SaaS for Animation and VFX is a milestone development for us. Check out in-depth analysis.
Full form of SaaS is ‘Software as a service’.
Like many other latest developments, it also belongs to cloud based computing technology. Apart from SaaS for Animation and VFX, other related technologies are Infrastructure as a service (IaaS), Platform as a service (PaaS), Managed software as a service (MSaaS), Backend as a service (BaaS), Information Technology Management as a service (ITMaaS) and Mobile Backend as a service (MBaaS). Companies are developing many more SaaS applications to cater various business avenues.
Cloud based computing technologies are changing the overall business world on rapid speed. Not only in Animation and Visual Effects industry, but these are also useful in arenas like Accounts, Architecture, Database processing, Sales, Education, Gaming, Designing, Cryptocurrency mining and many others. It has huge potential for continuous growth and much more advanced technology developments.
What is SaaS?
As stated earlier, SaaS is acronym of Software as a service. So, you don’t need to buy any expensive software and hardware. Software is hosted on cloud storage of SaaS provider. You access the software and its complete computation power through any standard web browser. As per pre-defined rate card, you pay the software company to use it for particular time period. You pay for the web-based software only as much you want to use it.
You can also call it rental scheme or leased software. Using duration can be hours, days or months. What is required here is high speed internet connection, which is very common now-a-days. SaaS is like instant karma: connect through internet and start your work. SaaS belongs to the genre of cloud products. It is subscription based approach. Such on-demand software utilization system cuts down initial investment cost drastically. Technically, it can be called as zero infrastructure system.
In our Media and Entertainment industry, the major sectors which will benefits from SaaS are motion pictures aka feature films and various other digital media productions like games, OTT (Over The Top) content and advertisements.
How SaaS works?
The standard pipeline of SaaS is:
– All the softwares are hosted on cloud storage of the parent software company.
– User access it through any supporting web browser client and do sign up / login.
– Various softwares are listed with parameters of its functions and prices as per duration of use.
– User selects particular scheme as per work demand and do payment.
– User gets ‘license’ of the software for specified duration.
– The software has same look and feel like it is installed on the local drive. The only difference here is that user is operating entire software through a web browser.
– All the computing happens in the back-end infrastructure of software company’s cloud server.
– User can save file locally or on cloud / drive.
– If user requires more time, he/she can make new payment to continue.
Now, what you need is just a laptop, standard web browser and fast internet connectivity. Imagine yourself doing GPU extensive Houdini particle simulation through web interface, sitting in your favorite coffee shop.
Examples of SaaS for Animation and VFX industry:
Majority of our Animation and Post Production Studios are still following tradition approach of software installation on physical hardware. But, there are some early adapters who pushed the envelope to make such thing possible. These players of SaaS in Animation and Visual Effects are:
– Adobe Creative Cloud Suite (Complete package of Adobe softwares)
– Foundry Athera (Project Elara) (Post production pipeline of your virtual studio on cloud)
– Zync Render (Cloud based / online rendering solution using Google Cloud Platform. Supports Maya, 3ds Max, Houdini, Cinema 4D and Nuke)
– Media Shuttle (Cloud based file sharing and sending software by Signiant)
– Fox Renderfarm (Cloud Rendering and Cloud Computing Platform from Rayvision)
– Clara.io (Online 3D Modeling and Rendering software)
– RebusFarm (Cloud rendering service for 3D Animation and VFX)
– ftrack (Cloud based project management solution for Media & Entertainment Industry)
– Renderforest (Create production quality animations and online videos in web browser)
– RADiCAL (AI based Motion Capture System without suits and hardware)
– CL3VER (Interactive 3D Presentation and Animation)
Benefits of SaaS:
There are various key advantages of SaaS.
- Needless to say, it is very easy to use, compared to physical software and hardware setup.
- You don’t need high configured GPU powered machines. As SaaS works on web based software method, there is no need of buying, installing, maintaining and upgrading of heavy budget setup. Such cloud product mechanism lowers your cost. You pay as you go.
- The cloud server of software company provides computational power to your work.
- You get realtime collaboration of artists sitting across the globe. Gone are the days of making low resolution render, uploading and downloading it for review and correction purpose. Due to cloud enabled technology, required artists can work on same shot and tweak parameters instantly, even though they are geographically distributed in various post production studios. Such faster artist engagement will incredibly speed up the turn around time of VFX pipeline.
- Your data remains secured online as it requires proper authorization to access it. You can add more layers of security by increasing number of authorization / login steps.
- SaaS works on remote application hosting module. So, a software is hosted on cloud server itself, all updates and patches are executed instantly. No more issues to deal with unwanted software bugs.
- All softwares are tightly integrated on cloud based platform. So, there is no concern of data loss.
- You can continue your work from anywhere, using any device. You start your work from office and continue it at home / travelling at your ease. No need to upload / download / copy in flash drive / mail your last saved work.
- SaaS is hosted on cloud platform of parent software company. They take care of all technical details such as performance, processing, data security, regular software update, data transfer, privacy policies and other maintenance related issues. So, the artist cant completely focus on creative aspects of the project.
- For every individual user, there is an unique copy of software, stored by user id. So, artist is free to change key board shortcuts and user interface as per his/her workflow. Such customization gives same experience of working on locally installed software.
- Some Saas for Animation and VFX companies provide free trial version. You must do your initial R&D during this period, so you don’t waste your money after paying for it.
- Software company can attract new customers which were working on alternative packages, because then didn’t wanted to spend huge amount on software license purchase. Such rental system makes it affordable to create new customers for future and may be, for lifetime.
- Cloud based SaaS system is very much easy for scalability without hampering current workflow and projects.
- Various options of automatic data backup are available. So, hard disc or software crash will not corrupt your project file.
- No more blue screen! (Windows users knows it)
- For advanced users, cloud base SaaS companies also provide APIs (Application Program Interface) to create customized version or update the regular one with macros / gizmos / plugins.
In a nutshell, SaaS for Animation and VFX is win-win game for software companies and post production studios. Software companies retain their customers and can continuously grow new customer base. Post production studios don’t need to burn their pockets for buying and deploying expensive software and hardware setup.