Desk Top Stops Rendering on Local Render Farm.

Hello Gurus!
Whenever I set up my local render farm one of my computers stops rendering for no apparent reason. Can you help?

I set up the “farm” with my desktop, my wife’s desktop, and her laptop (amazing what she’ll let you use, if you listen to her, make up the bed, and clear your “honeydew list”, before “Blendering”).

Her desktop and mine both use Windows 7, her laptop uses Windows 8.

Anyway, using Ira Krakow’s Free Blender 3D Render Farm Tutorial (cf.) in which all the computers have Blender 2.68a open. They all use the same blender file and render PNG files to a mapped hard drive on my PC. The Overwrite option is disabled and the File Extension and Placeholder options are both enabled on all computers. However, my wife’s desktop will render 1, 2, sometimes 20 frames or more, but then will simply stop rendering. Pressing Cntl+F12 starts it again with the same results, i.e., stops rendering at any given time.

So my current workaround is to “babysit” her desktop, and hit Cntl+F12 when it takes an “unauthorized break”.

My PC and her laptop usually just continues right along, with no issues whatsoever. But the missus’s desktop “has a strong union” and renders as long as it sees fits.

Any ideas?

Thanks to the 68 gurus who took the time to view my post. Guess this one is the proverbial “bear”, though tit doesn’t make me any less grateful, everyone. “Happy Blending”, as one guru likes to say!

Quick question. On the machine that stops rendering sporadically, you said it varies the number of frames between render halts.

Can you find any discernible pattern? Like, does it stop rendering roughly 1, 2, 3 hours after the last time you touched the computer? Does the screen turn off? Are there any errors outputted to the blender console.

I would check the power options and make sure that computer is not set to hibernate, sleep, or turn the drives off after a set amount of time. Maybe check the event viewer on the problem computer to see if windows is logging any time outs or errors accessing the shared drive you’re saving the output files to.

Beyond that I would really need some more information to be able to help.

Thanks for your interest, PowerST! When I’m babysitting the computer, I doesn’t go into a “sleep” or “hibernate” mode. The screen stays on as the render began just say, e.g… ten seconds ago, so the screen doesn’t have time to go into a sleep mode. There are no discernible patterns I can detect. It just returns to its normal state, as if I just hit the Escape key in the middle of a render. I will start it from a CMD window tomorrow to see if there are any error messages in DOS.

I opened Blender on my wife’s PC with the CMD console. While running my render farm again and duplicating the problem, I received a “Could not write file: Permission denied.” on her desktop.

I also noticed the issue appears only when I use my PC as part of the farm. Her laptop also stops rendering as well, but no where near as much, now. When I run the laptop and her PC they do not duplicate the problem. My hypothesis is since my computer is the only one that has an administrator account, it is the one causing the issue.

Sorry for the delay in responding, work has been crazy this week.

Okay, permission denied. Yeah, somewhere along the way either blender is trying to render a frame on one of the computers that another system has already ‘touched’ and created an empty file for -or- there is some windows permission where the machine where the files are hosted locally is overriding the share permissions locally and taking control of things like file locks.

To level this all out, I would try connecting from all systems as the same user to guarantee that all permissions are the same.

To give this a test run, note the computer name of the machine that is hosting the files. You can find this if you goto control panel -> System.

Now follow these steps from each of the computers. Even your desktop where the files are will be doing this to access the file share.

 'WinKey+R' to bring up run dialog.  This shortcut should work on win 7 and 8.
 Type in, without the quotes but with two backslashes '\\ComputerName'
 This should show you the list of shared folders on the machine
 Right click on the share and choose 'Map Network Drive'
 Choose the drive to map it to and Check the box for 'Connect using different credentials'
 For username type in the username that you login to your desktop with. (You may need to type in 'ComputerName\Username' to make sure it uses the hosting machines account instead of the connecting machines local account name)
 Example: Computer name of machine where files are shared is 'DasHost' and the username is 'JohnnyBravo'.  On all 3 machines you would connect using 'DasHost\JohnnyBravo'

Then run the blender files from the mapped drive, Z:, Y:, whatever you mapped it to.

Do this on all 3 machines, even the computer where the files are hosted. On the hosting computer even though the files are local, mapping a drive and running the blend file from the mapped drive letter will cause windows to think the files are on a share drive and run things through that forcing it to use any shared folder permissions rather than local administrator ones. By using the same account this should ensure the permissions are the exact same for all the machines.

Let me know how that goes for you.

Wouldnt it be easier to use the Netrender addon to do this?

I only wish that were the case. When I did try the Network Render add on, the results were mixed to put it mildly. The master and slave computers would all drop out of the render process at any given time. I believe my same issue is causing the Netrender problem as well.

I will. Thanks for all your help!

Similar problems with netrender too?

Open a DOS prompt and type ‘ping -t NameOfHost’ on each of the networked computers.

While that’s running you can press ‘Ctrl+C’ to stop it and see final results. Alternatively you can press ‘Ctrl+Break’ (Break key is usually up around the print screen and scroll lock keys on your keyboard) to see a current running total and allow it to keep going.

See if maybe the network is bugging out or dropping packets.