Network Rendering with Maxwell Render Setup

Posted on Sunday, 17 August 2008
Underwater - An AE Motion Graphics Sample (2D)
SIGGRAPH 2008 - Los Angeles

Quality Over Quantity

Testing Network Rendering with Maxwell Render Setup

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Todays experiment. Setting up a network render with Maxwell Render on three laptop computers on WiFi network. Here is my guide/summary of the process I worked out:

Network Rendering with Maxwell Render Setup

1. Started up by configuring file and printer sharing on all three PCs. Ran the Network Wizard to add all three machines to the same workgroup ‘Workgroup’ (nice name huh?)
2. Mapped a network drive ‘M’ to all three machines, pointing to the same share folder on the ‘main’ PC.
3. Added the relevant .mxs file to the shared folder location, so it can be reached by all PCs on the WiFi network.
4. Launched mxcl.exe -server on all 3 PCs.
5. Launched mxcl.exe -manager on the manager PC.
6. Launched mxcl.exe -d (viewer) on the manager PC (for GUI).
7. Connected to the network (the 3 servers pop up in the render farm list).
8. Grouped the 3 PCs into a farm ‘TestFarm1’.
9. Added a new render job to the queue.
10. Ticked the ‘Collaborative’ feature to all work on the same render.
11. Set all the Render Options as required (make sure to use the shared network path for output)
12. Pressed OK to run the render job.
13. Success!

However, had lots of problems with the following things most attempts:

– Pending / Lost – Servers reported as lost at times.
– Sending/Recieving MXM – Took very long times (due to WiFi transfer???)
– Third PC never ending it’s render properly (but when pressing stop manually it seemed to be finished).
– Unreliable results – Render finished only once in ~ 5 attempts (tips are appreciated)
– Lack of error messages to explain what went wrong.

It is my aim to try this out again as an experiement, but next time with Ethernet LAN.

Hopefully this guide will save you some time figuring out how to setup a network render!

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Underwater - An AE Motion Graphics Sample (2D)
SIGGRAPH 2008 - Los Angeles

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