View Full Version : Render Farming Questions

08-06-2010, 05:40 PM
I have LW 8.6 installed on my VT 5.3 system which is running on Win XP 64-bit SP3. On it's network are 6 Intel Macs(all dual corse) running OSX 10.6 (lastest updates) and a Dell PowerEdge 1850 Server running Win Sever 2003 R2 Enterprise 64-bit.

I'm hoping to set up a small render farm with what I have. The work load I'm looking at on this 1 GigBit network is just the rendering of some CGI graphics about once a month. Currently it takes near an hour on my VT to render 1000 frames (VT Specs: 2 Gigs of RAM, 2 dual core Xeons at 3.00 Ghz each, and a nVidia e-GeForce 8800 GTX graphics card).

What is the best way to set this up?

08-06-2010, 06:44 PM
Everything should be straight forward.
You have less than 10 machines so a peer to peer network would be do-able.

As much as I think you would gain in your renderfarm, you could also see dramatic increases in performance by upgrading from 8.5 to 9.6. (Right now I think that may also prequalify you for LW 10)

You can set it up using one of the tutorials that are "Sticky"-ed here

I tried the one in the manual and the first tutorial on the list. Then I tried Matt's tutorial and found I had all but two nodes working (each core is a node) It took two more days of combing through looking for stupid mistakes to get it working.

There is also ButterflyNet Render which has been popular for years. It isn't terribly expensive and there is a free trial, but it is limited in the number of nodes that will leave you short on your setup unless you pay out more for the commercial version.
I have heard on the forums here however that ButterflyNet render will catch missed frames whereas the built in Screamernet doesn't.

Good Luck

08-06-2010, 07:49 PM
Thanks Dex... I would like to upgrade, but working at a high school I have to think of my program's more pressing needs. We need to buy at least 3 new iMacs plus 3 new licenses of FCP so we can meet the need of our class numbers, we just spent 3K to upgrade a five year old device called the Nexus to the UltraNexus for our cable channel, and we've just started networking with a centralized storage point.

As I see it... We'll wait for VT 6, buy it with hopefully a LW bundle, and then spend a little more to get it up to whatever would be the newest version of LW at that time. Besides, I'm just now diving into LW at a beginner level... I have worked with it off and on since 06, but this summer has been my crash course in using it with some of the projects I've been asked to do.

08-06-2010, 09:50 PM
I understand completely about tight budgets.

I don't know about "VT6". My understanding is that the VT is at "End Of Life" as they are migrating everything over to TriCasters. From what I have read on the forums it seems that the TriCasters are easier to offer Support in the form of troubleshooting because all systems are the same whereas Toasters can be many flavors of PC's running things causing all sorts of unique issues. I could be off base on this, just my understanding which is completely subject to being WRONG.

You should be fine with what you have for some time.

Certainly not a substitute (IMO) for LW but very realistic option could also be BLENDER. Which is free so you could also teach students who could have multiple copies (also free). A way to get their feet wet with 3D.

If you are teaching Video Production and are not familiar with it, I also strongly urge you to look at Celtx. A scripting and pre produciton software package that is also FREE.

Good Luck

08-06-2010, 10:49 PM
I'm just the tech guy... I make sure everything works and that nothing breaks. This is the first I've hear anything about "the end of the VT", but I would like to get a TriCaster for our football games instead of pumping the feed back to the studio where we add graphics with the VT.

I'm the only diving into LW for the many reason of the students have enough projects on their hands, and the focus of our video programs has always been producing stories. Personally, I've tried Blender and I just find that it's not my cup of tea. Even though I've only used LW a few times I find it much easier. I will take a look at Celtx though... I'll always try a new program a few times...

08-11-2010, 07:39 PM
There are some file path issues running a render farm on both Macs and PCs. I don't know if its possible to run a mixed OS render farm without some extra controller software. I think Butterfly Net Render might be able to handle it otherwise you may be best off rendering on the Macs (since you have more of them), but you'll have to open the scene files in a text editor and do a search/replace on the file paths.