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InfoQ Homepage News Amazon Nimble Studio: Visual Effects, Animations, and Interactive Content on AWS

Amazon Nimble Studio: Visual Effects, Animations, and Interactive Content on AWS

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Amazon has recently announced Nimble Studio, a service for creative studios to produce visual effects, animations, and interactive content. The cloud-based studio provides on-demand access to virtual workstations, elastic file storage, render farm capacity and tools to manage security, permissions, and collaborations.


The Amazon Nimble Studio workstations run as G4dn instances, powered by NVIDIA T4 GPUs, and support NICE DCV, a high-performance remote display protocol, with pixel streaming up to two monitors at 4K resolution and up to 60 FPS. The service relies on Amazon FSx as a shared file storage.

Marcia Villalba, senior developer advocate at AWS, explains how the new service can help creative studios overcoming the challenge of attracting new talents around the world:

Talent is not localized, and it is important to speed up the hiring of remote artists and make them as productive as if they were in the same physical space. It’s also important to allow distributed teams to use the same workflow, software, licenses, and tools that they use today, while keeping all assets secure.

Ben Bridts‏, AWS Hero and principal AWS technologist at Cloudar, tried the set up and found a few issues:

The Nimble Studio setup guide has me going "WTF" multiple times. Are we sure this is an AWS Service? (...) Step 1: Enable SSO, good luck in an existing organization, where you don't have access to the management account (or are working in more than one region). Step 2: Subscribe to Marketplace AMIs? There is already a way for AWS to distribute AMIs, it's called EC2. (...) Use an access key and secret key with admin level permissions on that marketplace EC2 instance. Not with a service role, not with CloudFormation, not with an instance role (...) I think "a strange experience" can be a good summary. The service itself might be great, but the setup takes some wildly unusual choices.

Corey Quinn, cloud economist at The Duckbill Group, was not convinced by the onboarding and wrote instead a "Jack Be Nimble" rhyme:

AWS announces general availability of Amazon Nimble Studio - Jack wasn't Nimble / Jack wasn't quick / Jack tripped over the onboarding process for this service / Jack burned his... AWS bill to the ground in the process.

In a separate announcement, Amazon introduced AWS for Media and Entertainment, a collection of services to help industry customers in five different areas: content production, media supply chain & archive, broadcast, direct-to-consumer & streaming, and data science & analytics. In the last few years Amazon has acquired multiple companies working with creative studios, including Thinkbox Software, now AWS Thinkbox, and Nimble Collective.

Amazon Nimble Studio is currently available in six AWS Regions and AWS Local Zones and supports bring your own floating licenses for industry software such as Houdini, Nuke, Maya and Vray. It does not support node-locked licenses.

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