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Ty Catt
08-17-2013, 07:34 AM
Well, it finally happened.

I had a project deadline, the client added onto and upped the ante on their final request. I did warn them on the issue of not having enough render time the final week. I really couldn't tell where I would be at with render time until the whole project was modeled and Layout was rigged up.

I did the math and some test renders, and now I realize that there isn't enough render time to have it completed by the deadline.

Complaining to the client will do me little good right now. I want to give them options besides rendering at 340X250 with no AA.

So my question is: how do some of you cut back on extraneous render times?

Unfortunately, ScreamerNet cannot be used. Only have it on two machines. Has anyone ever attempted 'ad-hoc' ing and chaining just two CPUs together with one ethernet cable? Is it even worth it?

Here's where I am at:

Sony laptop, 64 bit, Core i7 @240 gHz, 8.0G of RAM.

Using LW v9. I know v11 would be good right now (esp. with Octane), but not today.

NVIDIA GeForce GT 540M card with cuda (I've never messed with changing the 3D settings on the Nvidia Control Panel to use GPU for rendering in LW. Am I dumb for never adressing this in the past, or is it not advised?)

1500 frame animation involving camera movements around growing and moving surface hypervoxels.

Perspective camera, at least 3 AA will be needed. Classic / fixed / no AS. Prefer 1024 x 768 (this anim. is to be projected) but I don't think it will EVER be possible at this time, so I'll likely have to settle for 800 x 600.

I am using Dome lights for realism, I know taking them out saves time, but I kinda can't break their requirement (at least for now.) Global Illum went out the window days ago.

I knocked down the ray recursion from 16 to 8, turned off the render lines, double sided lights, flares, etc.

Multithreading set to 8.

I know this is a limited picture on the scope of the situation, I was just hoping someboday would yell out a glaring issue with my setup.

I'll take any advice on this one folks.

Thanks as always.

Having this forum is always a nice blanket when I need it.

Tyler

Nicolas Jordan
08-17-2013, 07:56 AM
It might be worth checking out http://www.rebusfarm.net/en/ and doing a quick estimate with them to see if you can work it into the budget for the project. You should be able to get it rendered ahead of your deadline with RebusFarm.

Ty Catt
08-17-2013, 08:21 AM
That looks like a great solution!

Thanks pal,

Tyler

xandercom
08-17-2013, 09:00 AM
I use garagefarm.net

They have three levels of service/priority at very reasonable prices. Sometimes I just throw renders their way for $10 just because I cant be bothered to wait 8 hours for the PC to free itself up. They have 24/7 skype with at least one person always online day or night to help you. They render a number of free test frames (usually every 15th frame) to ensure it's as you expect, then you can choose the level of service dependant on how fast you need the work done. Often it's same day for high priority, or as long as 3 days for low priority work.

Skype them and have a chat :)

Waves of light
08-17-2013, 01:01 PM
I use garagefarm.net

They have three levels of service/priority at very reasonable prices. Sometimes I just throw renders their way for $10 just because I cant be bothered to wait 8 hours for the PC to free itself up. They have 24/7 skype with at least one person always online day or night to help you. They render a number of free test frames (usually every 15th frame) to ensure it's as you expect, then you can choose the level of service dependant on how fast you need the work done. Often it's same day for high priority, or as long as 3 days for low priority work.

Skype them and have a chat :)

Something to look into. Minimal cost for saving your client relationship.

Ryan Roye
08-17-2013, 01:37 PM
So my question is: how do some of you cut back on extraneous render times?

Compositing tricks can remedy a lot of problems associated with high render times. Some of these tricks have a tradeoff of requiring more man hours in exchange for fewer machine hours, but they are worth knowing about nonetheless:

- Converting static backgrounds to just a single background plate rather than calculating on every frame. Composite foreground objects into the shot.

- Do motion blurring/DoF in post production.

- If the lights in your scene don't change, bake them with the surface camera. No reason to make the computer do a lot of hard work for something that isn't changing.

- If you have complex deforming objects in your scene, convert the motions to MDD, turn off all the bones, uncheck motion mixer; it will speed things up a little.


There's a ton of other tips/tricks, I'm looking forward to what others have to contribute to this thread; efficiency in rendering is always a very worthy topic of discussion!

JonW
08-17-2013, 05:06 PM
It's probably not the time to set up Screamernet. Takes time if you have not done it before. Also if any of your file names for your images objects & scene have any gaps in their names you will need to rename everything removing the spaces &/or filling in with dash or underscore.

