Good Render Farm Managers?

Hi guys,

Right now we use Smedge for rendering at our studio, and it works well for blender, but I’m looking to try out an open source solution. There is DrQueue, which I intend to try, but it looks pretty raw at the moment, and I’m not really much of an IT guy, so I’d rather not slog through too much scripting and dependencies just to get things up and running.

What’s everyone using to render your jobs? We have a mixed windows/OSX farm, so multiplatform support would be ideal.


EDIT: Oh, and I haven’t tried the built-in blender net render tool yet. That’s on my list as well, but Im looking for a bit more of a “generic” solution that can also be used to render other command-line renderers, like maya, mental ray, and after effects.

Concenring the built-in net renderer, can it render a batch list of blend files, or just one at a time?

I still work mostly with .bat files locally on each machine, which is a pain but they are still 2.49 projects. I’ve tested the new built-in manager in 2.5 with mixed results, good thing is its easy to set-up. The problem I had with the browser interface was with canceling jobs and re-submitting them.

And yes, you can submit multiple render jobs to the built-in manager.

P.S. Impressive showreel. Is the 3D in the reel all done in Blender?

Thanks, Madmesh!

Nope, not much blender in that reel yet (the puking mail bag was blender, but the rest was maya/after effects). But there soon will be! We are a Maya house, but blender has been trickling it’s way into the studio little by little. :slight_smile:

Well, I’ve kind of already migrated. I don’t spend much time in maya these days. My crew is pretty die hard maya, however. For me, I find blender is easier and therefore faster to use. Maya is better at some things, and blender is better in others. I love blender’s integrated modeling/sculpting/texturing environement. It has superior UV tools. Rigging is easier and faster, yet not neccessarily less powerful. Blender’s renderer pales in comparison to mental ray in terms of features, but makes up a lot of ground with superior integration between app and renderer. It remains to be seen if cycles can become the kick ass production renderer it promisies to be, but so far it’s looking promising. Maya has better rigid bodies,particles, cloth and hair. Blender has a built-in fluid simulator, great volume rendering and better fur grooming tools.
So, basically, blender competes favorably with the bigger apps, and it’s FREE, versus thousands of dollars per year in maintenence fees. Not to mention I enjoy better support from the developers and community. I submitted 2 bugs in the past few weeks. Both have been fixed and I can now download and enjoy the new fixes. Autodesk has NEVER responded that quickly to a bug report. EVER.

I could go on, but I’m afraid of derailing my own thread. :slight_smile:

We almost exclusively do digital education videos and use Blender exclusively. I often have to collaborate with advertising companies from there I often get Cinema4D data, which was no problem so far either as wavefont object or collada.
For rendering we use Loki since the first project. It´s Blender exclusive and doesn´t have many options to set but it does the job. It´s small, robust and runs in the JRE so it runs wherever java is available. It also has no webinterface, we got remote access to the master machine setup.

Personally I´d setup Dr.Queue if I had to change or would need to change, simply to support external renderers, but for the style of educational videos and comic animations we do, Blender internal is just the best. Only used Octane on a few commissions and there you can´t really use a cluster.

I also tried Blender’s NetRender at one point, I think it was during 2.56 IIRC. It was very buggy at this time, far off production ready loosing light settings between the machines or delivering empty images. I´d love to hear if anyone now is using it successfully, especially the idea to do the occasional F12 testrender in the cluster is tempting.

Seeing you got a studio you might consider a payed Dr.Queue setup. It should be rather easy IMO. If you setup a linux box and give them root access I am sure they can setup Dr.Queue via SSH - which isn´t really a trivial task.
You could also install virtualBox, run a Linux from there, or setup a linux in virtual Box, send them the virtual machine, let them setup Dr.Queue and get the virtual machine back, this way you could run the “Outpost 12 Dr.Queue Distribution” from any machine in your office using virtual box.
I am sure if you want to us Dr.Queue you´ll come to an agreement with the guys running the show :wink:

For blender only rendering I use Farmerjoe. It requires a shared network drive where all the software will be stored, no software - not even Blender - needs to be installed on the slaves. It’s really easy to setup and run, has a web browser UI for additional control of the jobs. Works with windows, linux, and mac osx (one quirk with osx, nothing major). I liked it so much, I’ve updated it to work with Blender 2.59, but haven’t publicly released it yet (still need to do some documentation).

If interested, let me know,

Hi Randy,

Just sent you a PM. I’m interested in reviewing a copy of your new Farmerjoe. I’m setting up an expanded farm at school for my students. We used Farmerjoe with 2.49 all last year with eight 2.4GHz Windows XP machines without any problems. All the students could follow the couple of steps it took to load a file. I now have 12 machines and trying to get it working with 2.59. The Network Render works great with a few machines, but dropping machines when I try to get all 12 up… Not to mention it’s much more complicated for the students plus throwing up some errors. I just looked at 2.60 and see the renderer hasn’t been worked on. Farmerjoe’s the best when you have 60 students trying to render at different times on machines powered 24/7.