View Full Version : render farm setup? (not screamernet related)

07 July 2003, 11:40 PM
Ok, I work at a small company, and currently I'm looked to as the "go to guy" when it comes to the networking and setup of our office and render farm. I guess "render garden" is more appropriate. It only consists of 6 dedicated renderers and at night the workstations are dropped in to help out. Right now it works ok. Just ok. Nobody at the office is a tech guru. The only reason I became the networking guy is because I was the only one to say screw it, I'll see what I can do. We're all art school grads who over the years have learned the computer and this lightwave program. Outside of lightwave, our computer knowledge is pretty limited. I know it could be setup a lot better, and if things work out, we'll need to increase both the amount of workstations and renderers. All of which is well outside mine or any other of my coworkers' skills. I guess my question is, who knows how to hook all this stuff up and the ins and outs of what's needed for 3d production? Can regular System Admin types do this stuff if you explain what you need your setup to do or are there certain companies or people that specialize in setting up renderfarms etc.? We still want to use the lightwave renderer, but don't know what steps we should take or who we should get in our office to get us where we need to be. Anyway, if you guys know any answers please point me in the right direction.


07 July 2003, 12:34 AM
There's really nothing to it... If you've done it with your workstations already, there's no reason you couldn't do it for a dedicated render farm. It's just a matter of plugging the machines into the network, creating the shortcuts to LWSN, and you're done :)

Sounds like what you need to know is more about what machines to get for the renderfarm, rather than how to set it up. The answer to that is bare minimum, but highly specced hardware. You don't need any of the extras, cd-roms, monitors, etc. Check out for some ideas of what you need...

07 July 2003, 12:47 AM
thanks kretin, actually the machines that are dedicated renderers are boxx renderboxxes. Your response gives me a little more confidence in what I've done so far. I guess in the actual networking end is where I think we could be better. I know there's a lot more to it than what I know. Right now we're using tequila scream for our network renderer, and maybe that's the problem. Its just so finicky. I have to stop animating by 4pm and start setting up renders if I want to get out by 8pm. I'm constantly finding things don't render correctly but its usually because of things being in the wrong place. Also the sheer amount of data being pumped through the network seems to freak out half the computers so that when I come in in the mornings, half of the machines have crashed. Maybe that's just something where we need to move up to gigabit ethernet. I don't know. I just wish there was someone who could come in and say "oh, ok. Here you need to set this up this way and ..." Anyway, my techie know-how is at its limits.

07 July 2003, 12:49 AM
ps. big fan of your stuff. I've learned a lot looking at your rigs.:thumbsup:

07 July 2003, 01:00 AM
Thanks billy :)

I see what you mean now...

Crashing can sometimes be caused by hardware, but there are some issues with scenes that can cause lwsn crashing too, like spreadsheet master plugs being left in the scenes.

So there are some issues you have that could be helped by a network admin type guru, but maybe also some that would only be helped by someone with experience in large network rendering with LW.

07 July 2003, 01:06 AM
I didn't know about the spreadsheet manager problem, and I know for a fact that may be one of the causes. Is there a resource that lists other problems like that with lwsn? Also is there a way to purge unused plugs in a scene? I want to say I've seen that somewhere before, but not sure.

07 July 2003, 01:30 AM
Yeah I believe Newtek are working on the problem, don't know of a list, but for now just make sure you kill any master plugs that you don't need.

Don't know of any plugs, but there may be one that does it. Otherwise you could try a search/replace on the scenes in Notepad, once you've found the offending lines...

07 July 2003, 01:32 AM
Oh, I have heard that some network rendering managers, like tequila, automatically strip out that sorta thing, but I'm not sure which ones... be worth contacting them to get the latest version and to ask if they can automatically get around the problem..

07 July 2003, 01:37 AM
thanks kretin, I'll keep an eye on those master plugs. I know I use a lot of proxy pick items, and that may be why when I watch the render windows I get a message about "couldn't find object interface" or something like that. They usually don't keep them from rendering, but I'll definitely pay more attention to those type of plugs in the scenes. I'll send an email out to Chepe of Digital Toonz to see if he can help.

07 July 2003, 01:41 AM
Ooh, proxypick is evil... avoid it if you can... Not necessarily because of network rendering, but it's a pain in the butt in all sorts of ways :p

07 July 2003, 01:54 AM

yeah, its pretty funny getting a bunch of characters together in a scene that have proxy pick items. Their little dotted lines start going all over the place. Next project, I'll know better.

CGTalk Moderation
01 January 2006, 02:00 PM
This thread has been automatically closed as it remained inactive for 12 months. If you wish to continue the discussion, please create a new thread in the appropriate forum.