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benvu
11-17-2004, 09:30 AM
I have a PowerMac G5 running Maya 6 on Mac OS 10.3.5.
Can I use the Maya 6 Mac mental ray install as a render slave my XSI mental ray farm?

Softimage does not make a version of XSI for Mac OS X.
Purchasing a mental ray standalone version for OS X is not an option.
I would like to use the PowerMac to render my XSI scenes when it is not in use for editing.

JDex
11-17-2004, 09:33 AM
Nope... Mental Images packaged the MR implementations to be app specific. Only the MR standalone will render from all three.

Sorry.

francescaluce
11-17-2004, 12:55 PM
you speak so because you have not tried.. :)

btw xsi->mayaOSx will not work.. but here I have a maya front end.. with xsi(adv) as slaves.
you'll need also some hacks on the core rayrc.. but that's enough easy to do.. technically if you have a whole network with xsi advanced.. you could render indifferently from maya or xsi.. you need just a way to implement maya shaders without using spdl registratio.. the vice versa is not true without a standalone only because alias integrated mr into the .mll plugin mayatomr but this does not means that mr itself is app specific.. you could say that mr itself is license specific.. alias integrated mr into maya until they offer it for free on you r first machine.. so you need to buy other lics for the net.. and this is quite regular.. but with a full xsi license you'll see that mr is not apz specif.. you can integrate it with a small effort into every workflow.



ciao
francesca

benvu
11-17-2004, 08:46 PM
francesca, your solution is too complex for me and seems to work when rendering out from Maya to the XSI mr farm, and not vice-versa.

not sure if this will work but i am going to install XSI 4 Adv on VirtualPC7 running on my PowerMac G5 which has its own network IP address separate from Mac OS X. then i will try and get it to participate on the XSI mr render farm. if it does run, i will report back with my results and how much of a performance slowdown is caused by VirtualPC.

btw- Does anyone know how much a mr standalone version would cost for a dual G5 cpu PowerMac Mac OS X? Last I heard mr license was $4000 USD per cpu. Ouch!

benvu
11-18-2004, 08:52 PM
I was able to install XSI 4 in Render Slave mode locally on WinXP Pro running on Virtual PC 6 on my PowerBook G4 running Mac OS 10.3.5. Due to an issue with the COM settings, I could not get SPM Lic Man to run properly, so I had to direct the SPM setting to our main server. BTW- I also have VP6 running in Virtual Switch mode with it's own IP address.

After launching a distributed render job, the PowerBook render slave's CPU usage hovered around 50% and memory usage for ray3.exe was around 15-20MB. The scene rendered was the basic Syflex tshirt demo file at 1280x720, so not too intense of a file.

According to other forums on Virtual PC, apparently it limits your virtual PC to being a single CPU 533Mhz with a maximum of 512MB of memory. Needless to say, if this is true, the benefits of using even a dual G5 PowerMac using VPC as a render slave is minimal. It would be like inserting a Dell 533Mhz Pentium III into your renderfarm. Big performance gain, probably not. But I figure, when it comes down to crunch time in production, every CPU counts and helps especially when using mental ray.

I am debating on purchasing Virtual PC 7 for my PowerMac G5. Will post a result if I do.

Atyss
11-20-2004, 05:32 PM
Well I don't know your financial situation but personally I would look into converting my render farm to Linux before going the Virtual PC route. This way you get the maximum possible performance and stability of the farm, plus there is an XSI version for Linux, mr will run on Linux, and because MacOSX is unix based, it means that you can control the render farm via tcsh and other similar shell commands.

The only area that can be really problematic is shaders. I have no clue if MaxOSX mr shaders need a recompile for Linux. At first I would say no because of the similarities in the OSes, but I would definitely double check. Now, the thing I am sure of is that if you use custom shaders on your Windows/XSI machines, you absolutely need a Linux version. Most of the free shaders you find on the internet are meant for Windows only, so this can pose a serious problem.


