Blender instability and other stuff

Hello again!

I am creating a scene in space, I am using Cycles renderer, but I’m kinda stuck on composing and stuff.

First of all I would like to ask on this - I don’t know if the scene is so complex, my PC so weak, or the cycles renderer so unstable, but I got Blender crashed very often - mostly during BVH calculating. I did some googling and found out that it could by caused by too many objects (or complex objects) and also modifiers in one layer, so I separated the scene into several layers. On the other side, I also read that multiple layers could cause blender to crash (when using cycles), but it was probably related to older versions.

So, redistributing meshes across layers was quite helpful, but now it crashes in composing. Usually when using large textures (4k), but that’s no problem in this scene, the problem comes mostly with Blur nodes and similar stuff.
Also in some cases switching from GPU to CPU compute helps, but not in this one.
I was experiencing various problems in my previuos blender creations, but I always found some solution, now I am just deadly stuck.

My specs are: AMD Athlon 64 X2 5600+ 2,81GHz, 4GB RAM, ASUS GTX 560 1GB, Win XP Prof SP3 32 bit

So, tell me guys, is my scene too complex, or can I somehow improve my Blender’s stability? Would a better HW help? or 64-bit version with 64-bit OS?

Second thing I am a little confused with, are the render layers, or layers in general. I was reading something about them, watched some tutorials, but they are still a bit unclear to me.
I have created six render layers, each one has a visible layer and all scene layer attached to it, but scene layers somehow varies depending on what layers I have activated as visible.
When rendering, do I have to enable all the visible layers in the 3D view window?
What are the mask layers for?
Can someone take a look at the layer settings and node settings in my .blend file? Any feedback, advice, whatever, would be very helpful.

I am using Cycles because it has faster rendering and simplier scene lighting, but perhaps I should stay with default renderer, what do you think?

(just to the scene - my plan is to render smoke behind the missile in Blender render as a separate image and then add it in cycles compositor, i believe there is no way of creating smoke in cycles yet, right?)

I’m not gonna speculate about why it crashes…

About Render Layers, yes you need to activate the visible in order to render them.

Your Render Layers look ok. It depends on what you are going to to in comp, if you really need all those Passes ( Like Ship1 and Ship2 separated)

Your Compositing is another Story… You are using the Add Node, while this might end in correct Result in simpler scenes, it might as well just not.

Have a look at the Alpha Checkbox in Mix Node, just to the right where you select Add - this will take your Alpha into account. Or look at the Alpha Over Node and Z Combine Node. I would recommend you to try some Comp on a simpler Scene first…

I wondering what you indent with the ID Mask? As far as i can see you have no Material with Index 1?

And please note - Blur/Glare Nodes are by far the slowest in Compositor - not that you should not use them - just be aware of. :wink:

I would recommend you on the Background Image Comp, put translate before Scale, then Scale Node set to Render Size and activate Crop.

(Interrupt: Wrote this a few hours earlier, then my pc (hard disc) died… wanted to post it anyway…)

Thanks for your reply, I’ll look at it when I have some time…

I feel sorry for your data on the hard disc, same thing happened to me few months ago… :-/