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Screamer net:



Screamer net:

painlessly ?:surprised


Riki, I took a look at your tutorial. At first I thought it was just a bunch of newbie re-caps. But after a few pages I realised you had a lot of info that even intermediate users need to know.
Quite a lot of volume, in little increments. I have to give you credit on that one. I think it is one of the most usefull tutorials for LW that I have seen yet, and I have seen a LOT!


Hi thanks Writer, I’ve spent a lot of weekends working on it, well to be honest, even taking days off work :slight_smile:

I think it covers a lot of turf without being repetative. Also tried to be as succinct as possible. I didn’t want to baby step people through it. Plus I was aware of some of the dificulties I had when learning Lightwave.

I’m going to keep doing some minor updates. I only wish I heard about Newteks Tutorial Contest before I published it online. Oh well that’s the way it goes :wink:


nice thread, lil bit long but very helpfull. so here is something from me. - growing section of tutorials for lightwave. comments and questions regarding the content are welcome. you can also request tutorials by sending mail :wink:


I was getting bombarded by a lot of intro to HDRI questions a while ago when idling online. So I started a tutorial for those. I still plan to add more in, just keep procastinating too much.
BTW, I ended up doing this while very tired, or drinking heavily, so if any major flaws speak up now…


Keep an eye out over at CGfocus for great LW tutorials :


Here’s some modeling plugs that I’m using

Align To Rail:
Basic Lofting:
Center AddP
Edge Tool
Half Kill
Incremental Savers
KAG Spline Objects
Lathe Curves
Multi Merge
Patch Helper
Path Editor
Poz Extender


Originally posted by Facial Deluxe

painlessly ?:surprised [/B]

You’re telling me. I did ScreamerNet rendering a couple months ago on a project (and will be doing it again in a week or so), but the way I did it was a lot simpler than how that tut makes it out to be.

The tut really should be in two parts: Part 1 deals with the preparation for mobility, using the -c switch and the -p switch, and maintenance of .cfg files; Part 2 deals with the actual ScreamerNet setup.

Making Screamer.bat files for each node with different content is a bit silly. If you own all the machines, I guess they could stay, but the filename should indicate what node number it activates.

I use an external USB hard drive for mobility purposes between home and school workstations. So that I don’t have to install LightWave temporarily on the school workstations, I have it installed on my mobile drive. However, my machine at home gives the drive letter G to this drive, and at school it receives the driver letter E. So, I have different pairs of shortcuts. The shortcut labeled ‘E Layout’ runs Layout off of drive E like this:

E:\LightWave_3D_7.5\Programs\Lightwave.exe -cE:\LWconfig -pE:\LWconfig\lwext3_E.cfg

Normally, that .cfg is named lwext3.cfg, and is the entire list of plugins incorporated into LightWave. ScreamerNet absolutely needs this! So I have a copy with _E added to the filename where all paths begin with E:\. I also have sets of the shortcut pair and plugin .cfg files for the following:

D:, my home machine’s hard drive, so that I don’t have to run LightWave off the usb drive.

Z:, the driver letter I use for screamernet rendering, which I’ll get to.

.cfg Maintenance:
If I add or remove any plugins while running off of E drive at school and want to retain those changes when I return home, then I have to open lwext3_E.cfg in a text editor, do a Replace All function to replace every instance of E:\ with D:\, then Save As lwext3_D.cfg and overwrite the previous version. The recent versions of Notepad suck at this, so I use Textpad, which uses regexp and does the entire Replace All operation in an instant. Now both _E and _D versions are the same. When I get home, all I do is copy the LWconfig directory to D drive, and replace everything. Thus, when I run my ‘D Layout’ or ‘D Modeler’ shortcuts as opposed to ‘E Layout’ or ‘E Modeler,’ they open in the exact same state as when I closed them at school.

Important Note: Because the shortcuts define a custom config directory, and even a custom plugin .cfg filename, any time that you start Layout or Modeler, you have to use the shortcut that defines those. The Hub will not remember the full execution command, but only parts of it. If you right-click on the Hub icon and go to Launch -> LW Layout or LW Modeler, it will not look for the custom-named plugin .cfg, but the default filename of lwext3.cfg, which in this method doesn’t exist. It will still look in the custom directory, and open the correct lw3.cfg or lwm3.cfg, but forgets most of the parameter for the -p switch. So, if you do this, you have to use the shortcuts exclusively. Not a big problem, since with the Quick Launch bar in Windows, the shortcuts are really easy to get to.

Since this is turning into a tut, I might as well finish.

ScreamerNet setup!

The first thing one must do put all files and directories in place. Each of the workstations at school where I render are Dual Pentium 1.4 Ghz machines. Each of these machines, in addition to the system (C, which gets re-written from an image once a week), floppy, cd-r, and Zip drives, has a user drive (U) for students to place their files on. U drive is only wiped after the end of a semester.

For rendering purposes, I create a directory on this drive such as:


I then copy the following directories in their totality:

LWconfig (custom config directory, explained above)
LightWave_3D_7.5 (everything LightWave, except content files)
SNbats (contains ScreamerNet .bat files, which I will explain shortly)
LWshorts (contains the custom shortcut pairs)
ProjectContent (the content directory of my the project to be rendered)

Then I create a directory for rendered frames, usually ‘Frames’ or something equally dull.

