The Animation Lab is a special-purpose lab, intended for the use of students enrolled in the animation course sequence. It is located in Gates Center 143.


  • 6 IBUYPOWER desktops
    (32GB RAM, single 3.6GHz CPU,NVIDIA GeForce 4070 video)
  • 8 Dell Precision T3620 desktops
    (16GB RAM, dual 3.6GHz CPU, NVIDIA Quadro 600 video)
  • 10 "local build" desktops
    (32GB RAM, single 3.7GHz CPU, NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1080 video)
  • 2 Dell Precision 5820 (32GB RAM, dual 3.5GHz CPU, NVIDIA Quadro P400 video)
  • 3 Dell G5 5000 (32GB RAM, single 2.9GHz CPU, NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1660 Ti video)

Wacom tablets, and ZBrush software, are installed on the following computers in the lab: yc, ruffles, dazzle, patty, eleanor, granny, and springer.

Installed Software

All of the computers in the Animation Lab are equipped with the following software packages, in addition to what is installed on other instructional-lab desktops:

  • Adobe Creative Cloud
  • Autodesk Maya 2023
  • Unity

To use the Adobe Creative Cloud applications, start up the application, and log in with your UWNetID credentials. You'll go through the UW 2FA procedure, and should select the "University" profile, not the "UW-IT" profile.

The Animation Lab's Renderfarm

The animation lab has a group of six machines, collectively called the "renderfarm" that can be used to render images, offloading that task from student desktops. The renderfarm management software is AWS Deadline, and their documentation for using the software can be found at this link.

Renderfarm Job Control via Maya

Users of the renderfarm will need to install two files into their own directory. This process is simple, and only needs to be done once.

  1. Download these two files - DeadlineMayaClient.mel and userSetup.mel.
  2. Copy the files into "This PC > Documents > maya > scripts" and if you already have a userSetup.mel file there, add the contents of this new version of userSetup.mel to the very end of the existing file.

After you've copied the files, start Maya 2023. You should see a new shelf named "Deadline" and a bright green icon on that shelf.(See screenshot below.)

File and Project Paths

All resources (textures, images, etc.) that are part of a shot must be place in an area that is available to all renderfarm clients. The paths to those resources in your Maya files must be formed in a platform-neutral and consistent manner.

The files that make up your shots must be located on the animation lab fileserver - antonia.cs.washington.edu in one of the following areas:

and the file paths to those resources - you set this in your Maya file - should look like this:
respectively. The destination folder for images and other resources generated on the renderfarm must also be located on one of the partitions on antonia.cs.washington.edu. This path syntax must be used consistently in your Maya files, and is independent of the renderfarm client's operating system.

Resources located on machines other than antonia.cs.washington.edu, including animation lab desktops, are not available to the renderfarm. In specific, paths which begin with Windows drive letters, such as the following:

will not work, and those paths must be corrected prior to rendering.

Additionally, please make sure your filenames do not contain spaces.

Using The Renderfarm

Job Submission

Submitting a job to the renderfarm can be done from within Maya, or from the "Submit > MayaSubmission" menu item in Deadline Monitor; the same submission dialog window appears, though doing so from within Maya will likely be simpler, as some things will be filled in about the job from Maya.

The job submission dialog in Maya is raised by selecting the bright green Deadline icon on the Deadline shelf, and the dialog looks like the following screenshot (click to view at full size, it's a large window).

At a minimum, the following items should be made specific to your job (select them, or type something into them):

  • Job Name (should be auto-filled)
  • Pool (select "animationlab")
  • Machine List (leave blank to use all available renderfarm clients)
  • Project Path (should be auto-filled)
  • Output Path (should be auto-filled)
  • under "Maya Build," check both "Use MayaBatch Plugin" and "Submit Maya Scene File"
  • Deadline Job Type (select "Maya Render Job")

Selecting the "Submit Job" starts the process of sending the job to the renderfarm. After the job has been submitted for processing, a smaller confirmation dialog box will appear.

At this point, switch to the Deadline Monitor program to monitor the job's progress.

Job Monitoring

Submitted, running, and completed jobs can be seen in the Deadline Monitor program. The icon for Deadline Monitor is located on your desktop, and the running application looks like the screenshot below.

There are three distinct areas in the Deadline Monitor: Jobs, Tasks, and Workers.

  • Jobs are the rendering tasks submitted by members of the Animation Lab to the renderfarm.
  • Tasks are the individual frames of a specific task.
  • Workers are the renderfarm clients, and show their pool membership and their state.

Jobs and tasks can be double-clicked upon to reveal additional information about, respectively, the job and task.