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RenderFarm?

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  • Timmy
    Hi All, I have been researching and participating in Full Dome for about a 2 years now and have been observing what it takes to put a Planetarium show together
    Message 1 of 6 , Sep 27, 2008
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      Hi All,

      I have been researching and participating in Full Dome for
      about a 2 years now and have been observing what it takes
      to put a Planetarium show together from scratch.

      I am currently taking my last classes @ University of Colorado,
      Denver for a BFA in VISUAL ARTS and I've been playing around with
      render farming and composition.

      Is anyone else is interested in composing and render farming?
      Also is there any projects that are currently being worked on in our
      community in this regard?

      Hope everyone is Stellar,

      tim-E
      Denver, Colorado
      303-478-8068
    • Jon Strawn
      We(ARTSLAB) are in the process of speccing out a render farm. We are not sure about any hardware yet, but we are looking for something that can be very
      Message 2 of 6 , Sep 29, 2008
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        We(ARTSLAB) are in the process of speccing out a render
        farm. We are not sure about any hardware yet, but we are
        looking for something that can be very versatile. We often
        render After Effects, Autodesk Maya, Sky-Skan's SVR, Digital
        Sky, and a handful of others. There have been proposals for
        us to use everything from RenderMan to Sunflow to you name
        it, but right now we're looking at what we need on a daily
        basis. We have been doing tests with a Mac Pro, as well as
        some tests with a local high performance computing center,
        but nothing really definitive so far. I guess what I'm
        saying is that we are looking for information as well, and
        we're trying to figure out how much we need to spend to meet
        our needs.
      • Ty Audronis
        Qube (by pipeline FX) has worked out pretty well for us on our render farm (render management software). It can manage any of the software you¹ve listed
        Message 3 of 6 , Sep 29, 2008
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          Qube (by pipeline FX) has worked out pretty well for us on our render farm
          (render management software). It can manage any of the software you¹ve
          listed below... You may want to check them out. (http://www.pipelinefx.com)

          Ty Audronis
          Audio / Video Editor
          Visualization Studio / Morrison Planetarium
          California Academy of Sciences

          415.379.5130 (ph)

          55 Music Concourse Drive
          Visualization Studio (B1C25)
          San Francisco, CA 94118-4503

          taudronis@...

          www.calacademy.org

          Now open in Golden Gate Park
        • Pete Carss
          Hello All, We just managed to get a Dell Blade Chassis plus two 8 core blades for 3 quid (sterling) - even without the introductory offer they are about the
          Message 4 of 6 , Sep 29, 2008
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            Hello All,

            We just managed to get a Dell Blade Chassis plus two 8 core blades for 3
            quid (sterling) - even without the introductory offer they are about the
            cheapest.

            We'll be using MentalRay satellite for Maya clients, and a modified
            version of Yafray + Bespoke renderfarm code for Blender 3D/Video work.
            Lately we've been playing with VTK which has been taking more
            computation time than the render, so VTK will be clustered on this
            machine too. This will be running Linux (not sure which flavour yet -
            -Ubu or Fedora probably)

            Just my three quid's worth...

            Pete
          • Ehren Addis
            From what you speak, I d stick with mental ray alongside whatever 3D app you use. It is certainly the cheapest as it s bundled with max/maya/softimage and
            Message 5 of 6 , Sep 29, 2008
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              From what you speak, I'd stick with mental ray alongside whatever 3D app
              you use. It is certainly the cheapest as it's bundled with
              max/maya/softimage and one of the most powerful. What you will need will be
              a render management app if you are using multiple apps at the same time with
              multiple users. Hence, an AE render will be queued in order with a maya/max
              render and not try launching at the same time.

              For the hardware, you may want to consider waiting for Itel's Nehalem chips
              to be released later this year. I personally feel Boxx Technologies makes
              the best units, though you pay for it. You could just as well build your
              own units to their same specs and just mail order the same parts if you
              wanted the most bang for the buck.

              If I recall, wasn't there an x-serve cluster there at the arts lab? Perhaps
              keep After Effects on a different system? Completely depends on what you
              want to accomplish. AE will depend more on the io speed then the multi-proc
              horsepower in contrast to a bucket renderer like MR.

              _____

              EHREN ADDIS
              Animator, VFX Artist

              SKYPARK
              ehren@...
              http://www.skypark.cc
              818.903.5895
            • Tom Casey
              On Sep 29, 2008, at 5:52 PM, Jon Strawn wrote: I guess what I m saying is that we are looking for information as well, and we re trying to figure out how much
              Message 6 of 6 , Sep 29, 2008
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                On Sep 29, 2008, at 5:52 PM, Jon Strawn wrote:

                I guess what I'm
                saying is that we are looking for information as well, and
                we're trying to figure out how much we need to spend to meet
                our needs.

                We run a render farm with a rack full of Macintosh Xserves... the 8-
                processor boxes are very fast and you can set up renders dividing up
                the processors for renders as needed. You never seem to have enough
                processors fro fulldome renders. Running Maya or Mental Ray you are
                going to need at least 8-12Gb of ram per Xserve. Don't forget
                storage. We use a RAID 5 array networked to the farm for secure
                storage... with weeks of rendering at times in the works, you don't
                want to take the chance of losing frames. You should keep your
                working files (scene data) on a RAID array as well.. if you have a
                large number of Xserves rendering to the RAID, the constant network
                activity will slow down opening and saving from your applications, so
                you may want a second array for daily needs. Apple has good
                monitoring tools for keeping watch on the Xserves. Heat is going to
                be an issue.

                You could set up similar farms with Windows or Linux... we went the
                Mac route because they tend to be more reliable long term... we've
                never had to reconfigure anything about the farm since we did the
                initial install... it just keeps running months at a time.

                Tom


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