Screamernet making me SCREAM!!!

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Old 08 August 2006   #1
Screamernet making me SCREAM!!!

OK, this is a call for help, as I have been working on this renderfarm for months now on and off, and I am at my wits end.
I am on a mac G5 dual 2.5Gb machine running RenderFarm Commander Hobby Edition.
So in theory I can render using up to 8 nodes. This is fine..
I can hook up and run the nodes. I am running one at the moment off a G4. Also had a success run with controlling a PC node. BUt...
Can anyone tell me why nodes will chug away, rendering and then when it comes to writing the file_ nothing happens. they just jump to the next frame.
I have set my permissions to allow the nodes to read and write in all the folders on the command/content drive. I have run a test with just screamernet, and again the same issue ..
the node will render away, and then bam, no file...
so i have the control, i have the communication to a point- does anybody out there have any idea why the external nodes will not write to my content directory? any ideas on fixing it?
OSX 10.3.9
Hell, there are no rules here-- we're trying to accomplish something.
-- Thomas A. Edison

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Old 08 August 2006   #2
In your output settings for your images in your scene, have you gone through the network for your save path? You have to do it the long way too. e.g. Network neighborhood -> Entire network -> etc.
Virtually everything has to be 'network aware' for this to work. Hope it helps, I know how you feel by the way - I've been there
Old 08 August 2006   #3
check all configuration of lw, and screamernet, and verify if they are setupped for lan work, try to do the same thing with lw across the lan, check the plugin configuration of screamernet, check the space of disk, and good luck
Danger! Mad Scientist at work
I'm a mad genius, a mad scientist, someone like dr. jeckill and frankestein with a bit of Bugs Bunny.
Old 08 August 2006   #4
Do a "repair permissions" on ALL your Macs (use Onyx or some similar software). Then make sure ALL the disks your LW scenes and objects may need to access are mounted on EACH render node (Mac) and permissions are set to allow them to be accessed by anyone on the network (read AND write). You can also try setting your disks to "ignore ownership" - a little check box in the info window of NON-startup disks.

RFC works unbelievably well, and has NEVER let me down once it is configured correctly. If the stuff I mentioned above doesn't work, trash EVERYTHING to do with RFC except the application and support files, then go through the WHOLE setup process step-by-step, using the instructions. Don't skip ANYthing, and read the troubleshooting section at the end of the instructions.

The biggest issue with files not writing is permissions... check and double check that it's all correct.

If you're still having trouble, you should contact Bruce Rayne directly. He's based in Australia and is amazingly quick and thorough in his responses to tech questions. Good guy, great product.

Good luck!
| Motion Graphics | 3D | VFX |
Old 08 August 2006   #5
The persmissions issue is what I would say to look into as well...Not sure if it's the same on Macs, but when we started using rendernodes, we sometimes had issues (running winboxes) where a couple had passworded logins. Sometimes you would'nt get a login prompt or a machine would reconnect and loose it's login authority.
Old 08 August 2006   #6
Thankyou all for your responses.
I will be going over this witha fine tooth comb today and with any luck we will come out on top.
I will post my results at the end of the day.
here goes...
Hell, there are no rules here-- we're trying to accomplish something.
-- Thomas A. Edison

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Old 08 August 2006   #7
well, it seems that I have only made it worse...
I deleted all the nodes, rebuilt them using RFC, and no joy.
I deleted those new nodes, rebuilt everything with safe build mode, and no joy...
deleted the new new nodes, and renuilt everything with safe build exclusive loading, same result! BAH!
so I recheck all my drives... check everything to have read & write permissions...
run through RFC processes as before, and nothing. tried remapping content/command directories... read FAQ's... reread manual...
I ran disk utility, repaired permissions, and then found that I couldnt find a drive on the network afterwards. then after I have found the drives again, i am getting error like -> can't access scene file. -> can't find command directory....
I could beforehand. ARGH!...
So now I am deleting it all again and starting from scratch again...
Thankyou all for your help...
These MACs are driving me crazy!
the only thing I can think of is that the G4 is running 10.1.5 and the host dual G5 is running 10.3.9
and that 10.1.5 is crap over the network...
I apologise for my rant... this shouldn't be this hard... and it seems that it is.
Hell, there are no rules here-- we're trying to accomplish something.
-- Thomas A. Edison

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Old 08 August 2006   #8
sorry to hear that, but even though some guys say it's a snap, it can be that hard, especially if you have a mixed OS version setup. We had one Win2k box that always was having issues with lossing persmissions , even when the farm was finally setup and working.
Maybe drop back to trying a standard screamer net setup and see if you can get that going.
THIS PDF by Matt Gorner is pretty useful and has setup for PC and MAC

HERE IS another (bottom of page)I found for Screamer and Mac OSX...didn't read it so not sure how good it is.

