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Thread: Is it a good idea to have a 2nd computer as a render node?

  1. #1
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    Is it a good idea to have a 2nd computer as a render node?

    Hello

    I am building a new pc for graphic design, 3D designa and rendering, and video editing.

    Is it a good idea to have a 2nd computer for helping with rendering?

    I was going to buy a FX8350 system, but many peoples opinions(not just this site) was to go intel. Even spend the extra.

    But if it is a good idea to have a 2nd computer for helping with rendering, and the video rendering, than I could do that and buy the FX system and later build the Intel system.

    Or I could build a i7 4790K system and later build a i7 5820K system.

    I do want at least six real cores, that is one reason why the AMD is in the picture.

    The AMD and than the i7 set up would be more affordable.

    I am upgrading from a old q6600 system with 4 gigs of ram, a 500 WD Black SATAII hdd and a GTX660.

    Could I still use this for anything?

    Having a 2nd pc means buying the software twice which means things could get expensive.

    What does everyone think?
    Last edited by yoshiii; 02-07-2015 at 06:10 PM.

  2. #2
    TrueArt Support
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    LW render node is free.

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sensei View Post
    LW render node is free.
    It is? OH cool.

    Exactly how does the node work?

  4. #4
    Axes grinder- Dongle #99
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    Essentially, it sends jobs across your local network. With a few precautions, such as making sure any plugins are accessible by all machines, it works fine.

    There are also several free and commercial render controllers that offer features the very basic native controller does not.

    Consult the manual for 'exactly'.
    They only call it 'class warfare' when we fight back.
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    Quote Originally Posted by jeric_synergy View Post
    Essentially, it sends jobs across your local network. With a few precautions, such as making sure any plugins are accessible by all machines, it works fine.

    There are also several free and commercial render controllers that offer features the very basic native controller does not.

    Consult the manual for 'exactly'.
    So if two computers, I need to have them networked together? Does all 3D software work like that or do I need 2nd copies of the software?

    This helps with rendering times?

  6. #6
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    Yes, to use LW's Screamer net, the nodes must share a network drive where job and acknowledgement files are located, and where a consistent folder hierarchy for scenes, object, motions, plug-ins, etc. is located. I don't know about any other 3D software multi-node rendering, but LW's ScreamerNet works that way. LWSN.exe (the ScreamerNet client) is included in the LW distribution.

    Whether you need another node or not depends on your time constraints and workflow. I worked for many, many years with a single node, which I'd just set to rendering when I went to sleep and let it run all night. Having two equally powerful nodes rendering won't quite halve the render time: there's communication between the nodes, and LWSN (the ScreamerNet client) uses polling to get work, so it's not incredibly fast to pick up the next frame to be rendered. Having said that though, it's very nice to have a couple of good machines cranking away.

    FYI, here's the first of four good tutorials on setting it up (not by me, thanks to Richie Allen on YouTube):

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x66tBf4Qfc4

    mTp
    Last edited by MonroePoteet; 02-07-2015 at 06:52 PM. Reason: Add author information on tutorials

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by MonroePoteet View Post
    Yes, to use LW's Screamer net, the nodes must share a network drive where job and acknowledgement files are located, and where a consistent folder hierarchy for scenes, object, motions, plug-ins, etc. is located. I don't know about any other 3D software multi-node rendering, but LW's ScreamerNet works that way. LWSN.exe (the ScreamerNet client) is included in the LW distribution.

    Whether you need another node or not depends on your time constraints and workflow. I worked for many, many years with a single node, which I'd just set to rendering when I went to sleep and let it run all night. Having two equally powerful nodes rendering won't quite halve the render time: there's communication between the nodes, and LWSN (the ScreamerNet client) uses polling to get work, so it's not incredibly fast to pick up the next frame to be rendered. Having said that though, it's very nice to have a couple of good machines cranking away.

    FYI, here's the first of four good tutorials on setting it up (not by me, thanks to Richie Allen on YouTube):

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x66tBf4Qfc4

    mTp
    If thats the case, than I will probably get the FX8350 system and than build a i7 system for main.

    Thanks

  8. #8
    Axes grinder- Dongle #99
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    Depending on the scene, it's virtually 50/50 between 2 nodes (ie, twice as fast). Not mathematically, but practically.

    Of course, if you have access to other machines in your home/office, you can add them too. Even a slow machine will help when run all night. And the node is free.
    They only call it 'class warfare' when we fight back.
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  9. #9
    Quote Originally Posted by yoshiii View Post
    So if two computers, I need to have them networked together? Does all 3D software work like that or do I need 2nd copies of the software?

