How Do I Setup a Render Farm between 2-3 Mac Pro's??

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Old 03 March 2013   #1
How Do I Setup a Render Farm between 2-3 Mac Pro's??

Hello, so I've got 3 mac pro's that I'd like to set up as a render farm for maya. I've got animations that will take over a month to render out on one mac and I don't have that kind of time to just wait around for one animation. I've looked into mayas backburner but its not the kind of "render farm" I need but would be helpful to understand it if you all have information on it for mac.

What I need is for all the macs to be working together to render each frame at a time, not one frame per mac in which backburner does. I've been trying to understand the maya terminal found in the maya folder in applications. Assuming that this is where i should begin my process and write the scripts to render my scene, im still not sure how to share the render on the other macs. Basically what i need is a step by step process of how to set up a renderfarm from beginning to end including the script to write for the macs to comunicate and render. I cant seem to find a video/tutorial that can help me and I'm a bit desperate :(

Kaila
 
Old 03 March 2013   #2
Originally Posted by chaotrolism: What I need is for all the macs to be working together to render each frame at a time, not one frame per mac in which backburner does.


A traditional render farm has one machine render one frame, add a bunch of machines and you can render animation faster. What you're referring to is image tiling which is far less efficient for animations and is really only used to improve performance of rendering one frame (like a high resolution image for a poster, not an animation). In other words, if you're rendering an animation and you want it to render faster you should use Backburner (or something similar that does the same).
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Old 03 March 2013   #3
Alright cool, I've got some idea of how to use the backburner but wasn't sure. Now the reason why I had inquired on both ways is because I also render out high quality images (for banners and the like) that take a good 30 mins or more of waiting... depending on what exactly Im rendering. Im guessing I need a render manager to do this... This "render farm" concept is pretty foreign to me so bear with me a little :/ was taking a look at the RenderPal manager but if you have other ideas or opinions please do share! Thank you!
 
Old 03 March 2013   #4
Originally Posted by chaotrolism: Now the reason why I had inquired on both ways is because I also render out high quality images (for banners and the like) that take a good 30 mins or more of waiting... depending on what exactly Im rendering.


Renderers and render queue managers handle one machine rendering one frame pretty well since this is an established and efficient method. Tiled rendering (image tiling, whatever you want to call it) where multiple machines render one frame is where things get a little murky because not all renderers and queue managers natively handle this. If it isn't built into the renderer and queue manager already you have to set things up manually, like offsetting the "film gate" of the camera for each tile and then manually compositing them together after the render. Basically there's no silver bullet for tiling. It all depends on your software and pipeline.
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Old 03 March 2013   #5
Alright so I got it to render something on backburner but I cant manage these jobs because there is no manager that pops up... I have maya 2013 and I was wonder if I need to delete the backburner that came with maya and download backburner separately? I have read this quite often but im not sure if this is true for 2013 and if i should use the 2010 version of backburner for mac.

I also believe only one computer is rendering these images too... since I cant see what computer is doing what because I have no manager..

Finally, when it rendered out images... the objects where rendered out as black silhouettes on a white background. Im sure it was just something stupid I wrote in script but Im going to try it again today and see whats the matter.
 
Old 03 March 2013   #6
Originally Posted by chaotrolism: Alright so I got it to render something on backburner but I cant manage these jobs because there is no manager that pops up... I have maya 2013 and I was wonder if I need to delete the backburner that came with maya and download backburner separately? I have read this quite often but im not sure if this is true for 2013 and if i should use the 2010 version of backburner for mac.

I also believe only one computer is rendering these images too... since I cant see what computer is doing what because I have no manager..


I've never used Backburner but I imagine it would have some kind of interface to check jobs and statuses. If it doesn't, maybe find a different queue manager that has the features you need.

Originally Posted by chaotrolism: Finally, when it rendered out images... the objects where rendered out as black silhouettes on a white background. Im sure it was just something stupid I wrote in script but Im going to try it again today and see whats the matter.


This is a guess but there might be things only accessible from the workstation. For example if you have a texture on an object and it's referenced absolutely (like /projects/textures/wall.exr) then when the nodes go to render they won't be able to find the texture unless the path is the same for all of the nodes (like if /projects was a mounted network drive).
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Old 03 March 2013   #7
K so I got a call from Autodesks technical support and I seem to have been going about this all wrong now.. I feel so retarded about all this haha! So apparently I need to connect to a web monitor through either Firefox or Chrome... I have yet to receive instructions on how to hook up all my computers... But when I do and hopefully this will go through just fine, I'll confirm how well the setup goes... In case if any other newbie comes along that's trying to make a simple render farm between macs.
 
Old 12 December 2013   #8
I'm trying to do the exact same thing on 4 Mac Pros. Did they ever get back to you about how to set it up?
 
Old 12 December 2013   #9
Backburner is kind of flaky. What renderer are you using?

You don't need a render manager like Backburner or Deadline to do network renders. You just install the slave software on the other Macs and tell the host Mac to use the slaves. If you're using mental ray, look into using mental ray satellite and setting up your maya.rayhosts file to point to the slave machines' IPs:

http://download.autodesk.com/global...mber=d30e724178

Here is a separate guide I wrote on how to set up command line rendering on OS X:

http://polygonspixelsandpaint.tumblr.com/post/701899285
 
Old 12 December 2013   #10
Yeah. I'm using mental ray satellite right now and am looking for a more efficient system. I feel like splitting up individual frames over the network is inefficient, especially for animations. It's frustrating to have access to 5 Mac pros, That's 24 cores (via hyper threading), and I consistently see them underused when rendering via satellite vs rendering locally.

So, I'm looking into back burner and other render managers that do a frame at a time per machine.
 
Old 12 December 2013   #11
Try this:

http://www.braverabbit.de/playground/?p=410
 
Old 12 December 2013   #12
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