All workstations in rooms 322, 325, and 332 have the following software:
- Maya 2008
- Pixar's RenderMan Artist Toolkit
- Pixar's RenderMan Studio
- Microsoft Office 2007
- Microsoft Visual Studio 2008
- ...plus other utility software: Firefox, Thunderbird, 7Zip, etc.
Some of the software deployed in the animation lab are installed only on a subset of the workstations, equal to the number of licenses we can deploy.
- Adobe Creative Suite 2
- "rullo" and "tirare" (in room 325).
- Adobe Creative Suite 3 Master Collection
- All workstations in rooms 322, 325, 332 except "rullo" and "tirare."
- Corel Painter IX
- "bow," "eighty," and "salto."
- Deep Paint / Deep UV
- "moontree," "arrow," "boy," "bow," "suntree," "corro," "salto," "trotto," and "volare."
- ZBrush 3
- "eighty," "boy," and "deer."
The "renderfarm" is a group of machines that can be used to render shots by the animation class. At present (26 September 2008) there are forty (40) render nodes available.
- animals: forty (40) nodes (Fedora 9) with Maya 2008 installed. Available 24/7.
This section explains how to prepare your files to send them to the renderfarm, and how to interact with the renderfarm clients.
As demand grows for renderfarm clients, especially during Spring Quarter, the number of render nodes will increase, and may well include machines running the Windows XP operating system. This document will provide instructions for interacting with both Linux-based and Windows-based renderfarm clients.
All resources (textures, etc.) that are part of a shot must be placed on a partition that is available to all renderfarm clients. Additionally, the paths to those resources in your Maya files must be formed in a platform-neutral and consistent manner. The renderfarm clients will include both Windows- and Linux-based computing resources, and your resources must be prepared in a manner that allows any renderfarm client to access them.
Shots to be rendered on the renderfarm must be located on one of the partitions on "production.cs.washington.edu":
//ntdfs/cs/unix/projects/instr/production1 //ntdfs/cs/unix/projects/instr/production2 //ntdfs/cs/unix/projects/instr/production3 //ntdfs/cs/unix/projects/instr/production4 //ntdfs/cs/unix/projects/instr/production5and all paths to resources on disk (a texture, for example) must start with one of those two path strings.
The destination folder for images generated on the renderfarm must also be located on one of the partitions on "production.cs.washington.edu."
This path syntax should be used consistently in one's Maya files, and is independent of the renderfarm client's operating system.
Resources located on "preproduction" or other machines, including animation lab workstations, are not universally available to the renderfarm.
Paths such as
//production/projects/instr/production1do not conform to these rules, and should be corrected as shown above.
Two programs provide the interface to the renderfarm. Alfred lets you track the progress of your render jobs, and LinuxAFM.tcl (a TCL script) lets you submit jobs to the renderfarm. Both of these tools are located in the Pixar folder: Start > All Programs > Pixar > RenderMan Studio 1.0.1.
To send a job to the "animals" group of Linux renderfarm clients, first select the "
animals" huntgroup in Alfred by selecting "Scheduling > Huntgroup" and setting only the checkbox next to "
One must also change the "Server Selection Keys" value in the LinuxAFM window to include "animals" as shown in the screen shot below.
Once the huntgroup has been selected, the LinuxAFM script can be run. A screenshot of this program is shown below.
Here, the LinuxAFM script is set up to render thirty-one frames from the "
boxMotion-test.ma" Maya file.
The "animals" huntgroup has two subsets:
- "animals-old" are the twenty original dedicated renderfarm nodes
- "animals-new" are the twenty newer dedicated renderfarm nodes
Should you wish to use only a subset of the renderfarm, replace "animals" with one of these additional huntgroup names in the above instructions.
If your shot will be rendered using the Pixar RenderMan renderer in place of the default Maya renderer, please follow the instructions in the next section of this document. The "LinuxAFM" script cannot be used for this purpose.
If your shot is intended to be rendered with Pixar's RenderMan renderer, in place of the Maya renderer, the shots must be dispatched from within Maya, and must be sent to the "animals" renderfarm nodes. Here's how to accomplish this:
- Load your scene into Maya.
- Select "File > Project > Set" and set the project directory for this shot to the appropriate area on "production."
- Select "Window > Rendering Editors > Render Settings"
- Render using "RenderMan"
- Select "Advanced > Search Paths" and enter the following:
["NFS" "O:/unix/projects/instr" "/projects/instr"]
- Select "Render > Batch Render > Options" and enter the following:
- Rendering Threads: 0
- check "Alfred Spool"
- make sure "Start Alfred Paused" is unchecked
- Style: "mayabatch remote"
- Crews: type a crew name - "animals," for example - and also select the same crew in "Alfred": "Scheduling > Huntgroup"
- Press the "Batch Render" button.
If your shot is set up to render multiple frames of animation, you'll see the shot being dispatched, at first, to a single render node, where the RenderMan code will be generated, and then be dispatched to multiple render nodes for image generation.