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intofx
08-29-2005, 01:21 PM
Just curious what you guys would do...

I am an in-house graphics person at a small production company. I have a couple of Dual processor G5's that use primarily. We use lightwave quite a bit never had much need for a render farm but as I get better and demands get higher we are looking into a few solutions. Anyone using the mac minis for their nodes? Or should we go another route?

TIA,
Matt

3djab
08-29-2005, 02:18 PM
I actually am just getting ready to put mine together. I purchased 3 minis and Renderfarm Commander. If I have time this week, I'll probably be setting it up to do my Lightwave animation and Vue Infinite. We'll see. :hey:

intofx
08-29-2005, 05:21 PM
I actually am just getting ready to put mine together. I purchased 3 minis and Renderfarm Commander. If I have time this week, I'll probably be setting it up to do my Lightwave animation and Vue Infinite. We'll see. :hey:


Definately let me know how it goes... Did you research any other alternatives before deciding on the mini's?

Matt

riki
08-29-2005, 06:18 PM
I understand the desire to keep everything on a Mac pipeline, but that could start to get expensive. In the past I've noticed that most people recommend buying some cheap PCs.

intofx
08-29-2005, 08:32 PM
I understand the desire to keep everything on a Mac pipeline, but that could start to get expensive. In the past I've noticed that most people recommend buying some cheap PCs.


I guess my fear is Lightwave playing nice across screamernet. I've got a pretty stable system among the computers I've got, I just need more nodes. Will PC's give me any trouble?

Matt

riki
08-29-2005, 08:49 PM
I'm not too sure. I suspect maybe some issues with shaders, or plugins that are platform specific. But never attemmpted it myself.

3djab
08-29-2005, 09:47 PM
At my last job, I put together a 10 node renderfarm on Dells. All at varying processor speeds. It worked really well. While I was working on actually putting the farm together, I was advised to try not to mix chipsets. In other words, all Intels or all AMD's. Mixing of the different processors may bring different results in the way the textures look. My only problem was working with Archvisions plug-in, which is PC only. Once the plug-in was updated to be network renderable, the tree issue I was having was gone. It worked beautifully. Now that I am on my own, I'm trying to replicate my set-up here, but all Mac. I'm going to use Vue for all of the trees, bushes, etc. I just wish they would hurry up and develop the Lightwave version of Fusion ASAP. (Why they make it for Maya and 3DS Max first is beyond me.)
And yes, I did do a lot of research on what to use PC-wise at work, but since they already had an office full of Dells waiting to be used, it was pretty much a no-brainer on which way to go. As far as home goes, yes, it can get expensive going all Mac, but the Minis are serving a dual purpose. Mac's for school work in the afternoon, Renderfarm at night. I'm just a Mac guy...it just works. No crashes, no headaches.

Avebeno
08-30-2005, 12:37 AM
Should you mix G5s with G4s for a render farm?

Ozzie
08-30-2005, 01:11 AM
Mixing G4 and G5's isn't a problem apart from the fact that the G4's will be substantially slower, and sometimes not worth bothering with, especially if the G5's are taking 30+ minutes to render 1 frame.

CHEERS.

Mark

Scazzino
08-30-2005, 08:07 AM
I've published a tutorial that may be of use when setting up your Mac render farm.

Mastering LightWave 8 ScreamerNet for Mac OS X (http://dreamlight.com/insights/10/welcome.html)

Hope it helps!

gatz
08-30-2005, 05:38 PM
Get ScreamerNet Controller

http://www.catalystproductions.cc/screamernet/index.html

Its cheap and even if you only use it for queing renders on one machine the setup tutorial is great. It was the only way I could make heads or tails of ScreamerNet.

Ryhnio
08-30-2005, 08:22 PM
I to am interested in going all mac. If all goes well I may purchase xserves and cluster nodes... we will see.

-ryhnio

Thomas
08-31-2005, 01:15 AM
If you're in need of a controller, go with Renderfarm Commander from Bruce Rayne. It's simply outstanding!

www.brucerayne.com (http://www.brucerayne.com)

Just my 2 cents...

Regards
Thomas

intofx
08-31-2005, 09:57 AM
We're not having that much trouble with screamernet now... But why do you recomend these aftermarket controlers? More reliable? Better interface?Also are they all compatible with mac?

Matt

smudge11
08-31-2005, 10:51 AM
Renderfarm Commander is outstanding, and far easier to set up than plain Screamernet. It is also cheaper than Screamernet Controller. I believe it is Mac only for the controller, but you can use PC nodes. It just makes the process a no brainer, with a great interface.

óLou

Scazzino
08-31-2005, 11:06 AM
We're not having that much trouble with screamernet now... But why do you recomend these aftermarket controlers? More reliable? Better interface?Also are they all compatible with mac?

The built-in network rendering panel is OK for occasional light use but it's not really robust enough for an actual production environment.... It also has a fair number of bugs still... I'd consider it more a "proof-of-concept" than an actual production render controller...

I cover the deficiencies of the built-in controller and the strengths of both RenderFarm Commander and ScreamerNet controller for Mac OS X in my online tutorial...

