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View Full Version : Split single images over multiple render nodes with ScreamerNet



brayne
03-29-2004, 08:30 AM
Hi all, I'm sure many of you are aware that I am the creator of RenderFarm Commander, a network render controller for ScreamerNet.

This post is to let everyone know that I have just released version 2, which now has the ability to split single images across multiple render nodes.

The new version is available for download now from my website:
http://www.brucerayne.com

Feel free to post any suggestions/feedback on this thread.

Beamtracer
03-29-2004, 02:31 PM
Very clever, Bruce. Well done. A lot of people have been waiting for the ability to split a single frame across many rendering machines. Now you've achieved it.

policarpo
03-29-2004, 08:23 PM
Awesome Brayne. Thanks for the effort...we've needed something like this on OSX for quite some time.

Some possible features would include the following (sorry if they are already included...haven't downloaded it since I'm only on a Single Mac @ the moment).

In no particular order of preference
1. Ability to email render completion
2. View Status of Rendertime (1minute of 10 minutes has passed, or 10 or 50 frames complete popping up in the Dock on Right Click)
3. Offer a Preview of the render Preview window as the status icon in the dock for the render controller-kind of like how an iChat Avatar looks in the Dock.
4. Ability to Pause, Stop, Cancel from right click in the Dock Icon.
5. Ability to load a render via Right Click on the icon in the Dock.
6. Work with the PC for rendering (this will totally rock and make you even more money. :))
7. Launch LW Layout from Dock icon of Controller
8. Provide status info about render to your iChat Status (like the iChat Status Tool)

Hope some of these are worthy...but finish the PC port first then work on the glitz of cool factor for the OSX controller.

:D

brayne
03-29-2004, 08:46 PM
1. Ability to email render completion
Definitely possible.

2. View Status of Rendertime in the DockComing very soon.

3. Offer a Preview of the render Preview window as the status icon in the dockHmm, definitely possible. Not sure how useful a preview that small would be though.

4. Ability to Pause, Stop, Cancel from right click in the Dock Icon.Definitely possible.

5. Ability to load a render via Right Click on the icon in the Dock. Too many configurable options to do this I think.

6. Work with the PC for renderingComing very soon.

7. Launch LW Layout from Dock icon of Controller Definitely possible.

8. Provide status info about render to your iChat StatusInteresting. I'll see about that.

Thanks for the input!

claw
03-30-2004, 02:39 AM
Very nice SN controller, I like it very much!

Just a quick question, how come my host machine is rendering so much slower than my slave renderer? It's like three times slower than a F9 inside Lightwave. I saw in top that renderfarm commander had a CPU usage of 30%, and LWSN 40-50%. I also tried the native SN controller inside LW, same thing!

Is this a LWSN problem? I remember when I was screamerneting on a bunch of PC's, the host machine did not suffer from this, strange!

BrianW
03-30-2004, 02:54 AM
I took one of LightWaves bench mark scenes and set it up via your controller and this what I got: LightWaves F9 was 2:27, your controller splitting the still image over two screamernets 6:52. I tried this with my own scenes and got the same results. It seems that two nodes are way slower that one node, I don't get that! I tried this on a G4 dual 1Ghz and a G5 dual 2Ghz and got the same results, two nodes way slower than one. Well I was going to try and do the bench mark scene again, this time using two threads instead of two nodes and the option was ghosted out, due to the demo I guess, so I couldn't try it to see if it returned different results! Your controller does work very nicley, but the speed has got to improve before this will work with stills I think or am I doing something way wrong to get these results!?
BrianW

Matt
03-30-2004, 03:01 AM
Bruce, I have a request - can you write a PC version! ;)

I love the clean interface design of your stuff!

brayne
03-30-2004, 05:45 AM
BrianW, here are some figures from my Mac.

A scene in Lightwave, rendered with F9 took 7minutes and 7 seconds. This is on a dual 2GHz G5, with a setting of 2 threads and a segment memory limit of 32.

The same scene, split across two ScreamerNet nodes, both with a thread setting of one, and a segment memory limit of 32, took 6mins and 54 seconds. This is obviously around the expected result. Keep in mind this is on a single computer, so the times for a split render should be virtually the same as a whole F9 render.

I suspect your times are due to your threads setting.

The information I'm about to give is for the benefit of everyone. If you already know this Brian, I apologise.

ScreamerNet (under normal circumstances) gets its threads setting from the LightWave preferences of your host computer. If your host computer has a threads setting of 2, so will your render nodes. If you are running two copies of ScreamerNet on the one dual processor Mac, each will open with a threads setting of 2, which is a total of 4 threads. Under these circumstances, I got a render time of 10 minutes 33 seconds for the same scene!

Now, what I'm about to say next, is not designed to make you go out and buy my software, it is merely an explanation of my workaround. RenderFarm Commander, when it is doing the automatic node setup, actually duplicates the LightWave preferences so that you can have a different setting for your ScreamerNet nodes than what you have for LightWave.