Ethernet, in the past you needed a yellow cross over cable for connecting 2 computers. But these days you should be fine with a blue cable. I have done this without problems. (I recently chucked out a yellow cable in a clear up)

Since you are running LW9, when SN spat the dummy I use to fire up LW on each computer, remove the dongle & fire up the next. Running XP this is ok, I don't know if it works with more recent OS.

When rendering, run 2 instance of LW if the computer is only saying 80% CPU usage with one instance of LW. Have a look at WTM.

When you are ready for your final render, change view ports to bounding box or off altogether, save, close LW & relaunch Layout. Do not change view ports. This will free up ram. Do not launch Modeler. Keep every other program off. Better still Reboot the computer to clear everything, so Layout & or Screamernet has every last bit of CPU resources.

Images: use PNG & for bump maps etc use PNG grey scale. Don't use 2000 pixel images if they are not needed. You are only rendering about a 1000 pixels & that surface may only be a small portion of that. A bit of furniture in the background may only ever be 10% the width of the render so a few 100 pixels is more than enough for it's textures. Some surfaces may not need textures. Do surface really need reflections. Turn off every reflection than is really not needed. You may need a reflection on top of a table, but the edges & legs you probably easily get away without a reflection.

Remove objects that are not needed. that you have been "too lazy" to remove.

Have as many objects as one layer as possible, (this is less critical with LW11) If you have a house & nothing needs to be separate just have one single large object. If I was doing a house I would put everything in one layer except glass. Turn off radiosity for Glass object. Glass layers do not need it & will save render time.

Classic / fixed is a good setting, used it all the time.

How many "Indirect Bounces", reduce this to a minimum (I am assuming you are using it) & up "Intensity" to 110-120% etc.

Tidy up object, reduce poly count. Simplify objects. Back of objects simplify of remove altogether.

Just knocking off 15% render time will save a day over a week render! A few seconds here & there are critical.

Are you using LW9.6, this quicker than early versions of 9.

GPU is not going to help.

Coloured lights in LW9 add render time. So use white & if you need a bit more colour somewhere change the colour of the surface a bit. It's not quite the same but it may be your only choice to save a few seconds here & there.

800 x 600, scale up a few frames & a 30 frame sequence of a difficult area to see if they are ok at 1024 768, sometimes edges can look dodgy. You don't want to render the whole thing & it's no good after scaling up.

Do you really need ray recursion of 8? If you have 2 wines glasses in front of each other you will have 8 transparent surfaces so you will need to set this to 9. You only need to set this 1 higher than the number of transparent surface that will be in front of each other. So if you can turn it down to say 3. I did a lot of tests on this with LW9. You can save a lot of time, & the difference one will notice that the accuracy not quite the same as with a higher figure. (in LW11 not so critical)

If you want to run more than 2 computers get a Netgear GS608 v3 Ethernet switch.

Borrow another computer! (one additional computer of similar speed will cut your render time in half!)

If you have to buy one quickly to get the job done, an intel 3930k is your best bet. (there are a range of CPUs here so you can see your relative performance)
http://forums.newtek.com/showthread.php?133251-11-5-s-BenchmarkMarbles-lws-share-your-machine-s-render-time-here

If you want to have a go at SN we will all help!

Attached are example of Screamernet nodes. All you have to do is right click on them & edit the paths to suit your setup. (Plus you need to do all the other stuff) Network Render > Command Directory, make sure you set this via the your whole network. Make sure the folders etc have shared access & all computers are actually all using the same network name.

hrgiger
08-17-2013, 05:49 PM
Hey Ty Catt, this is a total non-sequiter for your post, but I see your Avatar is Plissken and I just happened to be on YouTube last night and saw that there was a original opening to Escape From New York that I'd never seen before. In case you haven't- http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=36EVy2hEAxU

dwburman
08-17-2013, 06:16 PM
I'm network rendering on a desktop and a laptop right now too.

I do agree, though, that when you're under the gun is not the time to try to figure out network rendering.

I've used http://garagefarm.net and have been very pleased with their service and their value.

I've also used http://www.rendertitan.com/ and http://www.respower.com/ in the past as well. The nice thing with those is that they are self-serve, but I think I'd recommend garagefarm.net perhaps because they set things up by hand for you. They also are much cheaper.

I'm sure rebusfarm.net is good too. :)

JonW
08-17-2013, 10:35 PM
Edit to above post but I ran out of time: When rendering, run 2 instance of LW if the computer is only saying 80% CPU usage with one instance of LW. Have a look at WTM. Even frames on first instance (first 2, last 1500, step 2), odd frames on second instance (first 1, last 1499, step 2). Or (first 1, last 1500, step 1 other computer, first 1500, last 1, step -1, & stop them when they meet)





If you can only get your laptop to render (assuming it is the fastest computer), just have it rendering & save your fames to the other computer & do the rest of your work from there, obviously both computers will have to run continuously, but at least you can leave the one computer alone, not disturb it & let it render.

