View Full Version : Mac to Pc (XP) Eternal Renderer

06 June 2011, 12:18 AM
Hey Guys,

Im working a slight render farm (if you like, well render machine) I'll be using 1 old box that is running XP Home (sp3) and my MBP which will run Maya 2011.

The spec of my old machine is P4 2.8ghz 1gb Ram (this could be upgraded if needs be)

*I know this is an old machine but im going to see if it can be useful

My first question is. Can i work on scenes in maya on my MBP and then queue them up, send them to my XP box and render? My laptop and my desktop would be connected via a standard ethernet cable. (Time is not a issue with rendering. It will just sit in a corner and chug away)

Im almost sorted with using a VNC to control my XP box.

Anything else i should consider?


06 June 2011, 12:43 AM
Sometimes it can be difficult to mix render machines with different operating systems, but if you have only one render machine and thus know it's os you can just edit the submissionscript for backburner.

Deadline can run unlicensed if you just need a repository and two render machines, so you could use that one. .

The issues I know is that you need to setup your project so you store textures and other resources on addresses reachable throughout the network. Rendering FG with mental ray will give diffent results if rendered on different computers, so if you'd get the idea to render with both your computers you'll have to render and store the FG maps with one of the computers first and then render the beauty pass using the stored FG maps.

06 June 2011, 01:00 AM
Thanks for the quick response tobbew.

I'll have a look at thinkbox and see what i can do.

with regards to...

store textures and other resources on addresses reachable throughout the network
Would this mean Storing the textures and full pojects on the render machine?

Basic :)

06 June 2011, 06:29 AM
What I do at home is run mental ray satellite on my PC (under ubuntu Linux, not win). My iMac and PC are on the same wired network, and it works great! Mental ray satellite is a way to use processors of slave computers to speed up a render (either preview or batch) on a master computer. The only downside to mental ray sat is that you need to use mental ray to render, but that is perfectly fine for my needs.

06 June 2011, 07:18 PM
Thanks for your setup as well brucem91. Ive never thought of running a linux box. I'll do some linux research and see what i come up with. Also thats another good point that you raise. What sort of renders will i be doing? I need to think about this a little more. Thanks again :)

06 June 2011, 08:06 PM
Yes, using a second machine is very dependent on your needs. Btw the main reason I use ubuntu vs win7 is because I was unsuccessful in setting up windows as a render slave. Mac os x and Linux are a bit easier to setup a satellite machine in my opinion.

06 June 2011, 08:43 PM
Thanks again brucem91 this is very useful and also interesting. Im thinking of investing in a new box as i think it will help stop a lot of compatibility issues. I have a few friends who are big Linux's heads so i'll be asking them! :)

06 June 2011, 08:56 PM
Thanks again brucem91 this is very useful and also interesting. Im thinking of investing in a new box as i think it will help stop a lot of compatibility issues. I have a few friends who are big Linux's heads so i'll be asking them! :) compatabilty issues?

06 June 2011, 09:13 PM
Yeah, its more of a software/hardware thing. My old box wont run Maya as its XP Home 32bit sp3. It needs to be at least XP professional sp2 I believe so its little things like this that are making me think its better to upgrade to some newer hardware. If XP pro was to work i think i would be happy just using XP. Plus the processer i have in the box can only handle 32bit. My MBP is i7 is 64bit.

06 June 2011, 02:43 PM
if you just want a cheap render workhorse, a Hackintosh could work and it would be easier to network with your MBP. Just look around for builds that are stable. I don't know if network rendering between Linux and OS X would be any better than between Windows and OS X, since the paths are different anyway. The good news is that, if you're using mental ray, OS X is faster than Windows on the same hardware:

06 June 2011, 03:17 PM
Hmmm interesting. I looked into a hacky a couple of years ago before i was on Mac and i completely forgot about these. Thanks for the link also. As i was saying before the faster the better but ideally have a Mac to render on would be better. I sometimes connect to a mac network when im freelancing and the beauty of plug and play! :)

06 June 2011, 08:50 PM
You can have you render master and slaves on different operating systems. You just need to be very precise with you network settings and you need to make there's no firewall on any of the machines blocking the ports.

I'm personally using Win7 x64 as my workstation an master and have added 4 MacPro's as slaves. After some troubleshooting it now runs like a charm!

06 June 2011, 04:28 AM
That's good to hear. Are you using MR Satellite?

06 June 2011, 07:29 AM
Yes I am.

I've got my scene/project folder on my Master, added the (OSX-)slaves to my maya.rayhosts file and made sure there's nothing blocking the ports (which has turned out to be a pain figuring out in OSX 10.6).

I'm using Maya 2012 HF2 and the latest version of the satellites (3.9.1).

06 June 2011, 04:05 PM
Thanks for sharing also. any reason you have 4 MacPro running as slaves? Were these what you had lying around?

yeah I've discovered even file sharing between windows and mac to be a bit of a pain. The quest continues! :)

06 June 2011, 06:27 PM
The studio I work at has both Macs for graphics designers and PC laptops for web developers. I'm the first (and only one) doing 3D, and I'm the only PC user with a powerful machine - a core i7 970 with 12GB RAM. Hence the Macs being slaves.

03 March 2012, 03:03 PM
Wow i like this thread!

Has anyone here tried a Mac> Pc renderfarm with Vray for Maya?
I'm allergic to Mental Ray, especially MR satellitte (eeeugh).

Will i enter into a world of pain if i buy an extra PC for some cheap rendernode firepower to complement my Mac based (Vray) set up?

03 March 2012, 05:30 PM
it should work fine but you'd have to fake the texture paths since the UNIX-like /Volumes/path/to/textures/ won't work in Windows, even if the path is mounted. I would recommend using Linux on the slave so you can use symlinks that match. You could then just make a bunch of folders in Linux that mimic the /Volumes/path/to/textures with textures being a symlink to the mounted sourceimages path

otherwise, just make a hackintosh and avoid the path problem entirely since you can mount the texture volumes to match the path exactly

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03 March 2012, 05:30 PM
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