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SlipAway
05-10-2009, 02:23 AM
I'm currently using mental Ray satellite on a laptop as a 2nd render node but it's wearing me out with its on and off working status. My main workstation is running Maya 2009 64 bit, while the laptop is running Satellite 32 bit. So I'm considering finding an alternative to this silliness and have read up on some possible solutions using a render manager such as Deadline or Renderpal. I need some educating on the use of these apps so I'd appreciate if any experts out there can chime in.

1. Is there much of a difference using a RM as opposed to MR satellite?
2. How exactly does a RM work, since satellite will be disabled on the laptop, what does it use to render on the 2nd node?
3. What exactly needs to be installed on both computers to take advantage of the RM, using Maya and mental Ray?
4. Will a RM prevent MR satellite-like crashes when I'm trying to use the various features of MR, such as Irradiance Particles?

Thanks in advance.

SlipAway
05-10-2009, 06:46 PM
Anyone? Lots of views an no replies. Surely someone has knowledge of these things, I've seen some highly skilled and knowledgeable Maya users out there share some great info.

AthorNZ
05-10-2009, 10:49 PM
A render manager works by basically launching a completely separate maya batch render on the node machine. So if your renders work in maya batch on your main machine, they should work on the render farm.

When you set up your render job you will specify how many frames each chunk has.
The render manager then sends out the 'chunks' to the render nodes. So if you chunks are set to 5 frames, each render node will render out 5 frames, then the render manager will send another chunk, render another 5 frames etc.

As far as I know you will need maya installed on the render nodes. Not sure if you can just install just the render engine.

A good render manager to use, especially for the individual is RenderPal. You can get a free license with up to 3 nodes.

SlipAway
05-11-2009, 12:33 AM
A render manager works by basically launching a completely separate maya batch render on the node machine. So if your renders work in maya batch on your main machine, they should work on the render farm.

When you set up your render job you will specify how many frames each chunk has.
The render manager then sends out the 'chunks' to the render nodes. So if you chunks are set to 5 frames, each render node will render out 5 frames, then the render manager will send another chunk, render another 5 frames etc.

As far as I know you will need maya installed on the render nodes. Not sure if you can just install just the render engine.

A good render manager to use, especially for the individual is RenderPal. You can get a free license with up to 3 nodes.

That is good info thanks. So in essence, this method will use the Maya built-in renderer and leave satellite out of it. Do you have to render only in batch mode? Or can I do a regular viewport render using the RM? My feeling is this is mainly used for long batch renders. It would be nice to do single frame renders without crashing, and being able to use my laptop as a node also.

AthorNZ
05-11-2009, 12:59 AM
Usually a render manager is used for doing renders of a sequence of frames, because being able to render on multiple machines at once means the job will get done a whole lot faster.

But a lot of render managers also have features for splitting up the rendering of a frame over multiple machines, you are still doing a batch render, but you can set it to a single frame.

RenderPal has this feature built in too I think. I think its called frame slicing, so you just specify the regions of the image you want split up and it will tell the different machines to render the different regions.

Its not as easy as being able to hit render from maya, and have the nodes automatically kick in and share the rendering, but its a lot more reliable. And if a node for some reason crashed or was hanging its really simple to just restart that chunk, whereas with satellite if a node hangs you need to restart your whole render.


The other alternative, if you dont want to setup a render manager would be to just render from the command line. You can specify the regions to render, so it would just involve setting the batch render going through command line on each machine, just with different values for your regions. There are some scripts on highend that make this a whole lot easier too.

djx
05-11-2009, 01:04 AM
None of the render managers I have looked at will work for render view renders. They are designed to launch batch renders. Some can split a frame across multiple computers, others just send a frame (or a group of frames) to each engine.

Download and try RenderPal which will give you 3 free network licenses so you can get an idea of how it all works (most other managers work in a similar way).

Keep in mind that for maya mentalray renders you will need a maya licence for each engine.

edit: hey Josh, I think I almost just repeated what you wrote :blush:

-- David

AthorNZ
05-11-2009, 02:39 AM
None of the render managers I have looked at will work for render view renders. They are designed to launch batch renders. Some can split a frame across multiple computers, others just send a frame (or a group of frames) to each engine.

Download and try RenderPal which will give you 3 free network licenses so you can get an idea of how it all works (most other managers work in a similar way).

Keep in mind that for maya mentalray renders you will need a maya licence for each engine.

edit: hey Josh, I think I almost just repeated what you wrote :blush:

-- David

Good to have someone back me up =)

SlipAway
05-11-2009, 04:50 AM
None of the render managers I have looked at will work for render view renders. They are designed to launch batch renders. Some can split a frame across multiple computers, others just send a frame (or a group of frames) to each engine.

Download and try RenderPal which will give you 3 free network licenses so you can get an idea of how it all works (most other managers work in a similar way).

Keep in mind that for maya mentalray renders you will need a maya licence for each engine.

edit: hey Josh, I think I almost just repeated what you wrote :blush:

-- David

So then if I use something like Renderpal, I'll have to get a license for Maya on my laptop and it will access the mental ray part of that install to help with the renders it sounds like? Would another solution be to install mental ray standalone on the laptop and Renderpal could use that instead of an entire Maya install?

Thanks for the awesome info guys I appreciate. Keep any other tips coming this way it's making things clearer now.

SlipAway
05-11-2009, 04:53 AM
Usually a render manager is used for doing renders of a sequence of frames, because being able to render on multiple machines at once means the job will get done a whole lot faster.

But a lot of render managers also have features for splitting up the rendering of a frame over multiple machines, you are still doing a batch render, but you can set it to a single frame.

RenderPal has this feature built in too I think. I think its called frame slicing, so you just specify the regions of the image you want split up and it will tell the different machines to render the different regions.

Its not as easy as being able to hit render from maya, and have the nodes automatically kick in and share the rendering, but its a lot more reliable. And if a node for some reason crashed or was hanging its really simple to just restart that chunk, whereas with satellite if a node hangs you need to restart your whole render.


The other alternative, if you dont want to setup a render manager would be to just render from the command line. You can specify the regions to render, so it would just involve setting the batch render going through command line on each machine, just with different values for your regions. There are some scripts on highend that make this a whole lot easier too.

I did read that Renderpal has that image slicing I think it's called. That's what enticed me to look into it. Sounds like you have very precise control about what happens behind the scenes. Do you know if there is any known issues using a 64 bit workstation, and a 32 bit laptop as a 2nd node in such a setup? Mental ray satellite definitely does not like combining the 2 in certain situations.

AthorNZ
05-11-2009, 07:30 AM
There shouldnt be any issues with mixing 64bit and 32bit nodes. I'm pretty sure you cant use mental ray standalone to render a maya file. It would need to be exported as a mental ray standalone file. So you would need a maya license on each machine.

EightBit
05-11-2009, 03:16 PM
Is there a way to net-render Maya scenes without a license of Maya on each node?
If not, that's $5k per node, just for distributed rendering!

luxwork
05-11-2009, 03:29 PM
maya software will render without a license. You can only hope that they will start to give away free mentalrayformaya licenses, like they do for Max.
Suddenly, houdini with it's free render licenses, does not seem so expensive, huh.
MD

Is there a way to net-render Maya scenes without a license of Maya on each node?
If not, that's $5k per node, just for distributed rendering!

Als
05-13-2009, 11:35 PM
If you have only one license for rendering, then when you use batch render you can render either on both machines, but also you can run rendering only on slave machine.
If you want to run sequence render from renderview, check out there is couple of good mel scripts on highend3d to allow you to do that.


Al

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