That said, if you think that you can share mr accross a mixed pipeline without any hacking, well, welcome to the real world. Since each vendor has its own implementation of mr, plus mr comes in different flavors depending on the hardware, then good luck. You will need to spend a couple of weeks to make things seamless. One thing I would do is to share the rayrc file (the central mr registry file, wich gives mr all the paths it needs to retrieve shaders). You can do this easily, it's like a text file. I would also put the shader structures (understand, on XSI is it the directories where shaders are installed) into a central location as well. In other words try to fuse the XSI and Maya workgroups, if possible (if Maya has workgroup features).


Good luck
Bernard

benvu
11-22-2004, 03:59 AM
Thanks Bernard for the tips. 3D animation on Linux is still buggy for me. I keep running into various errors or incompatibilities which slow down my production process. How does XSI perform on Linux compared to the Windows version? Is it true that XSI was not natively written for Linux and was a subpar port?

I am basically a one man shop. 1 Windows XP workstation, two render machines, and a PowerMac G5 for postproduction. I just wanted to get my G5 to help out with the mr distributed rendering. All my stations can also into Linux but as I am at a point where I will have to wait til the completing of my film in order to look back into Linux solutions (which i am very interested in for stability reasons.) I am a beta tester for NVIDIA's gelato renderer and still can't get it to work on my Linux RHEL AS3 install.

Atyss
11-24-2004, 02:54 AM
How does XSI perform on Linux compared to the Windows version? Is it true that XSI was not natively written for Linux and was a subpar port?
Well, this is true. In fact, the Linux version is a big pottering about of the Windows version. It is mandatory of MainWin, wich has not been updated since 2000...... Hopefully Softimage will have either have a native development roadmap for Linux, or at least its own in-house Windows registry, wich I think would ease the port to Linux.

Performance is, despite that pottering and besides the management issue, the main reason why you would want to use XSI on Linux. The difference in speed will be significant over long and demanding sequences, simply because Linux manages memory better and is less subject to fragmentation. The other BIG difference is that it's unbelievably more stable on Linux. Rendering that would crash XSI on Windows will simply stop the rendering on Linux, in most cases.


I don't know anything about Gelato so I can't help.

Cheers
Bernard

ThE_JacO
11-24-2004, 11:11 AM
Well, this is true. In fact, the Linux version is a big pottering about of the Windows version. It is mandatory of MainWin, wich has not been updated since 2000...... Hopefully Softimage will have either have a native development roadmap for Linux, or at least its own in-house Windows registry, wich I think would ease the port to Linux.
sorry Bernard saying "this is true" you are basically agreeing the port is "subpar" (subpar is a comparative term. frankly I don't know how much experience you have on other SWs differencies between win and linux, but I never heard of you using maya or HDN much)

it still uses mainwin as a widget for certain parts of the porting platform, but it's a while now that SI is slowly eroding away the mainwin part replacing it with their own efforts.

except for some exceptions where the code base is substantially modified for each platform (only Maxon's efforts for the mac port come to mind) using a widget to sit your porting on is commonplace, and mainwin used to be a pretty good one that Soft is replacing adequately when it fails at something that new exigencies require.
it sounds like a pretty standard porting roadmap to me.

as for it being subbar I wouldn't know, insofar I have had my fair deal of mixing up apps and the pipe here is still cross platform win+linux(and a couple onyx, but those don't count :) ), and safe for Houdini (that actually works way better in linux then in windows) I sure wouldn't call XSI's port subpar.

Sure wouldn't call it perfect, and you know from certain lists that I, like everybody, have my own grudges with a number of things, but it's now a while that I only see you slamming a lot on XSI, MRay, Softimage as a company...

I can't but wonder how much you really know about the issues at hand and how much are excessively voiced opinions with little base.

now I'll be off this before it turns flaming, sorry if I've been blunt but I'm not a big fan of pussyfooting around.

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