I would suggest downloading my other utility, called Commander Node Checker (it's free), and using it to see what settings your Nodes are currently using. Once you have this information, it should be much easier to diagnose the problem.

Let me know how you go. I hope this makes sense!

brayne
03-30-2004, 06:00 AM
Just a quick question, how come my host machine is rendering so much slower than my slave renderer?
Claw, there are a million reasons why this could be happening. Could you possibly give me some more information about your config. What sort of computer is your host? Are you running the Free version of RenderFarm Commander? I would also recommend running Commander Node Checker (free utility on my website) to check the settings of your host render node. Sorry I can't be more specific, but despite all of my efforts, ScreamerNet is still a strange old animal!


Bruce, I have a request - can you write a PC version! I love the clean interface design of your stuff!
Matt, it's definitely not out of the question!

Matt
03-30-2004, 06:08 AM
Originally posted by brayne
Matt, it's definitely not out of the question!

Really? Well what are ya waiting for!!! :D

riki
03-30-2004, 08:32 AM
Sweet, it sounds like one of the features I've use on Respower. Is it possible to get stitcher to automatically sew it back together. I know Res does something like this but only for flx format.

BrianW
03-30-2004, 09:28 AM
Thanks Bruce. I will check my thread settings tonight. I do believe I had this wrong. But, then again I could have SreamerNet set up wrong, who knows! I will let you know what I get tonight as try changing the threads and adding two more nodes with a total four nodes and see if this is better!
BrianW

Scott Gammans
03-30-2004, 02:23 PM
Bruce, can a single image that employs radiosity be split amongst multiple render nodes?

brayne
03-30-2004, 03:15 PM
Originally posted by riki
Is it possible to get stitcher to automatically sew it back together. I know Res does something like this but only for flx format.
Yes, it does have a built in "stitcher" to put the files back together again. This is not included in the free version though.


Originally posted by Scott Gammans
Bruce, can a single image that employs radiosity be split amongst multiple render nodes?
Absolutely.

Scott Gammans
03-30-2004, 04:08 PM
Interesting! That's something that other CGI software packages like POV-Ray are unable to do.

brayne
03-30-2004, 04:45 PM
This attached image was rendered by ScreamerNet using Monte Carlo radiosity. It was split into 16 segments by RenderFarm Commander, and rendered with 4 separate nodes. It was then joined back together again with RenderFarm Commander.

brayne
03-31-2004, 07:36 AM
I found a little bug in version 2.0.1 of RenderFarm Commander. It only affected split renders that contained depth-of-field blurring.

It's been fixed, and version 2.0.3 is available for download from my website.

riki
03-31-2004, 08:43 AM
The results look great, now I only wish I had a few extra Macs to test it on.

brayne
03-31-2004, 08:49 AM
Anyone who works in 3D will ALWAYS wish they had more computers - fact of life!

wapangy
03-31-2004, 12:24 PM
Originally posted by brayne
Anyone who works in 3D will ALWAYS wish they had more computers - fact of life!
http://homepage.mac.com/cookiemonster/xserve.gif

brayne
04-01-2004, 04:40 PM
Originally posted by policarpo
Some possible features would include the following in no particular order of preference
1. Ability to email render completion
2. View Status of Rendertime (1minute of 10 minutes has passed, or 10 or 50 frames complete popping up in the Dock on Right Click)

Policarpo, I have now included a progress bar in the RenderFarm Dock Icon, and email notification. Both are options available in the Free version of the software.

I haven't had a chance to update the documentation yet, but the Email Notification feature can be found in the Setup menu. I will be updating the manual over the next day or two, but for anyone who wants to give the feature a try, it's fully functional.

RenderFarm Commander 2.0.5 is available for download from my site.

brayne
04-04-2004, 12:42 AM
I've just added a new feature to RenderFarm Commander. It can now render to PC nodes.

This feature isn't released just yet though. I'm looking for someone to test it. Ultimately, I'd like someone who is fairly ScreamerNet savvy, and obviously someone who has Macs and PCs networked together so they can test it!

Scazzino
04-05-2004, 03:11 PM
Hi Bruce,

I'd be willing to test it for you. I have a 10 node Mac render farm with a PC test machine we use for testing hybrid CD-ROM's that we develop. I have occasionally used that PC with the Mac render farm.

I have extensive experience with LightWave's built in Screamernet (have an on-line tuturial in progress), as well as with Screamernet Controller for Mac OS X. I even set up my render farm to use some nodes on the Internet...

If I test it for you, would I be able to get a free Pro license to run it on my ten nodes??? If it works out well, I'd even add a section about using your controller to my online screamernet tutorial... ;-)

DreamLight's Mac OS X Screamernet tutorial... (http://DreamLight.com/insights/10/screamernet.html)

(the tutorial is currently under construction... still need to add the advanced section and screenshots throughout... I'm waiting for LW8's release, so when I post it, it'll be all up to date... ;-)

-MikeS