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Render Farm

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I will be very grateful if someone will share experience how to set up a simple renderfarm to work with Houdini, what software to use to renderqueue, which is most stable, and which is most user friendly...



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To actually run a farm you need to use Rscript. If you talk to the support at SideFX they will walk you through what you need. If it is just a couple computers and they all have Houdini you can just open the file on each computer and have each one do a range of frames.

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  • 2 weeks later...

The "best way" imo, is to render out IFD files for each frame (just check the "generate script file" on your render parms). This makes mantra work like renderman in the sense that it gets passed a file for every frame & doesn't have to deal with opening houdini and cooking out geometry and what not. Because you're not using houdini, only mantra, you don't need rscript licenses, only mantra licenses... which are cheap & available for site-wide licensing.

we use a free queue manager called Dr. Queue (www.drqueue.org). It works very well on all *nix's and works ok under Winows with Cygwin (however, having said that, my one windows machine does not run Dr/ Queue - so I don't havemuch experience on that side). Outside of Dr. Queue, I'd say the best queue manager is Rush, though you have to pay for it. I'm not a big fan of Smedge.

The main idea, then, is to have a centralized file server that holds all the IFDs, shaders, path definitions and such. with drqueue, you create a general type job (thisis a job that simply runs a shell command on each machine) that runs something like "mantra < ifd/foo.$DRQUEUE_PADFRAME.ifd"

We've been doing it that way for years... works like a charm. I believe there's even a way to embed shaders in the ifd's, but don't quote me on that. If you're running Linux, use NFS for your shares, NIS for logins, and intranet DNS for name resolution. To make your life simple, make a "render" user on all your render nodes with render's home dir located on the NFS share - this way you only have to change one set of files to affect the whole farm.

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  • 5 weeks later...

Thanks Brian, finnaly I had more time to play around with drqueue and with some minor problems I managed to run it on XP. Although setting it up was a little bit of pain :) I've never used ifds but now I can see it's realy cool feature!

Thanks againg for help


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