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smurfman
05-23-2006, 01:24 PM
I just sent these suggestions to Maxon and wanted to see if anyone else could expand on my suggestions. If so, I will send your them to Maxon as well (of course you can too, and should... http://www.maxon.net/pages/support/suggestions_e.html ).

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NET Render needs an overhaul.

1. Provide an easy one-step way to render to a users renderfarm. Just like I can click an icon to render in the editor, in picture viewer, or by region, it would be excellent if there were an icon that renders directly to the renderfarm. Renderfarm set-up would be something you would do in "Preferences" to be available to all files.

2. NET Render should be able to automatically split up still images and send to all available RenderFarm machines. Radiosity-based images are the reason I am suggesting this. NET Render NEEDS to be able to split a single Radiosity rendering between clients.

3. The NET Render web interface should allow more control over clients. For example... Ability to schedule when a client should be available to render and when it should not. I may have 10 clients on my RenderFarm. 5 may be available 24/7 while the other 5 I may want to use only after 6pm and no later than 6am. Instead of having to go from machine to machine (or tell the user of that machine) to cut off the client, I would like the control right from the web interface. I would also like to have a single button for each client to "deactivate" the client. I will still be able to see the client in the list, but it will not render anything until I hit the "Activate" button.

These are the big 3 for me. I'm sure there are others. Maybe for another suggestion...

Thank you,

HSMM Imaging Studio
http://www.hsmm.com/3danim

ollle
05-23-2006, 01:31 PM
2. NET Render should be able to automatically split up still images and send to all available RenderFarm machines. Radiosity-based images are the reason I am suggesting this. NET Render NEEDS to be able to split a single Radiosity rendering between clients.

At least with film-offset and stochastic GI, this works...

edfenner
05-23-2006, 03:00 PM
Net could be SO much more useful with more control, it is really much too basic now.

ed

GruvDOne
05-23-2006, 03:05 PM
3. The NET Render web interface should allow more control over clients. For example... Ability to schedule when a client should be available to render and when it should not. I may have 10 clients on my RenderFarm. 5 may be available 24/7 while the other 5 I may want to use only after 6pm and no later than 6am. Instead of having to go from machine to machine (or tell the user of that machine) to cut off the client, I would like the control right from the web interface. I would also like to have a single button for each client to "deactivate" the client. I will still be able to see the client in the list, but it will not render anything until I hit the "Activate" button.



Well, I do see your point in this, but I handle remote Client Admin with Remote Desktop. I like this solution as it gives me control of the Client computer in a way that allows me to recover from any issues that may arise.

smurfman
05-23-2006, 05:55 PM
Well, I do see your point in this, but I handle remote Client Admin with Remote Desktop. I like this solution as it gives me control of the Client computer in a way that allows me to recover from any issues that may arise.

We use Remote Desktop for some of our clients (Xserves & desktops), but for most cases it would still be much easier and more beneficial to have all clients right there in front of you to "Activate" or "Deactivate" at a click of a button and to schedule machines to only be available at certain times. Having Remote Desktop is definitely easier than going from machine to machine or switching the KVM. However, NET Server relies on WAY too much continued management of the clients.

Maxon should also have an automated update feature so if you update the server, the clients will automatically get updated as well. Scheduling clients and automating client updates would reduce 95% of our render-farm maintenance.

HSMM Imaging Studio
http://www.hsmm.com/3danim

macsupremacist
05-23-2006, 07:12 PM
It's worked really great for me. The only problems I've had with it are issues with the Mac OS X Firewall (which I fixed by opening those ports) and when running NET Render, my monitor won't go to sleep. I know in Cinema 4D you can just uncheck the "disable power cylcle" or something like that, but I haven't found such a workaround in NET Render. Do any of you guys have this problem, and if so, have you found a workaround?

Ernest Burden
05-23-2006, 11:36 PM
NetRender needs to provide more data about what its doing. Once you start a render it says 'rendering frame 11' and you wait. Will it be done in an hour or a day or a week? No progress bar, no line count, no visual. Nothing. Wait and wonder, wait and wonder. So when the client calls and wants to know when you will be done...what do you say?

smurfman
05-23-2006, 11:52 PM
NetRender needs to provide more data about what its doing. Once you start a render it says 'rendering frame 11' and you wait. Will it be done in an hour or a day or a week? No progress bar, no line count, no visual. Nothing. Wait and wonder, wait and wonder. So when the client calls and wants to know when you will be done...what do you say?

I agree. Also on that note, I would like to see specific information for each client (i.e. how many frames that client has rendered, average time per frame and maybe even machine specs - processor speed, RAM, OS version).