LightWave's Built-in Network Controller (http://dreamlight.com/insights/10/batch_rendering.html#NetworkPanel)

Network Rendering with Jonathan Bakerís ScreamerNet Controller for Mac OS X (http://dreamlight.com/insights/10/advanced_network_rendering.html#screamernet_contro ller)

Network Rendering with Bruce Rayne's RenderFarm Commander (http://dreamlight.com/insights/10/advanced_network_rendering.html#renderfarm_command er)

Hope it helps,
-MikeS

mats4d_
08-31-2005, 05:00 PM
Hi Matt -

I also recommend RenderFarm Commander from Bruce Rayne,I currently have 2 pc's - 2 mac's rendering almost constantly with no problem at all, it just rocks.

Activator
08-31-2005, 05:20 PM
The real beauty of RenderFarm Commander is that you can start and stop nodes DURING rendering. You could have 5 Macs chugging away and, with one click, take your main Mac out of the renderfarm to work on new LW scene, then kick that Mac back into the fray when you go out for lunch! All seamlessly.

You can add scenes to the list and set them to render, or delete them, WHILE rendering other scenes.

It also automates the creation of the network nodes so that all your plugins work!

I'm all Mac, but RFC is super stable and enabled me to get an impossible 3D deadline in under the gun. I left 5 dual G5s rendering multiple 1+ hour per frame sequences, totally unattended over a weekend, and when I came back, everything had loaded, rendered and saved perfectly!

Oh, and even better, dual processor Macs can use EACH processsor as a separate rendering engine. Using this feature I have found that, with most scenes, RFC will render TWO frames in the same time that an F9 render would take.

Bruce Rayne, the author, is also very good at replying to those odd tech questions.

5 stars, must have.

Ozzie
08-31-2005, 07:28 PM
The real beauty of RenderFarm Commander is that you can start and stop nodes DURING rendering. You could have 5 Macs chugging away and, with one click, take your main Mac out of the renderfarm to work on new LW scene, then kick that Mac back into the fray when you go out for lunch! All seamlessly.

I agree. The ability to add or remove nodes on the fly is priceless. Also if a node crashes it doesn't bring down the whole system like Screamernet does. Another great feature is the ability to have my main computer rendering as a node AND controlling RFC whilst I am still playing around in Layout and Modeler. Is it simply brilliant. It has never crashed either with up to 10 G5s connected.

Also Bruce does post here and is quick to offer help or take advice for updates.

CHEERS.

Mark

EDIT: another feature is that RFC will let you set the image size, anti-aliasing and destination without having to go back to Layout and reload the scene.

brayne
08-31-2005, 08:31 PM
Also Bruce does post here and is quick to offer help or take advice for updates.
I do, and I am always more than happy to answer any questions.

Thanks to everyone who has posted such overwhelming support!

intofx
09-01-2005, 12:26 AM
Thanks for the great info, guys. So, what do I do? Is the plugin/PC compatibility issue big enough to spend the bucks to go all mac or is the render power per dollar worth the hastle with the PC?

Matt

Thomas
09-01-2005, 01:36 AM
Thanks for the great info, guys. So, what do I do? Is the plugin/PC compatibility issue big enough to spend the bucks to go all mac or is the render power per dollar worth the hastle with the PC?

Well, If I would set up a "bigger" farm, I'd go down the PC road. More renderpower for the money.

BUT, I'd control it from RenderFarm Commander ;)

And the plugin-thing. The ONLY plug-in developer that doesn't seem to offer dual-licences seems to be Evasion 3D. Been in contact with them about a PC-license for X-Dof but they said it would cost me another license. I rendered that one all-mac...


Regards

Thomas

randysolo
09-07-2005, 08:34 AM
I'm a complete newbie at this rendering farm stuff. I need help. Is Screamnet included with Lightwave? Or can I use Renderfarm Commander without Screamnet? In any case, is it easy to setup without programming knowledge?

thanks for your help,

randysolo

smudge11
09-07-2005, 09:13 AM
Het Randy,
ScreamerNet is the network rendering technology that ships with Lilghtwave. The problem is that the user interface is not to great, so it's difficult to get started with it. Renderfarm Commander puts a great interface on ScreamerNet, making it infinitely easier to use. No programming experience necessary. Once you tell RC how many machines you have, you literally just tell it to set up the farm, and all you need to do is copy a folder on to each machine. I highly recommend it.

Lou

randysolo
09-07-2005, 09:38 AM
I think I found it under - "Network rendering". But where do I get the folders to copy to the other computers? And how do I get it to recognize the other computers? Should I read the manual? Sorry.... I downloaded the free version of RFC and it doesn't automatically setup the nodes.

thanks for any help,

Randysolo

smudge11
09-07-2005, 09:48 AM
Yeah, definitely give the manual a once over. The free version does lack the auto node setup, which means you have to do a little more work, but still much easier than ScreamerNet.
Not sure what your situation is, but the $45 for the hobby version is a steal.
Either way, the manual is pretty straight forward, and Bruce is really good about helping out, so give it a shot.

Lou