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LordGolem
03-30-2003, 07:04 PM
There's a lack of render queue managers for Maya under Linux os. As I need it, I started implementing one by myself and I decided to distribute it under GPL license (free/open source).

I've not yet released the package as I have to work on configure scripts and Makefile, but, if you are able to tweak Makefiles and compile it, you can get it from CVS.

By now it handles queues of Maya scenes, in the next release it'll support MentalRay for Maya, infact all the code is done with in mind more than one renderer.

The workflow is very simple, you can import a mayaBinary or mayaASCII scene file, you can set render properties (in a box similar to Maya's render globals) or you can use the parameters stored in the scene file. Once the setting is complete you can send the file to the queue and manage it. You can move files to and from the setting environment, you can change the order of the files in the queue etc.

The program is written in c and gtk+ 1.2. In this first release (v0.1beta) you cannot save the session and you cannot configure options. These features will be added in the next one or two releases. Also it could be not so stable by now as I haven't tested it in a production envoronment!

What I need is beta testers and maybe developers to help me. This software could become very useful (if it still isn't) but only if a working group is established, if I work alone progresses will be minimal. This is the great power of open source :D

I hope in the future to add support for other renderers (such as RenderMan) and maybe to implement a (free) render farm management software. :buttrock:

This is the URL of the sourceForge project page:
http://sourceforge.net/projects/grender

I hope you enjoy!

LordGolem
03-30-2003, 07:18 PM
Just a screenshot of the app

altruizine
03-30-2003, 08:11 PM
Hmmm... any chance this'll compile/run under OS X w/ X11?

(noting, of course, that along w/ the lack of render managers for Linux, there is also a lack under OS X)


-JF

LordGolem
03-30-2003, 08:58 PM
The app is done in c/gtk+. I know there's a port of gtk+ on win32 and there's a way to run gtk+ on OS X. So I think a port could be done easly with just a little tweaking of the code.

About OS X I know there's a plan to port true gtk+, but I know there's a kind of emulation (the one that uses The Gimp) that permits the use of gtk+ on OS X, and I know it's very good :D

I don't use OS X so I cannot try it, maybe someone could try it and if possible we can start a multi platform develop!

beaker
03-31-2003, 12:08 AM
>>(noting, of course, that along w/ the lack of render managers for Linux, there is also a lack under OS X)

There are atleast 2 professional rendermanagers for linux and osx that I can think of: Rush + Muster. Glad to have another one though :)

>>About OS X I know there's a plan to port true gtk+, but I know there's a kind of emulation (the one that uses The Gimp) that permits the use of gtk+ on OS X, and I know it's very good

Robin Rowe, one of the guys that is working on Cinepaint(was filmgimp) is working on a native version of gtk+ for osx. I think he is planning on finishing it around june(there is a beta, but not sure how much is done on it). Otherwise you have to use OpenOSX or Fink to run it(how cinepaint and gimp are running under osx). Its around a 400 meg install. :)
http://gtk-osx.sourceforge.net/

LordGolem
03-31-2003, 12:21 AM
I've just released the 0.1.0 beta. You can download it form SourceForge.net:
https://sourceforge.net/projects/grender/

beaker -> I didn't know there is a queuemanager for maya on linux :( ... However my work is done now, so if it's good we can continue working on it, competition is always good!! :D

I'm still searching for help (developers, testers, doc-writers, web developers etc.), if someone is interested... :thumbsup:

dann_stubbs
04-05-2003, 03:29 PM
actually most other render managers mentioned only support osx and linux as clients - rush may work as a render manager on linux and osx - i do know it works as a client - i have a hard time discerning info from the rush web site.

but even if it does support osx - it is one of the most expensive out there and you could easily purchase a cheap pc server and then use the osx / linux clients for the many other solutions available.

also look at butterfly netrender as a lower cost solution then muster for small farms.

dann

LordGolem
04-05-2003, 04:22 PM
Well, the advantage of GRender will be it's OpenSource distribution. First of all it's free, then it could become more stable and fast as many developers, all over the world, can work on its source code, release pathces and inprove it. By now I'm the only one but I'm searching for other to insert in the developing team!

Also I'm planning a lot of things for it. Now it handles Maya render queues, but in the future , if the project is appreciated and supported, it will be a renderfarm manager, it will support other 3d packages (and maybe compositing packages) and it will be portable on other platforms such as OS X, Win 32 and IRIX.

