View Full Version : hate screamernet? make it easy!

08-17-2007, 12:26 PM
easy is avery simple render controller for the LW 9.3 UB screamernet.
If you have one machine and don't want to clog up Lightwave with controlling screamernet, get easy!
If you are a newbie and screamernet is daunting, get easy!
if you need to batch render scenes from different content directories, get easy!
if you are cheap and tired of setting Screamernet up yourself, get easy! (its free)

to setup all you need to do is tell easy where to find screamernet in the preferences window.
then just add scenes and hit render! easy!

btw: as with all free software, you get exactly what you pay for. its pretty basic, comes with no guarantees, and i'm basically using you as a guinea pig, so make sure you let me know how you like it!

08-20-2007, 08:06 PM
seven downloads so far. anybody try it yet?

08-21-2007, 09:00 AM
I'd love to. Downloaded it but I'm in a hurry (deadline:grumpy: )

Does it work on G5 or it is intel only?

Anyway, thanks for sharing your hard work:thumbsup:


08-21-2007, 09:55 AM
Woops, sorry, i made a false download, read the UB Mac line after clicking :p

No nee dfor this on my wintel box, still keep up the good work.

08-21-2007, 10:41 AM
sorry for the confusion guys.

if you are running the Lightwave UB release, Easy will work. It is UB, so it runs just fine on G5, G4, and Intel platforms.

the only reason it doesn't work with CFM Lightwave is because there is a significant upgrade to Screamernet in The UB that Easy relies upon. otherwise there's no magic.

08-21-2007, 12:16 PM
Wow... very nice Eblu, thank you very much.

If you're interested in any feature requests, I'd like....

1. Drag & Drop support so we can just drag a scene onto your app or icon to add it to the render queue.

2. Scene Info/Statistics - It would be nice to see details about the selected scene in the large blank space at the bottom of your UI. Information such as scene stats, render settings, etc.. would be quite useful.

3. The ability to pause a render. Not so much like an FPrime "pause", more like just putting the render on hold after the current frame completes.

4. Scene Priority - ie: the ability to assign priority levels to scenes in the queue so unimportant scenes render later, or earlier or whatever etc...

5. Frame preview... hehehe... would be cool to see the rendered frames for the selected scene in a thumbnail filmstrip kinda like the new Render Stats panel in 9.3

Just a few ideas... some of these may already be implemented (more or less); I haven't had much time to play with it just yet so i don't know.

points to ponder none the less... thanks again.. you damn sure made it "easy"

08-22-2007, 03:16 PM
thanks Harlan, and everybody else too!

Easy is basically an experiment to see what people need from a renderer. when/if I build its successor, it will be a bigger program by far. Thats not to say Easy will ever be replaced, I personally feel that Newtek should have created Easy (or something exactly like it) 10 years ago, and so once I learned enough to cobble Easy together, and Newtek released the Command line Screamernet, I built the basic parts any render controller needed, and put them out. I intend Easy to always be available in some form or another.

Your suggestions are Noted and Appreciated.

08-24-2007, 07:27 AM
update to the easy interface.

09-18-2007, 02:00 AM
So I finally tried easy, but for me it's not so easy...
It does seem to load scenes and objects correctly and starts rendering, but renders end up empty.
So I have a feature request; an optional window that displays all the info regarding loading and rendering.
Now it shows up (for example with an error) and disappears as soon as rendering starts. This way I can't really see what is giving an error.
Would really love to see this work!

09-18-2007, 07:20 AM
perhaps we could fix your problem here?

I've found that 100% of the problems with empty files relate to screamernet setup errors. and with Easy some of those are eliminated right off the bat. Easy auto-magicaly knows the content directory, for instance.

from your short description, I see that your plugins appear to be accessible otherwise it would not be saving anything. it sounds like screamernet is having trouble finding your Objects. so I'm thinking a few things:

1. you might have an illegal character somewhere in the path to the Objects. illegal characters includes quotes, spaces (sometimes), periods that do not denote a dot extension, any other punctuation.

2. a server that contains your objects might not be mounted, or it might Not be visible to Unix (rarely a problem but I've seen it)

3. you may have an odd setup that breaks the content directory structure completely, confusing screamernet. (though I've found that you have to go pretty far to really upset screamernet these days)

4. I've just noticed you are in the netherlands. I am not aware of any localizing issues with easy or screamernet, but there could easily be one with either of them.

09-18-2007, 08:32 AM
Thanks for the quick response eblu!
I just checked and I do use spaces in naming my folders. So that could be it.
I never use them in filenames (always an underscore_ if something like that is neccesary) but apparantly I do use them in foldernames all over the place...
I'll give it another go tonight!

09-18-2007, 09:47 AM
I've been using easy for a couple months now I think and we have had pretty good luck.

Some issues i noticed that wasn't so easy: Scenes wouldn't load from:
HD>Applications>Newtek>Lightwave 3D 9.2>Scenes>ProjectA>
but would load from:
HD>Applications>Newtek>Lightwave 3D 9.2>Scenes>
Took me a few minutes to figure that out. But recently i've changed our content directories to be closer to root. So now they are something like:
Which works fine.

Another wish i have is error reporting. We use pretty heavy scenes and sometimes it will halt rendering because LW runs out of memory or any of the 100 errors LW can give when it has trouble managing ram for a scene. But the renderer will just look like normal even though the render stopped.
Can only really tell from looking at my istat pro to see if the processors are thinking or not. Not a big deal, just thought it would be cool.