    This helps with rendering times?
    The simple answer is yes, network the computers. The running files back and forth between the computers is a huge pain and leads to problems and mistakes.

    Newtek/Lightwave seem to be better then most about render nodes. I haven't looked around for a long time, but a lot use to make you pay for nodes.

    Does it help with render times... If you have one computer that is going to take two days to render 1000 frames, it will only take one day if you have two computers. That's assuming they are the same. In the past I've grabbed off every computer I could to add cpu's for render nodes. Sure, if it's a slow old computer it will do far fewer frames then the newer faster one, but every frame it does if one the new fast computer doesn't have to. It might be 1 frame for every 10 the faster one does, but that means you will be done 10% sooner. If pushed, I've got 3 desktops and 4 laptops I could hook up, and could probably barrow a few more. Haven't had the need lately.If you have a deadline you'll probably need to do that or pay some one who runs a render farm to render the frames.

  10. #10
    i used to use a freebie called lightnet - but since then, maybe 4 or 5 that are better - just buy them and be happy with easy setups.

    http://www.joejustice.org/lightnet-cloud
    i think this is lightnet latest build, but not sure.

    lightnet was a bit much to set up, but once set up it worked extremely well.

    The main point of a network render is this -
    work on your main system
    render on your network - even if it's only one machine.

    the big benefit is that your not wasting time waiting for renders on your one machine. You can keep working.

    for me that is one of the biggest and perhaps overlooked benefit.

    roboman makes an excellent point about adding slow computers too. Sometimes its more cost effective to get a bunch of slow computers to add to your network than one or two uber computers.
    depends on how much cheaper they are, but for sure using all your computers is great. (just remember they should all have the same minimum memory, otherwise they will cache to disk and really slow down)

  11. #11
    Axes grinder- Dongle #99
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    I did a corp. video at an insurance company once, and the thought of all those hundreds of computers running screen savers all night about made me cry. What a waste.
    They only call it 'class warfare' when we fight back.
    Praise to Buddha! #resist
    Chard's Credo-"Documentation is PART of the Interface"
    Film the cops. Always FILM THE COPS. Use this app.

  12. #12
    Registered User rdolishny's Avatar
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    I use free Amletto with a donation to render thumbnails over a small renderfarm of maybe 4 machines.

    When it's time to do the full render, I use Garagefarm.net. They are Lightwave friendly and may end up cheaper for odd jobs than buying another dedicated render machine. They have a LW plugin so it's a one-button affair, and files automatically render back to my local machine. In fact, often times the files take longer to download than to render. Amazing.

  13. #13
    i remember amletto - its better than lightnet. Its free now? do you have the link for that?

  14. #14
    Registered User rdolishny's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by vonpietro View Post
    i remember amletto - its better than lightnet. Its free now? do you have the link for that?
    http://virtualcoder.co.uk/amleto/

    It's really good now and yes it's by donation.

    The downside for IT and TDs is that it downloads the LWS file and media to a local machine adding a bit of network congestion when it fires up, and also when it writes to your local directory. Solutions like Butterflynet render which I also have are technically superior, but a bit more of a challenge to administer.

    Amleto just works every time first time. It's amazing.

  15. #15
    Eat your peas. Greenlaw's Avatar
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    I used to use Lightnet years ago. In fact, we used it in the Box at Rhythm & Hues for many years. Eventually we switched to Chameleon and later to ButterflyNet Render. The only reason we dropped Lightnet was that it became less reliable as our crew expanded. It was fine with a small group though.

    In my home studio I use BNR 5. I'm pretty happy with it. At the last place I freelanced, we were using Deadline Render, which is pretty good too. Both BNR and Deadline are commerical render controllers though. The nice thing about commercial controllers like these is that the can control other applications besides Lightwave, including compositing programs.

    I tried Ameletto a while back. It seemed to work very reliably except that, from what I recall, it sends your entire content directory over the network to each node. Considering my content directories can easily grow to many, many gigabytes in size, Ameletto wasn't practical for me. It's free though, so no complaining about that.

    If you're feeling adventurous, you can use the built-in controller. Compared to other render controllers, it's a bit kludgey to set up but it works. I occasionally need to set it up when I'm troubleshooting a third-party controller and I need to check that the problem is not a native LWSN issue.

    G.

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