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View Full Version : Setting up a TINY render farm... how?



Dreamcube017
09-10-2010, 04:17 AM
Hi everyone.

I recently got a hold of two other computers (laptops with XP with about 1 gig of RAM and dual core CPUs for each.

I also have my main computer which has 3 gigs of RAM a quadcore CPU.

Up until now, I've just been rendering using oe computer, but since I have the other two and they're just sitting there, I was thinking it'd be nice to put them to good use.

Now, I'm just a 3D hobbiest, so I don't have access to a big set of servers or some epic rendering account somewhere.

I was wondering if:

1. lightwave 9 comes with some nodes
2. is there a way that I can set up a render farm with these 3 computers over a wired (or wireless) network that's not too complex.

Thanks in advance.

Even though I'm asking for lightwave, I'd eventually like to do the same with other pieces of software too. (Like Vue, although I know I have to buy the extra node liscences for that) and Carrara.

OnlineRender
09-10-2010, 04:21 AM
http://garagefarm.net/ cheap render farm

R.Feeney
09-10-2010, 04:44 AM
Lightwave comes with screamernet, have a search around for info on that and it should help you out

gordonrobb
09-10-2010, 05:04 AM
Yeh, was just going to say, you use screamernet.

There is a good tutorial out there. I followed it a few years ago and it's relatively simple.

I found this http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s-QDpWMZPMg dunno if its any good. But google will be your friend on this one for sure.

nemac4
09-10-2010, 10:24 AM
The last time I used an old laptop for rendering, it got so hot that the keyboard melted.

Phil
09-10-2010, 10:55 AM
www.pixsim.co.uk/downloads/screamernet_tutorial.pdf

It's a little old, but is going to still be relevant. Any major issues will be changes in the config files (i.e. LW9.CFG, LWEXT9.CFG, etc.) and program locations. That should be covered by common sense :)

geo_n
09-10-2010, 11:23 AM
You should try out garagefarm.net. Its very affordable and the owner is very service oriented.
This was rendered in kray over there for only 13dollars.
http://vimeo.com/14854312

That`s less than electrice bills I`m sure.

geo_n
09-10-2010, 11:36 AM
Regarding setting up a renderfarm. Butterflynetrender 4.5 is absolutely affordable. I bought personal edition a while back but upgraded to pro. There`s absolutely nothing wrong with the personal edition but I needed split frame render for huge print jobs.
BNR doesn`t count nodes as cpu cores so 1 node is still one workstation regardless of cores. Very easy to setup and the best tech support from Paul Lord.

Hieron
09-10-2010, 12:08 PM
I think the OP is looking for something without extra cost and just to make his laptops usefull, right?

Then I'd say: don't bother. The quad core will outperform the two laptops easily most probably and will save you alot of headaches figuring it all out. I don't think it'll be worth your time, at all. Just warning ya. There's tons of pure pain :) If it is'nt network share mapping issues, it's windows messing it up with laptops fighting the quad core for dns server etc...

While I do like and use BNR, it is not free and may be a bit too much for your proposal. Then again, I wouldn't touch lwsn.exe with a stick without BNR.

Also, I thought GarageFarm was a bit of an uncalled for pitch considering the rather clear message of the OP. Then again, for small studios it is a viable option (just not sure the OP needs it) ps: dang Geo... you probably had some serious optimizations as well then.

Shnoze Shmon
09-10-2010, 12:36 PM
Then I'd say: don't bother. The quad core will outperform the two laptops easily most probably and will save you alot of headaches figuring it all out. I don't think it'll be worth your time, at all. Just warning ya. There's tons of pure pain :) If it is'nt network share mapping issues, it's windows messing it up with laptops fighting the quad core for dns server etc...


Good to know. I wont bother trying to hook up the second hand laptop I got that doesn't have a gig of ram and only one core. (I had thought of the possibility of including it if I ever scrapped 2 or more computers together to render.)

