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View Full Version : getting Mac OSx to drive a PC renderfarm



exit6
10-04-2004, 12:57 PM
I like to use my G5 to do most of my production work, but since Mac's are so pricey I got some PC's for my rendering. I managed to get all the boxes to talk and initialize, but for some reason the frames that render on the PC aren't generating any files. They also suspiciously take 0.0 seconds to render...
The documentation for ScreamerNet is so poor (Newtek doesn't even give you Mac instructions), I've been trying to figure this out with online tutorials and third party documentation but I haven't found any tutorials that match my setup. Has anyone figured out how to do this? Any help would be great.
Thanks --

jdavidbakr
10-05-2004, 07:44 PM
You're going to run into issues doing cross-platform LWSN, out of the box LW can't do this. Check out ScreamerNet Controller (http://www.catalystproductions.cc/screamernet) which will jump through the hoops for you (pardon the shameless plug :D )

exit6
10-07-2004, 11:37 AM
I'm considering this option (in fact I've downloaded and installed it), but the instructions for ScreamerNet Controller's PC side are for Windows 2000, which is a very different OS from XP Professional. I would be more confident if the documentation was up to date.
I wrote an angry letter to NewTek about ScreamerNet on Macs and they told me that they don't support cross platform rendering, like you said. I told them the least they could do is give us some documentation for the Mac, the punks.
Anyway, thanks for the "suggestion." It's between you guys and Renderfarm Commander at this point.

jdavidbakr
10-07-2004, 04:10 PM
It's actually slightly easier in Windows XP than it is in 2000, I don't have regular access to a Windows machine so I haven't been able to write any documentation about it. However, I'll try this out of my head... the only real tricky part is getting the Mac to mount to a drive. If you have your Mac set up for windows sharing (in the users panel, turn it on for Windows sharing), then it actually will show up on Windows XP by name. I can't exactly remember where I did it, I think if you go to the "Add Network Place" and then hit browse, you will be able to find your Mac by name, and mount the drive that way. It will ask you for your username and password. Then once it's mounted you can map it to a network drive and have it automatically reconnect at launch.

There probably is an easier way to mount a Mac drive, that's the only hoops I could find but then again, I am a Mac guy... :-) Once it's mapped to a drive, though, you should just need to set up your options in the "Network Options" dialog in ScreamerNet Controller.

I've actually rendered several projects over a network with OS X and Windows XP boxes, but that's at my day job and like I said I don't generally have the time to build any documentation on how to do it.

The key with LWSN is to get a grasp on what it's trying to do, which is actually fairly simple (simpler than it seems, although I don't mean to imply that it's really simple, and then give it what it wants, which is this: a path to a valid config file, the path to the content directory, and the path to the job and ack files. The controller writes the job files, LWSN writes the ack files back. The config file path can be set up by launching Lightwave, and the content directory should be on the mounted drive that is mapped to a drive letter.

I'm always more than ready to help anyone who is having trouble setting up their LWSN network, and I know it's a bear to set up but once it's set up it generally runs great without any ongoing maintenance.

exit6
10-08-2004, 12:05 AM
That's really helpful information. I got the drive to mount from XP with no snags. It went along and rendered the frames just fine. But for some reason the frames that rendered on my PC's never showed up. The immediate diagnosis is something about getting the directory right, but I checked it and checked it again. I think next time I'll try to save everything on a PC instead of on the Mac. I better figure this out soon, my production schedule is due to ramp up in two weeks!
One question about your software -- this is a stand alone product, right? I can let it run in the background and work, no problem? Dishing out the commands isn't anywhere near as processor-intensive as actually rendering them, yes?
Cool, thanks again.

jdavidbakr
10-08-2004, 09:15 AM
That's really helpful information. I got the drive to mount from XP with no snags. It went along and rendered the frames just fine. But for some reason the frames that rendered on my PC's never showed up. The immediate diagnosis is something about getting the directory right, but I checked it and checked it again. I think next time I'll try to save everything on a PC instead of on the Mac. I better figure this out soon, my production schedule is due to ramp up in two weeks!
One question about your software -- this is a stand alone product, right? I can let it run in the background and work, no problem? Dishing out the commands isn't anywhere near as processor-intensive as actually rendering them, yes?
Cool, thanks again.

Yes, I have indeed had ScreamerNet Controller driving a render farm while working on the same computer. It works best if you have a dual processor, so that the same processor isn't constantly re-paging in the different program, but still works great nonetheless. (If you have a dual, you could probably even have an instance of LWSN running while you are working in LW without much noticeable performance loss).

As for the frames not being saved, if you're using my Controller then you probably don't have the network options set correctly. You have to remove and reload any scenes in queue after making any changes there, because it actually creates a different scene file with the necessary changes to render on a PC, which it deletes when you remove the scene.