I analyzed ALL of the After Effects Cloud Rendering farms and picked the best one for you (2023)

Since the dawn of time, rendering videos was the synonym for After Effects artists to scroll Reddit or go for a coffee (or both). As the CPUs and rendering machines evolved, that “me time” for After Effects artists shrunk down, but there were still cases where you had to wait for hours to get the shot rendered. Long shots, effect-filled scenes, and complex motion graphics were the killer of render times.

Well, not anymore – I’m both happy and sorry for creatives because you can now use After Effects Cloud rendering and:

  1. Off-load the rendering to the cloud while you work on other stuff
  2. Get insane render speeds because those render farms use beefy machines

This means that you can continue working while the videos render in the cloud. This allows for a more efficient workflow. It also means that there won’t be any more Reddit scrolling breaks. 

Sorry creatives! (by the way, as an ex-motion designer I’m totally on your side – so feel free to somehow hide this article from your boss for as long as possible)

In this article, I’ll gauge which After Effects cloud rendering solution is the best. I’ve evaluated their performance, UX, support, offering, and of course – the price. If you stick to the end, I’ll also show you how can you render variations of the original video in the cloud (completely automatically), and save dozens of hours.

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TL;DR: In this article, I analyzed GarageFarm, Pixel Plow, Anima Render, and Super Renders to help you pick the best After Effects Cloud Rendering farm for yourself. Objectively, PixelPlow seems like the best, Super Renders comes as a close second but unfortunately, they don't have support for the newest After Effects versions.

Here’s a quick visual overview of the solutions we cover in this article:

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After Effects Cloud Rendering Solutions


GarageFarm has been around since 2010 and they have a 4.9 rating on their Facebook page. One of the big pros they have is that you can send renders directly from After Effects. You’ll then login into their cloud-rendering web app, and you’ll be able to track everything from there.

If you want to see more about their workflow, check their After Effects Guide and documentation.

They have both GPU and CPU options, and their CPU nodes are running Intel Xeon V4 processors. They also have an option for AMD Epyc if that’s something you want.

garage farm cpus

Since figuring out pricing for these render farms requires a bachelor’s degree in maths, I’ll try to simplify it as much as possible. Let’s say you’re running a Ryzen 9 5900x on your machine, and that it takes 1 minute to render a single frame of your project. If you have a 10-second project (24 fps) that will take around 4 hours to render on your PC.

It will take anywhere between 1 and 5 minutes for the Garage Farm nodes to render your project in the cloud. How about that time saving huh? In terms of pricing, this will cost you between $5 and $20. 

I’d say that After Effects cloud rendering generally pays itself over multiple times in cases like this. Having the project done in 5 minutes, instead of 4 hours is definitely worth a few bucks.


  • GarageFarm excels in fast and efficient rendering by utilizing a powerful distributed computing infrastructure. This means your projects are rendered quickly and effectively, thanks to the combined processing power of multiple machines.
  • It provides scalability and flexibility to accommodate projects of all sizes, allowing you to adjust the number of dedicated machines as needed.
  • You can easily track the progress of your renders and access the completed files.
  • GarageFarm also supports a wide range of output formats and popular After Effects plugins, ensuring compatibility and enabling you to leverage various effects and transitions.
  • If you encounter any issues or have questions, GarageFarm offers 24/7 technical support.

Pixel Plow

I actually used Pixel Plow a few years ago. It was for C4D though, but it’s still the only render farm I actively used for a longer period of time. I remember that it was a bit confusing to set it up at first, but after I got everything up and running – it was smooth sailing. 

Based on reviews, it definitely seems like PixelPlow is doing something right – look how much praise they get.

pixel plow reviews

This After Effects cloud rendering farm doesn’t state what kinds of processors they run, but I was pretty satisfied with the speeds I got. They have their own software which you download and use to create jobs. All you have to do is prepare your scene, package it up, and upload it to their app.

One useful thing they have in their app is that you can control the power you need with a simple slider. So if you want to save money, you can dial that slider down. Alternatively, if you need the project asap and the client is breathing down your neck – you can pump it up.

For the same 10-second project I mentioned above, PixelPlow’s machines will cost you anywhere from $1 and $15. You can use their CPU Render Cost Estimator to calculate the approximate costs:

Unfortunately, there isn’t a way for me to calculate how fast it would be but the cost saving is significant comparing it to Garage Farm.


  • Pixel Plow uses high-performance computing resources to deliver fast and efficient rendering for After Effects projects.
  • Pixel Plow offers a range of pricing plans, including pay-per-minute and subscription-based options, allowing you to choose a cost-effective solution that suits your budget and project requirements.
  • Pixel Plow provides dedicated customer support to assist you with any issues or questions you may have during the rendering process.
  • Just like GarageFarm, Pixel Plow supports a wide range of output formats and popular After Effects plugins, ensuring compatibility and enabling you to utilize various effects, transitions, and features.

Anima Render

I gotta say, Anima Render has the best website out of these all. For some reason, all of the After Effects rendering farms left their website the same as it was when they started. And they all started 10 years ago.

Their After Effects cloud rendering farm uses dual Xeon CPUs or Threadripper 3970x’s if you want a bit more power. Similarly to other solutions, you’ll have to download their own bespoke app. That app will be your job manager. You’ll collect assets, upload projects, and create jobs – all through a single interface.

I really like that they have 24/7 support – that means two things:

  1. They are mature enough as a company to have more than one support employee
  2. They won’t leave you hanging if you run into a problem

One downside of Anima Render is that it’s compatible with up to AE 2019. This might be a bit of a bummer because it means that you need to downgrade your projects. You can also forget about multi-core rendering, which was introduced in the latest After Effects. Although, the latter might not be that big of an issue – since the machines these cloud-rendering farms use are really powerful.

anima render chat support

Our 10-second sample project would be done in between 2 and 10 minutes on the Anima Render machines. The cost of this would be between $10 and $12.


