The objective of this experiment is to drastically increase performances of 3D rendering used by architects without expensive additional hardware investment by distributing rendering services using Grid technologies.
Nowadays invitations to tender, in architectural business area, request from the respondent more reactivity and quality than ever. Firms of architects have in general a period varying between few days to several months in order to produce graphical pilot studies. The graphical quality of these pilot studies is a critical factor in the evaluation of the entire project. The more a project will be original, detailed, and realistic, the more it will have chances to win the tender.
Nevertheless, in this process, architects clearly identify the rendering phase as the bottleneck. This operation is quite time consuming due to the size of the source graphical model to be computed.
Improving significantly the performance of rendering operations, represents an opportunity for architects to reduce the time dedicated to the rendering and to increase the quality of the produced rendering.
Grid resources represent a great opportunity to solve this kind of problem by adapting rendering application to the Grid environment. The objective of the experiment is to adapt existing rendering application in order to distribute rendering jobs on a Grid. Existing hardware (personal computers) available in architect firms will be used to build such a Grid to avoid huge investment in costly infrastructure.
We are dealing here with reducing computer processing time when it comes to dangerously interferes with core business. Grid technologies are suited to offer a never reached level of performance and flexibility with a very profitable cost/result ratio.
In this particular case we are dealing with high quality realistic rendering of very complex scenes which is known to be a very computing intensive task. These scenes come from architect core activity work and their realistic rendered views are the selling tool of the Art&Build Belgian and European Architect Company. Mental Images, the famous realistic rendering specialist provides wonderful software to produce very high quality images. The Grid will offer a very profitable platform to fully exploit this software power on very complex scenes. Grid technologies will make possible to widely reduce computing time, then freeing more time to the architect creativity and reducing the response time to client feedback, while also improving result quality and hence the selling effectiveness.
Both performance and flexibility will be evaluated as many platforms will be involved: CETIC cluster, FPMS cluster, Art&Build desktop workstation network and Grid5000.