However, I do have a decent box I could build into something to use to help with renders when I reach that kind of need. Any advice on building it for that purpose as opposed to simply building a PC system?

Dreamcube017
09-10-2010, 12:42 PM
I think the OP is looking for something without extra cost and just to make his laptops usefull, right?

Then I'd say: don't bother. The quad core will outperform the two laptops easily most probably and will save you alot of headaches figuring it all out. I don't think it'll be worth your time, at all. Just warning ya. There's tons of pure pain :) If it is'nt network share mapping issues, it's windows messing it up with laptops fighting the quad core for dns server etc...

While I do like and use BNR, it is not free and may be a bit too much for your proposal. Then again, I wouldn't touch lwsn.exe with a stick without BNR.

Also, I thought GarageFarm was a bit of an uncalled for pitch considering the rather clear message of the OP. Then again, for small studios it is a viable option (just not sure the OP needs it) ps: dang Geo... you probably had some serious optimizations as well then.


Firstly, thanks everyone for your replies.

That video was impressive and 13 dollars is pretty darn good.

But I think Hieron hit it right on the head. As of now, I just want to set up a render farm because I don't wanna wait as long as I'd normally have too. Also I figured two dual cores and a quade core would work together and it'd be ALMOST the same as using 8 cares... but from what I'm reading, it doesn't seem to work that way.

There's no real rush to use the farm method, I just don't like waiting for renders. (and can't afford LW10 right now) so I'll look into the other things but may or may not use them. And if I NEED something done or if something just takes TOO LONG then I'll start looking more into it.

Thanks again.

Patience is a virtue.

Eroneouse
09-10-2010, 01:19 PM
I can not link to anything about this because my memory is crap but I did read somewhere that when setting up a render farm of your own to make sure that all the CPU's are of the same type IE all intel or all AMD as theres something about how the two types of CPU deal with floating point math that will cause differences in the output generated with shadows or / and colour or some such wibble along those lines.

Dreamcube017
09-10-2010, 01:29 PM
OMG DOUBLEPOST NOOOOO!!!.... yes.

Well I've looked at Garage farm and it does seem pretty darn good as for pricing... actually... I can get it done for free if I make something for charity and since I'm a hobbiest, I don't see why not. So I may just give it a go. Thanks for the suggestion.

Soth
09-12-2010, 09:24 AM
Also, I thought GarageFarm was a bit of an uncalled for pitch considering the rather clear message of the OP. Then again, for small studios it is a viable option (just not sure the OP needs it) ps: dang Geo... you probably had some serious optimizations as well then.

Sorry for late reply. :)

About Garage Farm, what you can do about happy customers? But I am going to do the same, if anyone wants to set up small render farm on few spare computers I cannot recommend BNR enough. Paul is great developer and he provides awesome support.

There is one more thing, I do render a lot here and we are making BNR better and better... I mean Paul is doing all the work I am just writing those long emails with detailed feature requests. So if you want to have cheap and simply great network rendering controller that supports not only LightWave - BNR is best option for you!

And if you will ever get overflowed with rendering I am always happy to sort your problems and I will not get your company bankrupt like other farms out there. :)

EDIT: Regarding charity work, it is great idea. Mate - as a hobbyist you are in the great position to do that. I will be more then pleased to do free rendering for a good case.

Dreamcube017
09-12-2010, 01:37 PM
Hm, I just have to think of some ideas.... and right now I'm kinda drawing a blank... anyone got any topics within that area that I could possibly do something on?

Right now, all I can think of is recycling and I KNOW there's more.

gordonrobb
09-12-2010, 04:31 PM
Or you could just set up screamer net. Even if you main box is three four times faster than you laptop it will still mean an addition two frames rendered every 4 the main box does. That sounds like a worthwhile saving over a long render. And you don't need to buy anything, it comes with lightwave.