  • Anima Render offers reliable customer support, ensuring that assistance is readily available whenever you encounter issues or have questions.
  • It provides an intuitive and user-friendly interface that simplifies project submission, management, and monitoring.
  • With Anima Render, you can confidently work with a wide range of output formats and popular After Effects plugins. This ensures compatibility with your project requirements, allowing you to leverage various effects, transitions, and capabilities seamlessly.
  • Alas, Anima Render is compatible with up to After Effects 2019

Super Renders

Although it seems that Super Renders focused mostly on GPU rendering in the past few years, they still offer CPU rendering which is needed for After Effects. They are running Dual Xenon’s (E5 V4) on their machines and they are based in the USA.

Similar to Anima, they don’t support the newest version of After Effects. If you want to utilize this AE cloud rendering solution, you’ll be able to do with AE up to 2020.

Managing your projects and rendering is done through their Web App instead of a dedicated app. This is really handy because that means that you can manage your cloud rendering from anywhere – even from your phone.

The 10-second project we talked about above would take between 1 and 5 minutes on the Super Render cloud farm. This is pretty fast compared to the other machines. The cost would be between $3 and $13.


  • Super Renders has great UI/UX, which makes it easy to use
  • Super Renders provides three ways to upload your project – sync tool, web browser, or Google Drive/Dropbox. Upload speeds are quite fast.
  • Bandwidth speeds can be an issue. This can be seen if you try to update a large file – the time to synchronize the entire folder can take hours.
  • Rendering is done through a Web App which is neat because you can manage your projects anytime, anywhere

The best After Effects Cloud Rendering solution

Speaking objectively from the data we got through research, Pixel Plow seems like the best deal. What puts Pixel Plow in the top spot are the reviews they have and their pricing. The reviews tell a lot about how good the customer support is, and how fast their renders are.

I already mentioned the fact that I was already using it a while back, and I was very satisfied. The speed, the user experience, and the overall feel were solid. The only bump was the setup, but they might have smoothed that out in the meantime.

Super Renders comes to a close second, but they don’t support the newest After Effects – which is why I had to put them below Pixel Plow.

cloud rendering farms comparasion chart

I have to say, I was pretty disappointed with the choices of render farms. Given how big the industry is, I thought there will be a ton of companies to choose from. If you’re doing any kind of 3D work, you’re covered. There are literally dozens of GPU render farms. After Effects cloud rendering farms are a bit different though. I found only 5-10 viable solutions, and only 4 of them were good enough to put on this list.

Bonus: Cloud Render 100s of video variations

If you are a creative professional, you probably had projects where you had to create different versions of the original video. These changes might’ve been as small as one line of text, or image change but the video had to be re-rendered. Those projects suck. It’s not creative work, and it’s very time-consuming – especially when you need 100s of variations.

Using a cloud rendering solution, in this case, doesn’t work. You’d have to upload all of the different project files into the farm’s interface and manage 100s of concurrent renders. This gets pretty messy, and inefficient very fast.

That’s why I created Plainly. It’s a video automation tool for After Effects that renders video variations in the cloud. All you have to do is add your After Effects template to our Web App and connect a data source (which can be a simple spreadsheet). Plainly will take the data from that spreadsheet and render videos automatically in the cloud.

Seems unreal? Book a 15-min demo here to see how it works, and save yourself dozens of hours in production.

FAQs about After Effects render farms

1. What is After Effects rendering?

After Effects rendering is the process of generating the final output or "render" of an After Effects project. It involves calculating and producing the visual elements, effects, and animations within the project into a finalized video or image sequence. Rendering in After Effects converts the project's composition and layers into a viewable format that can be played back or exported for further use, such as video editing, motion graphics, or visual effects integration.

2. What are the main benefits of using After Effects render farms?

After Effects render farms offer fast and efficient rendering, reducing project rendering times. They provide scalability to handle projects of any size, eliminating the limitations of individual machines. Render farms optimize resources, ensuring cost-effectiveness by reducing the need for expensive hardware. They support a wide range of formats and plugins, enabling compatibility and creative freedom. Additionally, they often provide reliable technical support, resolving issues promptly and ensuring a smooth rendering experience. 

3. What is the best render farm?

Pixel Plow seems like the best render farm at the moment. What puts Pixel Plow in the top spot are the reviews they have and their pricing. The reviews tell a lot about how good the customer support is, and how fast their renders are. Other options include GarageFarm, Anima Render, and Super Renders.

4. How is render pricing calculated?

Render pricing is typically calculated based on the resources consumed during the rendering process. Factors such as rendering time, machine usage, number of frames, resolution, and complexity of the project are taken into account. Render farms may have different pricing models, including per-minute pricing, pay-per-frame, or subscription-based plans. The pricing structure aims to reflect the computational resources utilized and the level of service provided by the render farm. Most of the render farms have cost calculators which makes it easier for you to anticipate what the costs will be. 

5. How does an After Effects rendering farm work?

After Effects rendering farms distribute the rendering workload across multiple machines, allowing them to work simultaneously on different sections of a project. This significantly reduces rendering times by utilizing the combined processing power of the machines.

6. What are the advantages of using a cloud-based rendering farm?

Cloud-based rendering farms provide virtualized render farms hosted in the cloud, offering scalability, flexibility, and on-demand resources. They eliminate the need for physical infrastructure, allowing you to access powerful rendering capabilities remotely and pay for only the resources you actually use.

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