View Full Version : Network Rendering on the MAC

09-17-2007, 02:32 PM
I've been doing some network rendering on the mac lately (both CFM and UB versions).

On the main machine I'm using LW to host/manage the render. I am not using the main machine as a render node itself.

LW is eating up 100% of CPU power (This is a quad-core machine so there is still 400% of CPU power available). Even with approximately 275% of CPU power, LW's hogging of resources drags the performance of the machine way down, making it difficult to work in another instance of LW or in Shake.

I wouldn't think it'd take so much CPU power to manage the render nodes. Isn't it basically just monitoring changes in ack files and sending commands in job files?

Is there some way on the Mac to set the priority of the LW process or assign it to a specific CPU so it doesn't get in the way of everything else?

09-18-2007, 02:07 AM
Why not also run three nodes on the host machine as well?


09-18-2007, 02:17 AM
LW does seem to be a real CPU hog. I've found it impossible to use Quicktime to watch something when UB LW is crunching through a render.

OS X doesn't make it easy to drop the priority of a task, though. I spent a long time hunting for a small app that would pull the task list and wrap 'renice' into a friendly GUI. Nothing to date has been satisfactory. The equivalent functions from Windows Task Manager are not available in the Activity Monitor, which really sucks.

If you are a terminal junkie, 'man renice' or 'info renice' could help.

09-18-2007, 07:32 AM
or you could drop the threads in layout.

many people are not aware that Screamernet is Threaded. Which means... One Sreamernet instance can use all of the processors, so if you launch a screamernet for each processor and each one is trying to use all of the processors... well, let sjust say that is Not an ideal situation. Screamernet relies on Layout to tell it how many threads to launch (through the configs)... with each instance of screamernet. While building Easy I saw just how quickly someone could inadvertedly take the cpus to their collective knees with a wayward threading setting.

so in order to promote good Threading hygiene I give you a threading setting tutorial.

step 1. launch lightwave
step 2. open the render globals under the render tab
step 3. in the resulting panel select "1 thread" in the multithreading pulldown found in the render tab.
step 4. and this is most important... Quit layout. it won't be written to the configs Unless you do this step.

now this only works if you haven't already branched Screamernet's configs from Layout's but if you HAVE done that then you probably are aware that Screamernet is threaded.

And as an addendum, if you only use (your total CPUs)-1 threads in your screamernet rendering (either with one instance with threading, or multiple instances with single threads) you SHOULD have enough processing power left over to actually do something. I'm not saying it will be lightning fast, but it should be usable.

09-18-2007, 08:09 AM
The problem is that I'm not using the main machine to render... I want to use it to animate or composite while the other computers are rendering.

LW is using 100% CPU when it's managing the network render but not doing any rendering itself.

Phil, thanks for the tip on renice.

09-18-2007, 09:43 AM
The built-in render controller is not the most efficient, or robust...

Have you tried running a test with one of the third party render controllers? They both have free versions for a low number of render nodes that you can use to test, then if it looks like they would help and you need more nodes, you can buy an upgraded license.

Bruce Rayne's RenderFarm Commander (http://www.brucerayne.com/renderfarm.html)

Jonathan Baker's ScreamerNet Controller for OS X (http://www.catalystproductions.cc/screamernet/)

I'm in the process of updating my DreamLight Insight: Mastering LightWave ScreamerNet for Mac OS X (http://dreamlight.com/insights/10), for LightWave 9.3 CFM & UB. I've updated all the pages so far and just need to add a new advanced network rendering step-by-step example for ScreamerNet UB... that's when I'll see if either of these controllers will actually work with ScreamerNet UB. Since the paths are built differently, they may not work with the UB without an update...


09-19-2007, 07:13 AM
Thanks for the suggestions Scazzino.

I tried screamernet controller before and it didn't work for me. I'll have to try it again.

Mostly I started this thread to gripe about the built in network controller. :) I don't think it's been updated since it was initially released and stealthnet (which I never got working) disappeared.

The built-in render controller is abysmal (IMO) it works but lack some basic functionality that I'd like to see... like being able to add scenes while rendering... changing scene order... deleting something other than the top scene in the list.

The thing needs some attention :)

09-20-2007, 12:23 PM
burman -

I have been using RFC with great success, however the very last version does not seem to work with PC nodes when using LW 9.2 or 9.3

I have contacted Newtek so they can send a 9.3 license to the developer that way he can continue supporting it, but I have heard nothing from Newtek.

It is a pity since I have to rely on a PC controller for the moment (and pay for it again and pay for extra nodes)

Matt -

09-21-2007, 02:28 AM
burman -

the very last version does not seem to work with PC nodes when using LW 9.2 or 9.3

Oh no. is this true? Im scuppered! So having just got 9.3 working for me-i gotta go back to 9! ARGH!:twak:

How about screamernet controller-is this 9.3 compatiable?