Dreamcube017
09-12-2010, 07:53 PM
Two frames for every four huh?... so where I'd have 4 frames rendered, I'd have six? That seems decent... wait, I just rememberd, I actually have THREE laptops... soo... 3+4... 7 frames where I noramlly would get 4 seems nice to me... I still would l like to do something for charity though only because I can't come up with anything and I think I thought of something that's pretty cool... maybe a LITTLE generic, but I might do it anyway just 'cause.

JonW
09-12-2010, 08:46 PM
As already said, LW comes with Screamernet, you don’t need to buy any more software (except if setting up SN is causing you to loose too much hair).
There is a lot of info in the SN discussions.

Any old computer is ok for a node. If it’s a laptop that runs hot it may be worth getting some extra air circulation past it &/or moving it to a cooler location.

Dreamcube017
09-12-2010, 11:29 PM
Well it's getting colder, and I'm in the basement which gets pretty cold in the winter... plus since no one's using fans, I can use those and sit them by the computers... man I'm gonna have to wear a coat when working on my desktop.

Maybe it won't speed it up a TON, but 7 frames instead of 4 frames is a nice improvement if you ask me.

But I still like my idea I have for the charity thing and if I can get a free render, you can't argue with that... 'cuase ya can't argue with free.

So I'll go down both roads... but before I think about rendering anything... I have to figure out how to make it first... xD

Dexter2999
09-13-2010, 12:43 AM
Old laptops are also good for MP3 servers for the house as well.

But if you want a small renderfarm, go for it. If nothing else it is a good thing to learn the process. The tutorials in the Screamernet section of the forum are good. They are "stick-ied" at the top of the section.

Warning: the devil is the details. It took me three days to figure out what I had done wrong. One of my mistakes was going over things too fast. I thought something was right so I breezed past it instead of checking everthing carefully. It was close, but not right. So...take your time. Save your sanity.

gordonrobb
09-13-2010, 01:41 AM
Can I just say that my three for every four was based on an example of whist the speed difference might be. You will only know what the benefit is once you try it. For example the main could be only twice as fast. Readbup about setting it up then decide.

MentalFish
09-13-2010, 03:06 AM
I am working on a little something something that will enable us to have a "one-button" render farm solution right inside of LightWave. Also, how would you like to be able to easily use your friends and family's computers as render nodes? ( you need their permission of course, no magical hacking solution :)

Shnoze Shmon
09-13-2010, 06:57 AM
I am working on a little something something that will enable us to have a "one-button" render farm solution right inside of LightWave. Also, how would you like to be able to easily use your friends and family's computers as render nodes? ( you need their permission of course, no magical hacking solution :)

This guy is bucking for a free steak dinner or something...

I look forward to it.

Dreamcube017
09-13-2010, 07:28 AM
I am working on a little something something that will enable us to have a "one-button" render farm solution right inside of LightWave. Also, how would you like to be able to easily use your friends and family's computers as render nodes? ( you need their permission of course, no magical hacking solution :)

Hm sounds interesting. Keep us posted.

Thanks a ton guys. I'll check out the screamernet section. I already have a network setup, so that problem is solved at leaset.

I looiked at the video and what I'm fearing is that replacing of ALL the file paths in the config file.

Hm, this seems like it'll take sometime. I've got classes through wednesday, but Thursday and Friday are mine's, so I'll look into it and give it a shot then.

I'll do some test renders on this computer alone to see what the differences are.

Hmm... Does lightwave come with some example scenes that I can use to test on or are there some somewhere?

I suppose I could just make something with TONS of polies, put GI and a bunch of complex shaers on it and test that.... but that's not a real world test though.

Soth
09-13-2010, 07:35 AM
Hmm... Does lightwave come with some example scenes that I can use to test on or are there some somewhere?

Dont you have DVDs that came with LightWave?

Here are benchmark scenes to dowload:
http://www.newtek.com/lightwave/specapc/

Dreamcube017
09-13-2010, 09:25 AM
Yeah I do. I just kind of glazed over them though. I saw some of the videos on the second disc and was so amped to try stuff out I just installed the program. xD

I should take a better look.

Thanks.