HSMM Imaging Studio
http://www.hsmm.com/3danim

smurfman
05-24-2006, 02:04 AM
It's worked really great for me. The only problems I've had with it are issues with the Mac OS X Firewall (which I fixed by opening those ports) and when running NET Render, my monitor won't go to sleep. I know in Cinema 4D you can just uncheck the "disable power cylcle" or something like that, but I haven't found such a workaround in NET Render. Do any of you guys have this problem, and if so, have you found a workaround?

I know this isn't a fix, but what I do is set a hot corner for the screen saver. It's a manual thing, but at least it does the trick.

Also, relating to screen savers... I usually put it on "Computer Name" since it seems to be the least processor intensive. Some of those screen savers on the Mac are pretty processor intensive. Any other ideas on which screen saver is the best for rendering (least processor intensive)?

Thanks,
HSMM Imaging Studio
http://www.hsmm.com/3danim

macsupremacist
05-24-2006, 03:55 AM
Thanks smurfman. Yeah, I have a hot corner set up with a screensaver, but no matter what my energy saver setting are, it won't turn off. It's just a minor thing, but I'd rather save some of life of my monitors by not having them running for hours when they don't need to.

smurfman
05-26-2006, 02:03 AM
Thanks smurfman. Yeah, I have a hot corner set up with a screensaver, but no matter what my energy saver setting are, it won't turn off. It's just a minor thing, but I'd rather save some of life of my monitors by not having them running for hours when they don't need to.

Oh... sorry I didn't catch the screen SLEEP. Yeah, I have the same problem. I'll take a look at that and let you know if I discover a work-around.

HSMM Imaging Studio
http://www.hsmm.com/3danim

Linds
05-26-2006, 03:36 AM
NetRender needs to provide more data about what its doing. Once you start a render it says 'rendering frame 11' and you wait. Will it be done in an hour or a day or a week? No progress bar, no line count, no visual. Nothing. Wait and wonder, wait and wonder. So when the client calls and wants to know when you will be done...what do you say?

Yup, more information would make those long renders a little less stressful. A contantly updating estimate for completion of a render based on curent clients connected, and frame times already calculated seems like a pretty easy thing to do. After effects does this.

Also, some indication of what a client is doing at any given moment, loading textures, calculating shadow maps, GI, post effects etc would be nice.

Come on Maxon. It's bee a long time between drinks for us Net users!
Linds

macsupremacist
05-30-2006, 10:58 PM
Thanks smurfman.

normal
05-31-2006, 03:45 AM
My one experience with Net Render was not successful. I tried to install it on a friend of mine's network, but I couldn't do it because his network was using dynamic IP, and afaik Net Render requires a Static IP. Now I have just moved (to San Francisco) and I'd like to know whether I should order a static IP based internet connection to accommodate Net Render, or if I can use a dynamic IP based DSL (and save a little money on the internet bill).

- David

Jimstein
05-31-2006, 05:13 AM
hum, Normal - You will not be able to reach dynamic IP clients behind a front computer connected to Internet. But if you install the NET server on the front computer you can use all the dynamic IP clients. Actually, you can administrate the client’s trough the web interface… the trouble is that the clients must know the server computer by the same IP as you know it. There is no easy setup to get around this problem I know of.

I and a friend have Internet provider that give us dynamic IP addresses and I can use his computer as a Net client.

Srek
05-31-2006, 06:49 AM
If you have a reliably working DNS for the systems dynamic IPs are no problem. Just use the network names then.
It is recommended to use static IPs due to name resolution problems many experience in small networks.
Cheers
Björn

smurfman
05-31-2006, 11:56 AM
...my monitor won't go to sleep. I know in Cinema 4D you can just uncheck the "disable power cylcle" or something like that, but I haven't found such a workaround in NET Render.

Did you uncheck "disable power cycle" on the machine that NET Server is on as well as the clients? Supposedly, if you open Cinema and uncheck "disable power cycle" it will effect the Client and Server on that machine as well. Not sure if this actually works. All my Macs are tied up at the moment and will not be able to even test for over a week.

You may have tried this already but if not, let me know if you have any success.

smurfman
05-31-2006, 12:33 PM
I've been doing test renders of a 7000 frame interior architectural animation. It consists of hundreds of lights and about 5 million polygons. For the test render, I set the fps at 12 (half the final fps) and after 4 days of rendering on 13 dual-processor Macs it got to 94%.

We needed to start the final 24fps animation last night and couldn't see the 94% rendered animation except for opening the .b3d files one by one in Cinema (maddening!).

