Simple render farm

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  09 September 2012
Simple render farm


I have three computers and I'd like to setup a rendering farm for maya sw and mentalray renderers. I found a few links, and the most notable one is:

From what I understand I need to install maya and mental ray satellite on each computer, and if I have more than one job, then I should use a job manager such as backburner.

Any tips?
  09 September 2012
Maya 2013, let's consider only two computers a server and a slave.

1. I installed on both the mr satellite, and added the slave to the master's

C:\Program Files\Autodesk\Maya2013\mentalray\maya.rayhosts

I render, and the slave isn't exploited.

2. I installed backburner on both computers, ran the bb master on the master, and a bb server on the slave. The manager detects the connection from the server. I created a job from maya, but maya just hangs - no errors, no indication, in a typical maya style

Last edited by zoharl : 09 September 2012 at 09:53 AM.
  09 September 2012
same here... backburner is freezing maya...
someone told me that the last backburner version that will work is 2008... havnt tried it...

im using the free version of deadline now... cause i have only two slaves...
its working really good... easy to use and setup...

you could also try the free version of renderpal... think its working for tree slaves...


Last edited by oglu : 09 September 2012 at 03:29 PM.
  09 September 2012
Thanks, I'll try them out.
  09 September 2012
If you're only using 2 slaves, get Thinkbox Deadline. You're allowed 2 slaves to render for free.
  09 September 2012
In your maya.rayhosts file, do you have the Maya 2013 port number appended to each slave IP address?

Mine looks kinda like this, using the 2012 port number. I'm assuming for 2013 it's '7413'. (I don't know why, but the forum is inserting spaces at the beginning of some lines below):

Do a port scan from your master to your slave to determine if the port is actually open.

Make sure that in the Maya GUI under Batch Render Options, "Render on Network Machines" is checked.

Run a test job through your command line with verbosity level 5. Within the first 20 lines of render output, you should see something like:

// mental ray for Maya: using rayhosts file /Users/username/Library/Preferences/Autodesk/maya/2012-x64/prefs//maya.rayhosts
          Info: (mental ray) : adding rayhosts
          Info: (mental ray) : adding host: slaveOneIPaddress:7412
          MSG  0.0  info : adding new host 1 (slaveOneIPaddress:7412)
          MSG  0.0  error  011330: mi-ray/tcp: not a service (check /etc/services)
          MSG  0.0  warn   012219: using fallback inet service 7003
          JOB  0.0  info : started threads 0,1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8,9,10,11,12,13,14,15,16,17,18,19,  20,21,22,23 on slaveOneIPaddress:7412 now known as host 1
          Info: (mental ray) : adding host: slaveTwoIPaddress:7412
          MSG  0.0  info : adding new host 2 (slaveTwoIPaddress:7412)
          MSG  1.0  info : version, Dec  7 2011, revision 162457
          MSG  1.0  info : mental ray satellite, version
          JOB  0.0  info : started threads 0,1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8,9,10,11,12,13,14,15,16,17,18,19,  20,21,22,23 on slaveTwoIPaddress:7412 now known as host 2
          Info: (mental ray) : network rendering slaves: slaveOneIPaddress:7412 slaveTwoIPaddress:7412

You should also see a process called 'raysat' on your slave machines which performs the render.

I don't use Backburner. I found it to be terribly unstable, unpredictable and wholly unreliable. Deadline, Smedge and Muster all showed a lot of potential but it seemed to me they were too costly and spread too thin. Sure, they support every known render engine, but none of them worked reliably or in the way I expected them to. I don't like having to launch three apps, for example (slavenode, managernode, monitornode, or whatever they were). Your results may vary, and I haven't looked into them for a while. I ended up writing a very basic 'roll-your-own' queue management system set up for job distribution across masters. It's not loaded with functionality, but it's very reliable and I know exactly what it's going to do.
  09 September 2012
Okay, backburner is useless and I should try Deadline or your script if you can share it, but I'm still curios about BB. So let's give it another try.

Yes, it's port 7413, and I added it to each slave.

What exactly did you mean by running from the command line?
I ran from cmd.exe:

render -mr:v 5 test.mb > log.txt

but it didn't load the rayhosts file.
  09 September 2012
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