Hang in, it's doable but you might loose some hair in the process.
Old 08 August 2006   #9
On Windows you can run LWSN inside a visible DOS command window, so you can see exactly what is going on (there may be a similar way to do this on OSX, I'm not sure). With plain vanilla ScreamerNet you just run lwsn.exe manually from the command line (with appropriate parameters for the 'job' and 'ack' files). I'm not sure about the different render queueing systems, but they should offer this as an option.

Once you have LWSN running in a visible window, you should be able to see some kind of useful error message.
Old 08 August 2006   #10
THanks again guys. Softdistortion, I will hang in there, its just a tad trying as I am trying to sell this idea to my employer, and I have been able to get it to work so far and then its mainly the write issue that has stopped me everytime.
The other problem is that I am forced into a mac environment in our design department, even though all our graphic programmers use PC's.
Our It dude is good, but even he is a tad stumped at the moment.
I am not on a str4ict deadline, but it is getting a little obvious to people that we are struggling a little, and then that makes it look a little like its more trouble than its worth and so on.
but we shall push on. thanks for the docs and support guys.
Dmaas, I have been running the LWSN nodes without quiet mode turned off, so i can see what is going wrong. It seems to be a permissions issue with the macs talking to each other even when I have turned permissions off... \
I shall soldier on!
Hell, there are no rules here-- we're trying to accomplish something.
-- Thomas A. Edison

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Old 08 August 2006   #11
I feel your pain...having people watching as you struggle with something like this isn't fun. Once you get it all working it is worth it and you will be vindicated when you all see your frames flying out on all the nodes...kind of a clouds parting, angels singing thing...course that only lasts till something goes wacky during a big render set -then you start tensing again.
Old 08 August 2006   #12
Screamernet is the red-headed stepchild of Lightwave. Has suffered neglect and doesn't get any attention. Even is equally neglected brother, "Character Animation with Lightwave" gets more attention....also always negative. Hopefully a simplier way to get Screamernet working quickly and simply gets done within 9.x.
Old 08 August 2006   #13
OK, I am back and somewhat perplexed.
I have successfully setup the Farm to a point. I will detail what I have doen so others may learn from my frustration:
  • I have set up a partitioned drive as the command and content directory. This is where all my content and commands and scene files and everything are kept... (many LWSN users have told me this is the way tp go, and so far it works to a point)
  • Due to some irregularity with OSX 10.1.3, it doesnt want to talk to OSX 10.3.9. I can't map to my pref files on the G5 (OSX 10.3) from the G4 (10.1). So I have made a "mirror" of my prefs and copied my plugins folder over to the G4. Mapped G4 node to G4 files, but mapped output to Partition drive and I have green across the board. My RFC node checker is happy again...
but, I can only render scenes with particles... I get an error message saying "can't find objects/insertobject_here.lwo

so i can now read my scene files, i can write my scene files... does anybody know why LWSN can't find my objects?

so close yet so far....
Hell, there are no rules here-- we're trying to accomplish something.
-- Thomas A. Edison

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Old 08 August 2006   #14
I'm assuming we are now talking about you trying Screamer net?
anyways...if you can get the nodes to render and send back the output frames to your main machine, then you must have the permissions working, so that's good.
For what you have happening now, it's kind of basic, but did you share the whole drive , or individual folders? If it's the later you might have missed some folders in the share.
You need to check and recheck all your command files to make sure you have them written/setup properly. also, not sure if you looked at that MAC tut I linked, but I noticed this right at the start>
Quote: "With previous versions of Jaguar (10.2-10.2.2) a bug reared its ugly head that caused ScreamerNet to 'break'. Therefore you must install OSX(10.2.3) or later in order to guarantee success with this tutorial."

Like I mentioned earlier, we had issues with the single win2k box...the rest were all the same XP os and worked fine once setup files were written properly. I think having different OS versions could add another level of possible problems, even though they should theoreticaly all talk to each other just fine.

...take a break to get some time to go over what you are doing and have done already, you can get too consumed by it all and start missing obvious things once you have so many redos into it already.
Old 08 August 2006   #15
I'd say save your nerves and buy Butterfly. It isn't all that expensive and it's super easy to set up. And it also brings some pretty nice features into LW like splitting frame into network so you can render one frame with multiple computers, VERY good batch rendering system and it can be also used in other softwares than just Lightwave. In my honest opinion it's totally worth it even with a small farm.
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