All I need is help :D
Developers, testers etc

bye

P.S. I've just released the 0.1.1-beta version. Just a code cleanup an gtk+-2.0 support.

beaker
04-06-2003, 08:27 PM
beaker -> I didn't know there is a queuemanager for maya on linux :( ... However my work is done now, so if it's good we can continue working on it, competition is always good!!
Yea, as I said, glad to see more options. More competition/options is always better.


>>actually most other render managers mentioned only support osx and linux as clients - rush may work as a render manager on linux and osx - i do know it works as a client - i have a hard time discerning info from the rush web site.

Yea, it runs on osx and linux and osx as a manager. I used it on a freelance job last year under linux, windows and irix. Greg programmed most of it in perl(little C), so it can work on just about anything.

>>but even if it does support osx - it is one of the most expensive out there and you could easily purchase a cheap pc server and then use the osx / linux clients for the many other solutions available.

It depends on the situation. I know many studios that are using osx for the frontend(artists) and linux for the backend(rendering). So you would still need the manager for something where the artist is submitting the job(especially if you dont have any very technically inclined artists).

lazlow69
11-17-2003, 05:53 AM
I have been looking for a render to try out on Linux... I want to do something where a render controller can be coupled with an openmosix based render farm... This app might be the bridge.

I hope this is still an active project, and hopefully people might want to chime in here and see what can be done.

BTW:
What's the deal with Linux and Maya licensing, can I start a render farm with 10 nodes of pure rendering based Mayas on Linux, or do I ahve to pay for each node?

This could be a very powerful project to make happen!
:thumbsup:

LordGolem
11-17-2003, 08:50 AM
Well, the project is still active, but I am the only coder and I haven't so much time to push it ahead.
The idea of making it a renderfarm manager is already born some moths ago, so I'm happy to listen you.

About maya licensing, I'm not expert, but I think you have to pay for every node. The alternative I thought was to make it using a clustering system fully trasparent at the eyes of maya. This way it becomes a really big project, but maybe finding more coders it could be possible. There are various open source clustering systems out there to use to make this step.

dann_stubbs
11-17-2003, 06:09 PM
Originally posted by lazlow69
[/B]
BTW:
What's the deal with Linux and Maya licensing, can I start a render farm with 10 nodes of pure rendering based Mayas on Linux, or do I ahve to pay for each node?

This could be a very powerful project to make happen!
:thumbsup: [/B]

render nodes are free for all platforms (up to 9,999) and do not require any serial number - although they do require a blank key file

dann

lazlow69
11-17-2003, 07:24 PM
Hey, it's the renderking!

I stumbled across your website while trying to find out about this stuff. Neat that you've joined this chat!

Do you have any links to a place to verify the idea that you can have many render nodes without licensing? I know I've read it before, having it in writing again would be great stuff.

Also, it seems like you've got a pretty nice business up and running doing this sort of thing, you have any ideas or suggestions to someone who is trying to learn and possibly follow in your footsteps? Idealy I'll be working with a slew of Linux boxes that are diskless nodes on an openmosix cluster... but who knows.


:bowdown: :wavey:

dann_stubbs
11-18-2003, 12:57 AM
Originally posted by lazlow69

Do you have any links to a place to verify the idea that you can have many render nodes without licensing? I know I've read it before, having it in writing again would be great stuff.


http://www.alias.com/eng/products-services/maya/file/maya5_specsheet.pdf

page 5 top left first sentence.. this has been so since maya 4 and maya 3.5 osx

it used to be a big feature mentioned on much of the marketing materials but now that "free render clients" is a standard feature across most apps it isn't touted very much.

dann

lazlow69
11-18-2003, 06:08 AM
Thanks Dann, very concrete link, and good to have on record!

How about other rendering applications like After Effects, 3d Studio Max, etc... I would assume this same licensing structure would apply... Anyone else know if so?

Maybe people could post ideas of how to use a render farm... there are so many things to be done!

dann_stubbs
11-18-2003, 01:00 PM
Originally posted by lazlow69
Thanks Dann, very concrete link, and good to have on record!

How about other rendering applications like After Effects, 3d Studio Max, etc... I would assume this same licensing structure would apply... Anyone else know if so?

