enough proximity to one another, certain options are presented that both facilitate the function of the render farm as well as communication between the machines and their prospective owners.
One of the key features related to these off-site render farms is an altered form of compensation billing that is given to the client, with advantages such as usage statistics and direct processing time and power utilization being reported both on the invoice and as an informational disclosure to the client that may lease the service.
Another key feature is the concept of crowd sourced processing power, wherein users may donate or be compensated for the usage of their personal machine as part of a network that utilizes their combined hardware to form a disjointed cloud render farm, much like a zombie botnet without the malicious implications involved.
However, this is quite uncommon, owing to the difficulty in synchronizing non-specially purposed processing machines with widely differing software and hardware. Apart from this, a crowd sourced render farm is also considered to be quite insecure, both for the client and the users’ machines.
Choosing to utilize a render farm in order to facilitate production of a rendering project or similar special use project is oftentimes an excellent choice, as it will not only safe the client money but also time, as the vast majority of render farms are run by experienced professionals with redundancies in place if any unfortunate events may come to pass.
This is especially paramount in the case of projects with hard deadlines wherein any late production of the product may be disastrous for the client. The use of a render farm not only accelerates the process of rendering but also completes it in a far more professional manner than would be possible for an amateur renderer.
While the particular time any type of rendering project will be completed depends on a variety of factors such as post processing effects, complexity, as well as the total available processing power related to the client, generally render farms are far more efficient and swifter than that of any ordinary lone computer.
Keep in mind that rendering is generally done on a frame to frame basis wherein a single machine is tasked with creating one frame at a time, meaning that the parallel processing accomplished by using multiple rendering machines at once far outclasses that of any single rendering machine, even if said machine is technologically more advanced to an extent.
Though it is true that the length of time any one computer will take to render a scene or frame depends on its particular hardware and the complexity of the render, it is without a doubt one of the most memory and processor intensive activities a computer or network of computers may perform.
This is due to the fact that photorealistic rendering involves a massive level of detail that the untrained eye is not able to discern but can immediately identify if it is missing in a render. Such things like reflections, light diffraction, anti-aliased shadows and raytracing are all paramount to creating a realistic and aesthetically pleasing render.
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3. Yao, Jiali & Pan, Zhigeng & Zhang, Hongxin. (2009). A Distributed Render Farm System for Animation Production. 5709. 264-269. 10.1007/978-3-642-04052-8_31.