Where did Tangent Animation’s journey into the cloud begin?

As early adopters, Tangent Animation first utilized AWS for their rendering capabilities. With cloud rendering enabled and augmenting their in-house render resources on their second feature film, a Netflix Original, ‘Next Gen’, the team was able to make creative changes later in the production than if they had utilized only on-premises render hardware. Instead they were able to achieve this, while also completing the three million render hours required to meet their project’s tight deadlines.

After successfully delivering the project on time with AWS cloud rendering and realizing that a lot of their on-premises workstations needed to be upgraded or replaced, they said making the move to virtual workstations was the next logical step.

“We can work anywhere, anytime, with any artist, and are able to move from capital expenditures to operational expenditures to better fit the cashflow realities of animation and digital media production.”

– Jeff Bell, COO at Tangent Animation

How have virtual workstations improved their ways of working?

With big projects like Next Gen in their workflow, Tangent Animation found themselves needing to collaborate with lots of remote artists. Set up with AWS Virtual Workstations, powered by NVIDIA® Quadro® technology and T4 Tensor Core GPUs, the whole process was simplified. From the flexibility of scaling the team as required to using top talent, regardless of where they are in the world, the shift was an enabler for creativity. Jeff Bell, COO at Tangent said, “Remote artists may not be able to move to one of our facilities in Toronto or Winnipeg, but they desperately want to work on the show, and we desperately want to work with them.”

Another game-changer for Tangent Animation was adapting their software and hardware needs, and crucially, only paying for what they used. Jeff Bell said, “The ability to scale up and down the solution the artist is using, depending on the tasks that they're performing in that particular day or week is very, very interesting. That's obviously something you can't do with on-premises hardware.” He went on to say, “With virtual workstations, we can state that only 10% of the time we’re going to use this type of hardware and the rest of the time we’re going to use something at a different level. It provides incredible flexibility for costing.”

Of course, data security was another key factor for them – and with the freedom to outsource to remote artists around the globe, the risk of breaches could have been high. However, Tangent Animation’s AWS Virtual Workstations operate by using the streaming protocol, Teradici, which streams pixels, not data. Jeff Bell explained exactly what this means to his studio: “At the end of the day, with PC over IP, no files get transferred, there's nothing saved locally. That's extremely, extremely valuable to us, and to our clients.”

How did the reality compare with Tangent Animation’s expectations?

Tangent Animation was confident based on the specifications of the AWS Virtual Workstations that performance wasn’t going to be a problem. They were also pleased to have their studio operating with the latest software and hardware from NVIDIA including the Quadro® Virtual Workstation software and T4 Tensor Core GPUs. Alongside the level of service and interaction with AWS personnel, Jeff Bell explained that it’s been “a really, really good experience. We no longer have to worry about upgrading or decommissioning on-premises hardware.”

Importantly, the solution is working well to support the needs of Tangent Animation’s team – from modelling to animation, the artists have what they need to deliver. Jeff Bell added, “If you're willing to invest in the infrastructure - which we are, because we see such benefits in doing it going forward - then you can get latency down to the point where it's almost indistinguishable from desktop.”

“You do not need to cut corners on quality in order to stay both within budget and stay profitable.”

– Jeff Bell, COO at Tangent Animation

What was your experience as an early adopter?

When Tangent Animation first partnered with AWS, their virtual workstations were powered by NVIDIA M60 GPUs. They’ve since switched to EC2 G4 instances, which were developed with M&E industry requirements in mind and include the latest NVIDIA T4 Tensor Core GPUs with NVIDIA Quadro Technology. Having seen big improvements, especially with digital content creation, Julie Steiner from Tangent Labs said, “Early indications suggest that the G4 instances will provide faster throughput at a more cost-effective price, which is great.”