Maybe people could post ideas of how to use a render farm... there are so many things to be done!

yup same unlimited clients for AE and MAX, backburner (max render manager) is very nice from what i hear. AE i've seen some people have setup confusion - but i've not set it up myself so i don't know.

AE renderfarm sounds good for inhouse - but the normal AE project has lots of video source with it so net transfer is prohibitive - would require transfer of disks - and with the added time to transfer fedex there and back you just had 48-72 hours you may have been able to render in.

lots of uses for renderfarms to be sure - a couple good ones are to keep the room warm as the machines generate a ton of heat. the other is to burn down your studio as more then a few require heavy duty commercial wiring and outlets.

work related uses are fine too with increased speed etc. but over the year and a half i've had renderking i have searched for many other renderfarms and it is not a good proposition it seems - it appears most have a 1 year lifespan - either going out of business or the cpu's aging and not being competitive to a new single desktop cpu. if it wasn't for this being a sideline/hobby to already owning the hardware etc - it would have been a bad move. the rates i would have needed to charge to actually keep it afloat as a separate "business" wouldn't work - many have hard enough time to justify the low cost i offer as it is - and then there are always other complaints - other users on the farm (everybody wants to render NOW!), net transfer speed, plugins (there are so many and so hard to keep up with all the revisions) - all these are unavoidable issues... the end result usually being anyone interested just goes and buys 1 or 2 cpu's themselves for their own render use. more expensive for them and also now a loss of a "user" for you.

it isn't a bright future for renderfarms i think... individual cpu's get faster every three months and it is easy to but a new a box and then keep the old one for rendering too.

i am suprised at the user churn i see on even my small farm. i may have a user for a month or two but then they usually pick one of the above options and i usually don't hear from them again... : ( except with questions on how to set up their own small farm - which i don't really mind but as a business that would be difficult - it is a natural evolution - but i find it sadder since during their use of the farm we usually email and chat a bit and it is like losing a friend.

dann

lazlow69
11-18-2003, 05:31 PM
Dann,

Very nicely done. That was basically an answer to all the questions I could think of relating to the pros and cons of starting a business like this.

Like you, I wouldn't be specifically buying a pile of new PC's for this type of setup, and selling render time. Rather, it would be a slow accumulation of machines that can be "grafted" into a main grid. Using software like the whole openmosix structure, which seems so promsing (a flexible grid computing platform that can easily handle machines coming and going at random times), I think it could grow with time.

What I think I would probably do, and this wouldn't be for a few years, would be to try to acquire a large group of off-lease or used corporate computers. So perhaps I could acquire 30 PIII 800Mhz machines, for example, or something like that. The price would be much lower than buying new, and I would use the machines to partially set up a dedicated render farm, and partially to set up a computer training center (I am a computer graphics professor and trainer, and there is steady money in this.) When the training machines are not in use (statistically the majority of the time), they can be network booted into a minimal and efficient linux kernel and grafted into the "brain". In the morning, back to regular simple training PCs. Almost diabolical or Sci-Fi sounding, but quite plausable and efficient I would hope.

I'm sure others do this, but by virtue of the combo of dual use computers, and buying large volume of used (the price point would be wonderful), this could prove to be a low cost startup.

Anyway, this conversation is quite rewarding, so maybe some other people with similar experience, dreams, hopes, could get involved and share ideas.



:p

dann_stubbs
11-18-2003, 07:06 PM
Originally posted by lazlow69
Dann,

Very nicely done. That was basically an answer to all the questions I could think of relating to the pros and cons of starting a business like this.

Like you, I wouldn't be specifically buying a pile of new PC's for this type of setup, and selling render time. Rather, it would be a slow accumulation of machines that can be "grafted" into a main grid. Using software like the whole openmosix structure, which seems so promsing (a flexible grid computing platform that can easily handle machines coming and going at random times), I think it could grow with time.
:p

the only thing about going for a cluster render is your main bottleneck is going to be your interconnect between your nodes.

make sure your head controller is maxed out cpu and ram to handle all the nodes and just remember that how they are connected will be your bottleneck. especially with any data intensive transfers - using 100base or gigabase will work but be the limiter on how efficent they nodes will be most likely.

(i did a bit of research on making a linux cluster to render maya a few months ago - i posted about it either in this forum (maya or c4d) or on the cinema4d forum at www.postforum.com i think)

dann

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