View Full Version : Screamernet for LW9.6 UB guide

11-21-2009, 03:14 PM
I've spent the last few days getting screamernet up and running on the network of macs in my office. It's a massive pain in the butt, and I figured other people might benefit from what I learned. There's a few guides out there already, but they all tend to overwhelm you with details about older versions of LW (pre-UB) or cross-platform isssues.

So... here's my simple guide to setting up screamernet OSX for Lightwave 9.6UB (http://www.digitaldistortion.net/rsrc_screamernetForUB.html).

Hope this is useful for anyone trying to set up a mac-based renderfarm. And please let me know if you spot any mistakes.


EDIT: I plan to add some pictures in there to help illustrate the process - and to help break up what is otherwise a fairly massive block of text!

11-23-2009, 10:42 AM
Hi Dan,

Good job. Quick and to the point! :thumbsup:

It's great to have quick-start tutorials like this in addition to the more in-depth (and often overwhelming ;-) tutorials like those in my Mastering LightWave ScreamerNet for Mac OS X. (http://dreamlight.com/insights/10/welcome.html)

I'm glad you found my DLI_SNUB Launcher (http://dreamlight.com/webshop/utilities/snublauncher.html) useful and I really appreciate the plug. The proceeds from it, though quite low, do help partially defer the continuing costs of research and development efforts for such utilities and research documents. I've tried to get the free lite version added to the LightWave third-party companion DVD but have been unable so far, so it's good to see it spread through such "grassroots" efforts to help fellow Mac users.

I plan to add a section to the white paper about running ScreamerNet over the Internet, harnessing remote render nodes through a secure ssh tunnel, which is also covered in my upcoming book "Creating a 3D Animated CGI Short (http://www.jbpub.com/catalog/9780763782641/)" scheduled for publication in Jan. 2010.

Keep an eye out for the updated ScreamerNet white paper and the book! :hey:

11-23-2009, 11:43 AM
dsol, just a note about this part in your guide:

"The CONFIGS folder, which holds the preferences files for the SN nodes. This is crucial because it references a specific Content Directory - which needs to be the one you're planning on rendering. However I've also heard it claimed that you can override this in the command line anyway. Until I can verify this, we'll assume it's still needed. I'll talk about how to create these files in a bit."

There is another reason for the nodes being able to find this folder other than the Content folder (which the nodes can be told the location of in the command line) and that is so they can find the LWEXT9.cfg file.

As you know, this stores the physical location of all your plugins and scripts. Without knowing where these are, any scenes that use plugins will fail if the nodes don't know the location of the plugins.

This file needs to be re-created (or do a search / replace in a text editor) using a path to the plugins that all the nodes can reach. To do this, you either need to share your main LW plugins folder, and re-scan your plugins using the network share path, or copy your plugins to shared folder and re-scan based on that.

You can also leave it as it, but you will need to copy your plugins to each node, making sure they are in the same directory structure as your host machine, as the un-modified LWEXT9.cfg will list all the plugin locations locally (e.g. MacHD:Applications:LightWave9.6:Plugins) So each node will need the same path locally to the plugins.

Hope that makes sense.

11-23-2009, 12:16 PM
Thanks for the feedback guys, I'll update the guide with this info.

Mike - thanks for the writing your (awesomely exhaustive!) guide to SN on OSX. Without that, I wouldn't have stood a chance of getting it running. I was very happy to recommend DLI_SNUB and thanks for writing it in the first place.

Matt - thanks for the info about the Config file - that's very illuminating! My cunning/accidental solution to the Configs issue was to share the main system disk of the render controller mac (which is also my main Lightwave workstation) on all the render nodes. So any plugins (and indeed the SN app itself) were launched from this central disk.

Mmmm... with that in mind - Mike do you reckon it'd be a ton of work to add a config-fixing option to DLI-snub launcher? Or a simple app to do it. It would literally be a string replacement operation on the LWEXT9.cfg file - to make sure it points at the correct shared directory of plugins. I might be able to have a crack at it myself once my current job's done.

11-23-2009, 12:26 PM
Hi Dan,

You can simply specify the config directory right in the DLI_SNUB-Launcher... which puts it in the command line... as well as the content folder...



11-23-2009, 12:34 PM
Thanks Mike!

Yes I know about the config file path setting in SNUB_Launcher. That tells the ScreamerNet node where to find the Config files. What I was talking about was the issue that Matt raised - about the paths INSIDE the config file "Layout 9". So if they're incorrectly set, the SN node won't find any plugins.

It'd be neat to be able to validate and fix broken paths in this text file, using a simple GUI app... like SNUB_Launcher.

11-23-2009, 12:51 PM
As long as LightWave is installed/copied to each machine correctly, all the plugins should load as normal. The Mac extensions file (Extensions 9) is normally blank and the plugins are rescanned each time it launches. So if you copy over the whole LightWave folder (including the shared support folder which includes the plugins) to each node (which is how I set it up) everything should run normally. I tend to avoid trying to run the apps/plugins over the network itself and prefer to install everything on each node instead ever since Panther had introduced a problem with more than 4 or 5 nodes accessing the same apps over the network... ever since then I just found it easier/safer to just copy the whole LightWave folder to each node instead...


11-26-2009, 07:52 AM
Hi Guys just thought I would move my post over here as there is more activity here :D

Here is my old Post:

Sweet thank you for the info All.

I am also trying to setup a screamer net render farm using DLI_SNUB. But I am getting an odd problem!

When I start the render everything is fine and all the nodes start rendering there frame "although it takes ages for computers other than the controller to start".

The process continues fine but slowly the computers start to drop out giving errors about "repeated instructions ignoring". and once a node has this error it just sits there doing nothing. eventually all the nodes are doing nothing except the controller.

So my two problems are the nodes dropping out and the slowness of the nodes to respond to the controller "its taking 40-80 seconds sometimes to respond. which is adding to the overall render time!

Thanks for any help!
Max Hammond

And Dsol's reply:

Hi Max, there's a dupe of this thread over here too - with some other screamernet guys weighing in :


How is your network set up - is it wired? Gig ethernet? You might have a dodgy ethernet cable - they've caused problems for me in the past.
Wireless networks are a big no-no too.

We have a 100mbs Wired Ethernet setup. :( if its dodgy network wire this is bad news. is there a way to confirm this.

Thank you!

12-01-2009, 12:51 PM
Have you tried a third-party controller such as OSX ScreamerNet Controller by Jon Baker (http://www.catalystproductions.cc/screamernet/)? That's what I use and it would rule out any problems with the built-in controller.