But it doesn’t stop there, as an innovative company through and through, Tangent Animation is committed to supporting and giving back to the artistic community by sponsoring developers at the Blender Institute. They also share their own in-house Blender development with the community, and their sister company Tangent Labs will be launching ‘Loupe’ on the AWS Marketplace imminently. Loupe is an in-house Asset, Project and Render management toolset, which facilitates data-sync between production studios, remote workers and AWS, and powered the pipeline responsible for Next Gen.

From starting their AWS partnership with an epic rendering challenge, to launching their very own innovative solution - a complete cloud-based animation production pipeline on AWS - it’s clear the Tangent team has the ability to move with the ever-evolving animation and VFX industry. Tangent Animation is definitely one to watch – both on Netflix, and as an industry leader.

“You need to determine which side of history you want to be on. Whether it spans adopting virtual workstations and moving to the cloud or looking at software renders and packages… you can’t stay stagnant in this industry. You have to be innovative.”

– Jeff Bell, COO at Tangent Animation

Are there benefits in being early adopters?

When Tangent Animation first partnered with AWS, their virtual workstations were powered by NVIDIA M60 GPUs. They’ve since switched to EC2 G4 instances, which were developed with M& industry requirements in mind and include the latest NVIDIA T4 Tensor Core GPUs with NVIDIA Quadro Technology. Having seen big improvements, especially with digital content creation, Julie Steiner from Tangent Labs said, “Early indications suggest that the G4 instances will provide faster throughput at a more cost-effective price, which is great.”

But it doesn’t stop there, as an innovative company through and through, Tangent Animation is committed to supporting and giving back to the artistic community by sponsoring developers at the Blender Institute. They also share their own in-house Blender development with the community, and their sister company Tangent Labs will be launching ‘Loupe’ on the AWS Marketplace imminently. Loupe is an in-house Asset, Project and Render management toolset, which facilitates data-sync between production studios, remote workers and AWS, and powered the pipeline responsible for Next Gen.

From starting their AWS partnership with an epic rendering challenge, to launching their very own innovative solution - a complete cloud-based animation production pipeline on AWS - it’s clear the Tangent team has the ability to move with the ever-evolving animation and VFX industry. Tangent Animation is definitely one to watch – both on Netflix, and as an industry leader.

“You need to determine which side of history you want to be on. Whether it spans adopting virtual workstations and moving to the cloud or looking at software renders and packages… you can’t stay stagnant in this industry. You have to be innovative.”

– Jeff Bell, COO at Tangent Animation

Are there benefits in being early adopters?

When Tangent Animation first partnered with AWS, their virtual workstations were powered by NVIDIA M60 GPUs. They’ve since switched to EC2 G4 instances, which were developed with M& industry requirements in mind and include the latest NVIDIA T4 Tensor Core GPUs with NVIDIA Quadro Technology. Having seen big improvements, especially with digital content creation, Julie Steiner from Tangent Labs said, “Early indications suggest that the G4 instances will provide faster throughput at a more cost-effective price, which is great.”

But it doesn’t stop there, as an innovative company through and through, Tangent Animation is committed to supporting and giving back to the artistic community by sponsoring developers at the Blender Institute. They also share their own in-house Blender development with the community, and their sister company Tangent Labs will be launching ‘Loupe’ on the AWS Marketplace imminently. Loupe is an in-house Asset, Project and Render management toolset, which facilitates data-sync between production studios, remote workers and AWS, and powered the pipeline responsible for Next Gen.

From starting their AWS partnership with an epic rendering challenge, to launching their very own innovative solution - a complete cloud-based animation production pipeline on AWS - it’s clear the Tangent team has the ability to move with the ever-evolving animation and VFX industry. Tangent Animation is definitely one to watch – both on Netflix, and as an industry leader.

“You need to determine which side of history you want to be on. Whether it spans adopting virtual workstations and moving to the cloud or looking at software renders and packages… you can’t stay stagnant in this industry. You have to be innovative.”

– Jeff Bell, COO at Tangent Animation

Ready to Rethink Creativity?

If you want to learn more about how AWS Virtual Workstations can help you, get in touch.