Mostly though, with normal scenes that aren't pushing the ram limits easy has been great for us. I've cued up 10+ scenes for many different small elements of shots and come in the next morning and they are all done and waiting for me. 8)~

09-18-2007, 10:16 AM
with that first path...
"HD>Applications>Newtek>LightWave 3D 9.2>Scenes>ProjectA>"

I'm wondering if you work with one content directory, with separate project directories in Each of the subDirectories?

for example:
You have Content,
with SubDirs: Objects, Images, Scenes, etc...
and then is each SubDir you have a "ProjectA" directory?

my very first guess is that the "Lightwave 3d 9.2" directory name is ruining things for you. I've made quite a few attempts to educate Newtek on the Bad use of both spaces and dots in the name of a folder, but alas, no luck getting that fixed. the deal is that unix Does Not Like dots in the names of any folders. And Spaces are bad as well, you have to do a lot of fidgeting to get them to work, which easy does auto-magically, but theres always a gotcha or 2.

but if that folder isn't the problem, I'd like to have some more info just in case I can actually fix it.

(mental notes... error reporting, better visual feedback. try to bullet proof the path some more)

cheers guys!

09-19-2007, 05:48 AM
I just tried again, first removed spaces from my foldername. Unfortunately it doesn't seem to fix my problem; renderings still come up empty...
By the way, I don't use mounted volumes, it's all on my HD. Maybe somehow I did upset screamernet?

09-19-2007, 08:45 AM
what is your Content Directory like?
do you use a content directory? are all of your objects in an Objects folder?
all your images in an Images folder?
all of your scenes in a Scenes folder?

09-19-2007, 09:08 AM
eblu - your exactly right on the content directory layout. This way we never have to change content directory paths in LW when switching projects. The spaces and . in the 'Lightwave 3D 9.2' directory is part of the reason i moved all of our content.

Actually, atleast with the new UB version, when LW installs itself it places everything in Applications>LighWave3D 9> now. So they got rid of the '.' but still have one space hehe. Getting closer.


09-19-2007, 02:51 PM
I've seen that hierarchy before. My co-worker uses it, but to my mind for what we do, its a little counter-intuitive. we tend to do really short, completely unrelated projects, in which we need to be able to back up and restore them at a moment's notice, so I actually use a different content for each project. But mine is also setup for aftereffects, so it has some xtra folders...

it goes something like this:
renders <- where I render my 3d files
footage <- where I put misc stuff for ae, sometimes I simply use footage instead of renders for my final 3d renders, depends on complexity of the job
output <- final renders, so that they are easily found, and Purged if need be.

but I'm not trying to get you to change, its just how easy was tested. so we know easy can render to arbitrary paths (the renders folder is not a sanctioned Content directory, but it works regardless). knowing how you work, I can try a few things. I don't think easy will have a problem, but I've been surprised before.

09-20-2007, 07:29 AM
what is your Content Directory like?
do you use a content directory? are all of your objects in an Objects folder?
all your images in an Images folder?
all of your scenes in a Scenes folder?

Setup is always like this:
All projects are stored in the 'projects' folder. Every project has a '3d' folder with an 'objects' folder, 'scenes' folder and 'images' folder.
Content directory is set to the 'projects' folder.

09-20-2007, 08:28 AM
well if i follow, thats the problem right there.

what i think i understand:
your directory structure:


so if this is how your directories are setup, you are always going to have anomalous problems with network rendering. Lightwave expects your Scene,Image,Objects, etc... directories to live directly inside the content directory, and you have it setup so that you have a project directory "in the way".

Easy sets the content directory, by looking for the "Scenes" directory, and backing up 1 in the hierarchy, so Easy isn't setting the proper Content directory, and you are getting blank renders.

but its all ok, there is a fix. the good news is that if you do the fix, Lightwave will magically become better behaved for you, the bad news is that you will have to change How you setup your content directory.

there are currently two schools of thought on How to setup a content directory that are valid (that I am aware of). You should pick one and reorganize your Content Structure to follow it.

For users who do many small unrelated projects:
Start a new Content directory for each Project. Name the Content After the project, and inside the Content Put Your Objects, Scenes, Images, Etc... directories.
Pros: easy to back up
Cons: You have to make sure Lightwave is set to the proper Content before beginning to work.

For Users who Need a more Homogenous approach (they want 1 single content directory):
Make a Content directory,
Inside put your Objects, Scenes, Images, etc... directories.
in each of the Sub directories (Objects, Images, Scenes, etc...) put a Project Directory for each project you are working on.
Pros: everything is in one place, no need to change content directories
Cons: its a lot of work making project directories in each of the Content SubDirectories, eventually the whole thing gets really big.

AljenHoekstra, I suspect you are having some difficulties getting Any Network rendering App to work, This is probably why. You really really should change the way you setup your projects, you'll be much happier.

09-20-2007, 08:41 AM
Thanks for the help eblu! I'm pretty much alone in my Lightwave world here so there's nobody out here who has ever told me how to setup my stuff. I figured that this way worked for me in organizing my projects, so it should be allright. Guess I'm wrong... And I'm not really a technical guy, I just like to create (3D)stuff.
And you are right I never did get screamernet or any renderapp to work for me. I used LWSNcontroller from Dstorm that somehow did work for me when batchrendering.
I have a deadline to catch right now but I might change my current project tonight cause I have a lot of rendering to do and I want to get this working!
Thanks again eblu, I'll post in the morning how things are going.

09-20-2007, 08:47 AM
no problem!

heres a quick suggestion for testing purposes, in Layout under "File" theres something called "Content Manager" You can use that to export a scene (including all of its support files) to a brand new Valid Content Directory. it will copy the files, without disturbing anything you already have working, and then you can see if easy can work with that.