(The most difficult part of this so far was the preparation above, using a custom config directory and such. For me, since I use that all the time, I don’t have to ‘do’ any of it, really. All I’ve done to as far as network rendering is concerned is create a directory, and copied all necessary directories under it. That takes 5 seconds. The rest of ScreamerNet setup is just repeated tedium.)

Now all your rendering nodes need access to the master directory (U:\myusername in my case). All you have to do is setup sharing for that directory, so that the nodes can get to it. After that is done, access the shared directory on that same computer through Network Places. Right-click the directory and select Map Network Drive, and select a drive letter no other machine is using. I usually pick drive letter Z.

Now create one copy of a Layout shortcut, and a Modeler shortcut, and rename them to ‘Z Layout’ and ‘Z Modeler,’ and edit the shortcut path itself to reflect new drive letter (in this example, the ‘Z Layout’ path):

Z:\LightWave_3D_7.5\Programs\Lightwav.exe -cZ:\LWconfig -pZ:\LWconfig\lwext3_Z.cfg

Right! We don’t have a lwext3_Z.cfg yet. But if you’ve read this entire post so far, it’ll be pretty straightforward what you need to do.

This next phase is pretty simple. Run the ‘Z Layout’ shortcut. Press ‘o’ to open the General Options, and set the content directory to Z:\ProjectContent. Open the scene file(s) you wish to render, and go to the Render Options panel (Rendering -> Render Options), and set everything up the way you want it. Remember to turn off Show Rendering in Progress and set Render Display to (none), and to set your Output files. For me ScreamerNet did not like the LW_TGA24/32 formats, but wrote the Targa Format selection without fuss (bottom of the RGB Type list under Output Files tab). Also make sure all your Camera Properties are correct. Heck, just make sure everything is ready for rendering.Save the scene.

Now open the Network Rendering panel (Rendering -> Network Rendering). Rendering Method will of course be ScreamerNet II. Set the Maximum CPU number to whatever (16 in my case) it needs to be. Click the Command Directory and set it to Z:, where the nodes are trying to open their Job files and write their Ack files. After you do this, a warning is displayed, asking you want to reinitialize ScreamerNet. Don’t. Not yet. Close LightWave. All of it. Close Layout, close Modeler if you have it open for some reason, and close the Hub. This will write the necessary settings to the .cfg files.

Now you can open up Layout once again (with the ‘Z Layout’ shortcut, of course), and open the Network Rendering panel. No nodes are active yet, so just let it sit there for now, and go to the other machines you’ll be using.

Now the important part: the ScreamerNet .bat files. Here’s the command line from my Job1.bat:

Z:\LightWave_3D_7.5\Programs\LWSN.exe -2 -cZ:\LWconfig -dZ:\ProjectContent Z:\Job1 Z:\Ack1

-2 denotes ScreamerNet II rendering;
-c defines the config directory
-d defines the content directory
the last two segments define the node files in the ‘command directory’ (we’ll return to what the command directory is for in just a moment).

I have a directory of .bat files Job1.bat through Job16.bat. These are all, of course, kept in what is now Z:\SNbats.

Now we’ll set up the nodes. This takes the longest time to do. You have to go to each computer, find the controller computer (where you have ‘Z Layout’ open) in Network Places, and map the shared myusername directory to network drive Z, just like on the controller computer. Then you go into Z:\SNbats and run one for each processor. For example, run I run Job1.bat and Job2.bat on the one, then Job3.bat and Job4.bat on the next, and so on. Once all of them are saying “Can’t open job file ‘D:\Job#’,” we can then go to the controller computer, and actually begin rendering. Yay!

Open the Network Rendering Panel, and click the Screamer Init button. You’ll soon get a popup telling you how many CPUs it found (hopefully all of them). If you don’t wait until all of them are repeating “Can’t open job file ‘D:\Job#’,” the initialization won’t catch all of them.

Now click Add Scene to List, select the scene(s) you want to render, and click the Screamer Render button. That’s it.

You may want to keep an eye on the things the first time you do this, since there are certain things that ScreamerNet doesn’t like.

For example, I had a character that picked up some objects, so I was using Simple Point Constraints and Simple Orient Constraints. ScreamerNet didn’t like these at all, so when I looked at the rendered frames, the object was never actually picked up. I had to stop the rendering (just hit the Escape key in the Network Rendering window, and each node will halt after it finishes its current frame), then fix that scene before I could render again.

There is a little trial and error involved, but usually not much. I guess it’s a good idea, when using plugins in a scene, to do a test render of a scene with ScreamerNet to make sure everything works fine first. Oh yeah, ScreamerNet doesn’t like the Master Channel plugin, either.

I hope this was less painful. Since I always use the custom config directory for mobility, my actual process of running ScreamerNet goes like this:

  1. Copy directories to U:\myusername and enable Sharing
  2. Map U:\myusername to Z:\ on all necessary machines
  3. Set up Network Rendering options, finalize scene(s) and save changes, close Layout/Modeler/Hub to save options in configs
  4. Start all the nodes.
  5. Start Layout, initialize ScreamerNet, select scenes, and render.
  6. Watch a movie on the digital projector.

Very little pain once you’ve figured it out.


btw, just discovered that I had something wrong. lwext3_Z.cfg will not be read by lwsn.exe, so even if starting Layout/Modeler with that filename defined, screamernet won’t find it, so just make a copy and rename it to lwext3.cfg.


Someone took the time to do this. Excellent resource if you want a quick description of some of the tools.


give us some totorials for begginers


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