Gridmarkets: Affordable VFX Rendering

Gridmarkets: Affordable VFX Rendering

Check our detailed interview with the guys from GridMarkets, who help to render some of the best 3d and VFX content on the web.

Check our detailed interview with the guys from GridMarkets, who help to render some of the best 3d and VFX content on the web.


GridMarkets was founded in 2011 by Mark Ross and Hakim Karim. The founders had been observing for years how the demand for computational power was escalating dramatically across a variety of industries. This was particularly pronounced in the VFX industry. On one hand, studios with vast resources were able to satisfy their increasing computational needs by investing into large data centers or by accessing expensive cloud resources that were at best challenging to set up. On the other, small and midsize studios were struggling with mounting infrastructure costs and complex cloud solutions, leaving them unable to compete. GridMarkets was born to address their plight – we aim to democratize the creative process by providing affordable and simple access to large studio calibre computational resources.

Steve Sanders – GM Logo


We provide animation and VFX artists and studios with a simple, fast, affordable and secure way to execute high-performance computing in the cloud. Through our platform, artists can access thousands of high-performance servers located in highly secure global data centers.

We are best known for our robust Houdini cloud rendering service, as we support both Mantra and Houdini to Arnold renders and simulations. But we also cover Cinema 4D and will soon roll out full support for Autodesk Maya and The Foundry’s Nuke.

Niels Prayer – Marvelous Machines

Rendering Farm

We support Houdini renders and simulations with dependencies, so at any given moment, you can find a wide variety of VFX and VR jobs running on our platform. Some projects are very large and highly complex; others are simple, small and straightforward.

Regardless of the scale and complexity involved, it’s exciting to see many innovative and forward thinking artists use our platform to run their jobs. A few examples follow.

Oscar winning VR Pioneer Kevin Mack, creator of Shape Space VR and the groundbreaking virtual reality projects, Zen Parade and Blortasia, has been using GridMarkets to render some new experiments and we were thrilled to showcase Kevin’s stunning imagery at Siggraph 2016.

Kevin Mack – Furry Blue Oyster Blort

GridMarkets also rendered a series of stereoscopic shots for GeoSim Systems, showcasing their new 3D city model of Vancouver, BC. The digital city model encompasses 15 sq. km with 1 centimeter visual resolution – the largest reality capture of this quality ever created.

Other projects created on the GridMarkets platform include a spectacular whitewater simulation by seasoned VFX Artist Oliver Zangenberg:

Also worth mentioning is Philipp Buschauer’s delightful “Shell in the Sand”, a short inspired by Pixar’s “Piper”:

Another example of great work rendered on our platform is Niels Prayer’s beautiful new video, “Marvelous Machines”, also rendered on the GridMarkets platform.


There is nothing to integrate… and this is one of the biggest reasons for the popularity of the service.

Setting up a Houdini project in the cloud is a really simple process that only takes a few minutes. There are only a few steps to follow: First of all, sign up via our website to access the service. Upon signing up you will receive a “Welcome” email that contains a link to a proprietary secure cloud syncing program, “Envoy”, and to the HDA that serves as the bridge between your local Houdini install and the GridMarkets platform. Installing Envoy and the HDA takes a few seconds. Finally, simply place the GridMarkets render node into your Houdini scene. This render node will allow you to launch your render process directly from the Houdini interface. And that’s it – you are ready to go!

It’s worth mentioning that you can watch plenty of video tutorials on using our service on our website. We have videos on how to get started, how to install the HDA, how to submit a render job to the GridMarkets platform and even videos on more complex issues such as our security practices.

If you still have questions, we are happy to answer them of course. Just email us at


Our minimum machine configuration is 12 cores (24 threads) at 3+ GHz with 64 Gb ram. We have thousands of these machines available. By default, 30 machines are assigned to all jobs – but for larger and more time sensitive jobs this can be adjusted as required.


We are always mindful of the budget constraints that studios face and that’s why we only bill only for the render and simulation power used – down to the second. There are no minimum usage periods and no hidden costs.

We charge by the machine-hour. A machine-hour is defined as one hour of rendering on a dedicated 12 core machine @ 3ghz/core with 64 Gb RAM. THe machine hour fee includes ALL costs including the cost of software licenses, CPU time, storage, bandwidth AND service. For example, if you’re doing Houdini-to-Arnold renders, there will be no need to pay for an Arnold licence. And you can store your files in the cloud at no extra cost while you work away on your project. Finally, our expert render wranglers will ensure that your render is successful – again at no extra cost to your studio.

We believe that our prices coupled with our quality customer service are the main reasons why we’re popular with a wide variety of artists and studios, regardless of the size of their business. It’s also worth mentioning that we support all types of Houdini licences, including Indie and Apprentice, so that artists have the freedom to create at any budget level.

Georgios Papaioannou – Nebula

Does GridMarkets require some special broadband connection to run?

No – but obviously, the faster your internet connection, the better. It is not uncommon for studios to upload multi-gigabyte project files to GridMarkets over standard public connections. Also, because our platform stores intermediate files for you free of charge, there is no need to download/upload these – thereby saving on bandwidth requirements and reducing the overall time to complete a submission.

Patricia Cornet, Head of Marketing at GridMarkets

Interview conducted by Kirill Tokarev

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    Gridmarkets: Affordable VFX Rendering