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Common Data Challenges For VFX (And How to Solve Them)

This is the instalment in a blog series on the visual effects (VFX) workflow.In our earlier posts, we addressed the components of the VFX workflow, as well as the rendering process. Today we’re covering the frequent data-related problems that studios and artists face with VFX workflows. Looking for Hire VFX Artist for your business growth.

Complex Workflows, Complex Data

A visual effects (VFX) production pipeline is

  • complicated,
  • comprising several operations.

One of largest issues is managing the huge number of data required to produce lifelike imagery. A single digital creature could be built of hundreds, if not thousands, of digital assets. It is often necessary to compile terabytes of data that must be displayed and/or composited. Looking for Hire Visual Effects Artists for your business growth.

Volumetric data,

which is fundamental to many bread-and-butter effects, like clouds, dust, water, fire, and fluids, is another example of excessive complexity. The data is troublesome both because of its vast footprint and because it typically requires conversion to other forms before it can be used by other technologies.

As a result, animation and visual effects have become more ambitious. In addition, visual effects and animation have been crucial during COVID to complete shows, commercials and movies that normally would have been filmed on-set with film.

These complicated effects

  • demand tons of data management
  • and a data platform that is intended
  • to handle billions of files.
  • The emphasis is on “file” because VFX
  • is a file-based workflow,
  • and files are the medium of
  • interchange between apps that were not necessarily built
  • by the same business.
  • Workflows must integrate across programs,
  • and file data is the means to do that.

Data Pains: Performance, Scalability, Adaptability and Visibility

Any firm that relies on its file data infrastructure as strongly as VFX studios do is always sensitive to a range of difficulties. Performance, scalability, visibility, and adaptability are examples of these.

As more and more studios shift to 8K and greater resolutions, performance will become increasingly crucial. Systems that are too slow can starve the rendering farm or keep artists from working while rendering is going on.

Scaling Is another challenge.

The ever-increasing amount of data that VFX shops generate can easily fill up their data storage infrastructure.

Problems such as

  • scalability and performance,
  • which you would anticipate
  • from any business that needs
  • to deal with an ever-growing
  • quantity of files,
  • are worsened for VFX firms
  • since they cannot accept
  • schedule delays in order to add more personnel.

Depending on what file system they’re using, demands for increased capacity may mean that the studio must replace the entire system or buy new metadata controllers and storage shells. With tight schedules, there’s generally no time to build out the physical infrastructure.

Visibility is another limitation of outdated file systems. Most VFX shops utilize a treewalk script/program to handle their file data. Treewalks are particularly sluggish when file systems are huge. Administrators can literally wait for days to get replies. By then, it’s too late for them to use the data in any way that matters.

Here’s a common scenario:

A small VFX studio might, when it first starts, use a storage system the team has put together itself.

As their firm grows,

  • that system will need to be replaced.
  • The artists will require a system that’s fast enough,
  • so that they can work as frames are being rendered.

They will need to shift to a scalable, commercial file data platform with enterprise features will let them take on more projects and develop more sophisticated effects.

The Challenges of Rendering on the Cloud

  • The ability to access the cloud is a
  • big benefit for VFX companies,
  • but cloud rendering is not without
  • its own set of issues.

Many of the same considerations for

  • on-prem rendering apply to cloud rendering,
  • but there are certain special issues that need to be considered.


  • while computational resources
  • in the cloud are readily available,
  • traditional file-based storage solutions
  • are typically inadequate,
  • or are variants of legacy file systems
  • with minor patches performed
  • to make They are “cloud-ready.”
  • Problems include a
  • lack of protocol support,
  • performance
  • and capacity constraints,
  • and the complexity of configuring the cluster.

It’s crucial that studios match the performance of their on-prem render farm in the cloud. They need to be able to grow performance and capacity individually, to take advantage of the flexible resources the public cloud offers. Studios also need the ability to transmit files from the on-prem cluster to the instance in the cloud, and to later return the results back to the on-prem cluster.

  • Performance: Ultra-fast performance handles huge files with ease.
  • Scalability: Simple modular design. Just add nodes to scale to petabyte levels. Gain performance and capacity in minutes. No disturbance or downtime.
  • Flexibility: Runs on-prem and/or on the cloud.
  • Visibility: Built-in real-time statistics allow you to monitor performance, capacity, and use.

What is the VFX pipeline?

The VFX pipeline comprises of the processes and people that work together to bring beautiful scenes and characters to life for cinema and TV. It covers everything from preproduction and pre-visualization to 3D modeling, rigging, animation, effects, rendering, and more.

VFX pipeline using products from the Media & Entertainment Collection

The Autodesk Media & Entertainment Collection provides all of the tools you need to develop a robust and scalable VFX pipeline for sophisticated simulations, effects, and rendering.

Benefits of Autodesk technologies in the VFX pipeline

Supply artists with industry-standard creative tools at their desktops, on the render farm, and across the whole VFX pipeline.

Software in the collection that is relevant to the VFX pipeline

From modeling and animation to producing sophisticated effects, rendering, and more, the collection gives all the tools your artists need to take on any creative project.


  • Shape 3D objects and scenes with sophisticated modeling tools in 3ds Max.
  • Create realistic character movement using best-in-class rigging and animation tools .
  • VFX
  • Create sophisticated effects like explosions, fire, sand, and snow with Bifrost.

VFX pipeline commonly asked questions (FAQs) 

What sorts of VFX work can you accomplish with the Media & Entertainment Collection?

The Autodesk Media & Entertainment Collection provides a collection of industry-standard tools for handling a wide variety of visual effects and animation activities – from designing enormous worlds and landscapes to 3D character development and complicated VFX simulations. Key features include tools for modeling and environment design, rigging, animation, motion capture, effects simulation, lighting and rendering.

What goods are included in the Media & Entertainment Collection?

Products in the Media & Entertainment Collection include, 3ds Max, Arnold (with the option of obtaining a 5-pack; see following FAQ), MotionBuilder, Mudbox, Character Generator, ReCap Pro, and Autodesk Rendering.

You may also run Bifrost on up to 15 computers with each collection license, enabling you to execute Bifrost-created simulations on a compute farm. Bifrost is a visual programming environment for producing complicated effects.

How does the Media & Entertainment collection save time for VFX artists?

Autodesk’s Media & Entertianment Collection empowers artists with tools to help them work efficiently and produce spectacular animations and visual effects. It increases team performance by enabling artists up and down the pipeline to effortlessly iterate on creative work and reliably meet deadlines.

Can I interface with an existing VFX pipeline with the Media & Entertainment collection?

The Autodesk Media & Entertainment Collection provides an end-to-end creative solution for animators, modelers, and visual effects artists that can simply connect into current VFX pipelines.


I am an experienced technical writer with a great passion for the latest technological innovations and trends. My skills are specifically based on writing articles and blogs that explore the world of web development, app development, EdTech, eCommerce, Cloud Computing, Cybersecurity and more.

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