What I would like for NET Server to be able to do is compile the frames it has already rendered into a movie file at any point during the progress of the animation (20%, 50%, 95%, etc.) while still continuing with rendering that project.

It would also be nice to have a .b3d viewer similar to iPhoto... OR... just work with Apple to get the .b3d file format into QuickTime and iPhoto so I could at least view them or compile a QuickTime movie manually.

If there's something out there that already allows support of .b3d files in QuickTime, let me know.


HSMM Imaging Studio
http://www.hsmm.com/3danim

bonsak
05-31-2006, 06:44 PM
Hi
It sound realy dangarous to render 7000 frames to one QT movie :-)
I hope thats not what your doing?
I never render to Qt with Net because ive had to many crashes of slaves that
alsmot everytime produce bad frames in the final Qt.
So now i always render to separate psd's or tga's.
If your on a mac you should be able to set up automator to look into the results folder
and make whatever frames that are ready into a Qt for you.
Depending on the interval you choose to make new Qt's, this will probably
eat some power off your server machine so you might want to put the automator stuff on a
separate machine.
The easy way to get an idea of whats in the results folder is to use Preview (os x)
If your rendering to separate files of course.
Select all files in the results folder, open in preview and press down arrow.
Not realtime but gives you a pretty good idea of whats going on. :-)

Regards
Bonsak

normal
06-01-2006, 07:27 AM
Thanks Jim.

Bjorn - You suggest that I get an internet connection that provides a static IP address to accommodate Net Render? Currently I do not have a network set up and am not using Net Render at all, but I want to prepare for that expansion as I set up my studio here.

- David

Srek
06-01-2006, 08:57 AM
With DSL you usualy get a router the get's assigned a dynamic IP from the provider. The router itself often has an option to provide dynamic adresses via DHCP to local computers.
Changing the external IP from dynamic to static is not neccessary if you want to use Net render on your local net only. However assigning static IPs for the internal network instead of using DHCP can be neccesary if you don't have a working name resolution for your local network.
Cheers
Björn

boxy
06-01-2006, 11:38 AM
I've been doing test renders of a 7000 frame interior architectural animation. It consists of hundreds of lights and about 5 million polygons. For the test render, I set the fps at 12 (half the final fps) and after 4 days of rendering on 13 dual-processor Macs it got to 94%.

We needed to start the final 24fps animation last night and couldn't see the 94% rendered animation except for opening the .b3d files one by one in Cinema (maddening!).

What I would like for NET Server to be able to do is compile the frames it has already rendered into a movie file at any point during the progress of the animation (20%, 50%, 95%, etc.) while still continuing with rendering that project.

It would also be nice to have a .b3d viewer similar to iPhoto... OR... just work with Apple to get the .b3d file format into QuickTime and iPhoto so I could at least view them or compile a QuickTime movie manually.

If there's something out there that already allows support of .b3d files in QuickTime, let me know.


HSMM Imaging Studio
http://www.hsmm.com/3danim

Hey Smurfman
As bonsak suggested, render out each frame as a single PS file then get QuickTime Pro (I think its about £15, not much - maybe the free QT player does this also nowadays?). QuickTime Pro allows you to 'Open Image Sequence', so if all your single frames are in the same folder you simply 'Open Image Sequence', open the first file in your animation sequence folder (0000) and QT opens it along with all sequentially numbered files as a movie. That way you can check the animation progress at any point. Its simple and cheap and guards against having to re-render the whole thing due to crashes or spoiled frames :)
Boxy

Jorge Arango
06-01-2006, 12:34 PM
With DSL you usualy get a router the get's assigned a dynamic IP from the provider. The router itself often has an option to provide dynamic adresses via DHCP to local computers.
Changing the external IP from dynamic to static is not neccessary if you want to use Net render on your local net only. However assigning static IPs for the internal network instead of using DHCP can be neccesary if you don't have a working name resolution for your local network.
Cheers
Björn

Can you elaborate a little more about the "working name resolution for your local network"?

Thanks in advance,

Jorge Arango

Srek
06-01-2006, 01:07 PM
Can you elaborate a little more about the "working name resolution for your local network"?
Name resolution means that a system can be adressed using a clear text name instead of the IP adress. This can be a WINS or DNS or for some realy basic setups a hand build and maintained hosts file. If you want to know more about this take a search for name servers and name resolution
Cheers
Björn

normal
06-02-2006, 05:34 AM
Thanks, Srek, for the thoughtful reply. Perhaps it is a bit of an academic question for me at the moment, but may become directly relevant in the not too distant future as I expand my endeavors . . .


- David

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