The rendering computer being a laptop will also throttle down the CPU as it gets hot & rendering will get slower. With 2 instances of LW running the CPU will now be running at 99-100% all the time. Make sure the laptop is in a cool place & place it in a position that there is good airflow past as much of surface of the laptop as possible, top & bottom. Place a fan next to it to cool down all surfaces so hopefully the CPU will stay running at full speed. 24/7 of 100% CPU usage is tough on a laptop.

Ty Catt
08-19-2013, 05:53 AM
So sorry for not responding to all of you threads!

I kept working feverishly all weekend and kept on reading your responses and never replied.

Knowing that the online render resources are out there took a HUUUUUUUUUUUUUUGE weight off my shoulders. Thank you all for that.

A couple of the renders are still doable while I sleep at night (six seperate things to render), so I will look at all of your streamlining suggestions too! I want to tinker with those for sure.

Thanks again everyone. This forum has bailed me out so many times. It's nice to know you are all listening!

Thank you again!

Tyler

- - - Updated - - -


Hey Ty Catt, this is a total non-sequiter for your post, but I see your Avatar is Plissken and I just happened to be on YouTube last night and saw that there was a original opening to Escape From New York that I'd never seen before. In case you haven't- http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=36EVy2hEAxU

DUDE I KNOW! Wasn't that weird to find 20 years later?

Someone pointed out that clip to me on YouTube a year or so ago. I'm actually kinda glad they didn't use it. Makes Snake look soft and not the tough guy we all grew up loving!

Take it easy,

Tyler

Ty Catt
08-19-2013, 07:13 AM
Hey Jon,

Thanks again for taking the time for such a thorough post. Never even knew most of those tips!

I am actually on V9.6.

The only thing I am fuzzy on is this:


Edit to above post but I ran out of time: When rendering, run 2 instance of LW if the computer is only saying 80% CPU usage with one instance of LW. Have a look at WTM. Even frames on first instance (first 2, last 1500, step 2), odd frames on second instance (first 1, last 1499, step 2). Or (first 1, last 1500, step 1 other computer, first 1500, last 1, step -1, & stop them when they meet)

What does WTM mean?

I know I'll laugh when I hear, my brain is a tad mushy right now!

Thanks again!

Tyler




If you can only get your laptop to render (assuming it is the fastest computer), just have it rendering & save your fames to the other computer & do the rest of your work from there, obviously both computers will have to run continuously, but at least you can leave the one computer alone, not disturb it & let it render.

The rendering computer being a laptop will also throttle down the CPU as it gets hot & rendering will get slower. With 2 instances of LW running the CPU will now be running at 99-100% all the time. Make sure the laptop is in a cool place & place it in a position that there is good airflow past as much of surface of the laptop as possible, top & bottom. Place a fan next to it to cool down all surfaces so hopefully the CPU will stay running at full speed. 24/7 of 100% CPU usage is tough on a laptop.

JonW
08-19-2013, 03:09 PM
Windows task manager, Ctrl Alt Delete, buttons pressed at once. Or Activity Monitor on the Mac.

It is a good idea to watch these while you are doing your test renders & you can get an overall feel of CPU performance through the whole render. Maybe your render is using the CPU fairly well up around 90% on average. You still have 10% unused! So run 2 instances of LW, but only if you have enough RAM for the scene.

If the computer starts using virtual RAM then your renders will take longer. So you may only be able to run 1 instance of LW.

This is why it is best to restart Layout with the scene saved with the Viewports turned to Bounding Box or better still OFF. The Viewports lock up RAM. So this is what I do before a large render, & if it is a really large render reboot the computer altogether to give Layout & or Screamernet the cleanest start.



If you use Screamernet you don't even need to load the scene into layout. This can help if one is tight on RAM. SN can be just as useful even if you only have one computer.

For everyone out there who is a bit quiet with work, pull your finger out & put the effort in and set up SN. You never know when you need it. But I can tell you the day you do need it you will be so glad you have spent the effort getting it going. It's a bit like the day you get a new car!

It is a pain in the neck, but push yourself with a challenge, you will forever be grateful to yourself that you got it going! (when you had a quiet spell) The key is to take your time, get away from it, have a bit more of a go another day etc. Get it going on your main computer first. Then do a node on a second computer. Once you have the second computer running it is easy for additional computers. But having breaks setting it up to clear you mind is the best thing to do.