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Easiest way to set up distributed Mantra rendering (2 machines)?

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I'm trying to figure out how to use the power of my stationary / "Desktop" Workstation in addition to the quad core cpu I have on my HP ProBook to render sequences of a Mantra animation.


The desktop is currently the hserver giving me a license to run Houdini on my laptop, so network communication should not be a problem.


My guess is that I need to set up a shared directory for textures and stuff, but I have defined a $SITE variable pointing to the same folder via Dropbox on both machines.


I've started to look into "hython" and the hou.node and it looks like most tasks can be accomplished in Python these days, but I haven't had the time to get into the details on the matter.


I do C++ and Python programming, so answers involving some code snippets don't scare me off! Well not usually anyway...


Thanks in advance.


Chris S

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Have you tried hqueue? If you want you can probably easily setup some script to manage the distribution of your renders, but hqueue does that out of the box already.


You only need to have the hqueue server running on your workstation and one instance of hqueue client running on both machines. The hqueue server will take care of distributing the task to each client available.


You will need to use the same path to reach your houdini installation directory and houdini files. This can be done through env var as you were doing with your $SITE. If you want to avoid problems you should consider having your houdini file and installation directory to be the exact same folders for all machines. I don't know how fast dropbox can sync 4k texture files, but I would rather share directories to avoid any sync related issues. Furthermore, if the two client are pointing to the same houdini install directory, it makes keeping your houdini up to date less of a pain. That setup will make even more sense when you'll had 5 more computer to your farm!  ;)


Hope it helps



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Do you know about "mantra -H" multihost rendering?


For a small number of render hosts, it might be an interesting idea to specify all the machines with -H and merely run out the render with a ROP on your primary machine, rather than using a queue -- although HQeue should work fine.  It also helps with interactive rendering.


eg. Set this type of thing on your Mantra ROP > Driver> Command

      mantra -H localhost,otherhost1,otherhost2
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