YellowDog is brainchild of Gareth Williams. Read all that you want to know about YellowDog in his exclusive interview.
Gareth Williams is the Founder of YellowDog, a revolution in rendering for 3D artists and animators. The YellowDog platform gives you access to hundreds of thousands of cores across multiple providers, but with none of the hassle of setting up with multiple vendors. YellowDog rendering application takes care of it all for you. Check out the official website.
Following an MEng in Information Systems Engineering from the University of Durham, Gareth cut his canines working in software and telecoms at companies including Orange, Experian QAS, FREEDOM4 and Arieso, where he was part of the Management Team that completed the successful sale of the company to JDSU in March 2013 for $85m.
One day he had a brilliant idea for using spare mobile capacity which, following a chat with someone in the Animation department at the University of the West of England, gave birth to what is now YellowDog. When not coming up with brilliant ideas, he is a dad, a keen cyclist, an ardent reader, a Samaritans Listening Volunteer. He also likes beer.
Hi Gareth, welcome to The Virtual Assist. Please brief regarding your academics.
Thank you for having me.
I graduated from the University of Durham in the UK with a Masters Degree in Engineering (I focused on Information Systems Engineering). Since then I’ve picked up various project management, product management, marketing and agile software development certifications and qualifications.
After going through variety of products, why do you zeroed on ‘3D Rendering’ as your endeavor?
3D rendering was the first application I decided to target because, during the research phase for YellowDog, I was lucky enough to meet a few 3D artists and animators who were able to tell me how hard rendering can be.
I live in Bristol, in the UK, the home of Aardman Animations (and Wallace and Gromit) and one of the prominent animation, tech and creative clusters in Europe. As I spoke to more and more 3D artists in Bristol, I learned how they spent hard time with rendering, especially if you need to outsource it to a render farm or to the cloud. I learned how people are doing more and more rendering and how time critical it is. Given I had a solution to this problem, it sounded like the right market to start with.
Plus, the people in this industry, and what they create, are amazing.
YellowDog is not just one more rendering application. Tell us in much needed detail, how it is different from peer competition.
You’re right – YellowDog is a platform that allows 3D artists and studios, large and small, to access what we call Limitless Compute.
The YellowDog Platform is able to securely harness under utilized computer power from data centers and public cloud providers all over the world. This means that the amount of compute we have access to is almost limitless, unlike other companies that may be limited to a single data center or region.
It’s been very important to me that we build YellowDog so that it’s super-easy to use by animators (their job is hard enough already) – just two clicks of the mouse is enough to send a render job securely to YellowDog (there’s no need to change any of your paths or names of your assets). We’ve also developed some technology that makes transferring those assets needed for rendering very efficient, speeding up render start times. And when the renders are done, they are securely and automatically downloaded to whatever location the artist desires.
Up until now, rendering in the cloud has been unpredictable: it’s hard to control costs as well forecasting how long the renders will take. YellowDog 3D rendering platform changes this and we are proud to offer fixed rendering costs, as well as being able to commit to a deadline to complete the renders.
I’m also very proud of the service we offer our customers. We have a team of in-house render experts, including our very own render wranglers, who are on hand to assist when things don’t quite go according to plan. Because, as we all know, rendering isn’t easy!
What were major breakthroughs during development of YellowDog?
The major breakthrough was really when we got our first major customer rendering on YellowDog. This was back in February 2016 and they had 315 32-core nodes from two different data center providers rendering for a month.
It showed how easy YellowDog was to use, how we could scale quickly, and also how we helped them deliver to their deadline.
YellowDog logo is quite smart. Let us know about it.
It started with the values that I wanted my new company to embody:
- Fun loving
YellowDog, as a brand, personifies these values.
From a design point of view, I like the bold clean lines of the logo and the slightly cheeky little dog smile it has (the YellowDog isn’t male or female, it’s YellowDog). Also the fact it’s a flat 2D design is a good contrast to the amazing 3D work we render.
How YellowDog is catering industries other than 3D Animation and VFX?
We’re just starting on this part of our journey. YellowDog, as a platform, is very good at quickly processing big CPU and GPU batch compute jobs. There are many industries that have batch compute jobs that often run late: banking, telecommunications, retail, healthcare, advanced engineering.
We’re now starting to work with some of the largest global banks to see how YellowDog rendering application can help them.
According to you, what makes a robust and successful ‘brand’?
It’s sticking to your promises.
A brand symbolizes a set of promises to their customers. If, for instance, YellowDog wasn’t reliable then we wouldn’t be successful.
Please share your own leadership / management / team building exercises, which have been core elements of your striking professional and personal life.
From a personal leadership point of view, I think it’s incredibly important that you live the values and behaviors you want your team to follow. If you don’t, I don’t think you can complain when your team under perform. I believe that you get the best out of a team when you are able to set them a goal, give them ownership of solving the problem, and, within defined constraints, let them go achieve that goal. It’s important that, as a leader or manager that you constantly monitor, provide feedback and encouragement, and then praise the accomplishment when it’s due.
I also think it’s very important to relax: with family, family, through exercise, doing personal projects, reading, whatever really works for you. I particularly like a pint in the pub!
What have been major credentials of YellowDog till date?
We’ve won a number of awards since we started: Innovation and Disruptive Technology Awards from Oracle, Startup of the Year and so on. However, I’m most proud of the fact that we now have over 1,000 businesses signed up to our platform from over 30 countries across the world and every day we help artists and studios meet their commitments to their clients.
Kindly share your future plans.
World domination (evil laugh)!
Seriously, I want to continue to grow our render business across the world, I want to take YellowDog into new markets – the first being banking – and I want to do it in the right way: where we continue to keep our promises to our customers and build an amazing business.
The Virtual Assist thanks Gareth Williams for this amazing interview. Check out some of the best rendering outputs and production workflow of YellowDog 3D rendering application.