Forum Posts

James Crowther
Feb 05, 2020
In General Questions
Does the community get notifications about news posts like these? Our web provider promises that this works, but I am skeptical! Reply if you saw this post in a notification of some kind!
0
3
19
James Crowther
Aug 23, 2019
In Future Features
This is an open invitation to all our wonderful users to help us decide how to develop Crowdrender. We're working towards releasing a beta, but we need your help!! We'd like you to comment and vote on this thread, here's how. If you have used Crowdrender, and don't yet use it for your real projects, tell us what we need to do to make our software good enough for you to use for real work. Write a comment below that explains what features you need or problems you face that need to be worked on. If you see a comment that you agree with, like it and please also expand on it by replying to that comment. This helps us tell which issues are important to everyone! We'll use what you tell us to help us decide what to work on next. From now on, we'll be releasing frequently, with smaller updates so you can get what you need much faster. Thanks to everyone for taking part, we can't wait to see what you post :)
0
63
713
James Crowther
May 12, 2019
In Getting started
Ok, so if you login to your cloud account, you should now see that there is a new version available, v017. Documentation is now being updated (though 017 is very similar in function to 016 so the changes are minor) for this patch update. Here are some highlights of the new version (change log will be made available soon) Supports multiple scenes in blender Supports blender 2.80 beta - Fixed "grease_pencil" error and numerous other problems Improved stability - Fixed the "connected:" bug Now recognises when a render node is using a different version of crowdrender and warns with an exclamation mark next to the render node Fixed a bug where opening a new file could cause the client to hang, subtly breaking the addon in that the render nodes appeared as though they were connected, but would fail to do anything. Fixes a bug where the disable render button or tile sizes would not be acted upon, causing nodes that were disabled to render or to use the wrong tile sizes
0
3
231
James Crowther
May 16, 2018
In Getting started
If you're new to CrowdRender then you'll probably want to review our online documentation. Its pretty new and still a work in progress, but we've covered the basics of using the system with Blender. If you still need help then feel free to post in this forum :) Link to docs -> Documentation
0
2
3k
James Crowther
Aug 07, 2017
In Bugs - Archived
We've now enabled you, the adventurous user, to report issues directly into our development system. Head to the "Report a Problem" page to check it out. The development tracker offers a much better way to tell us about problems as it automatically creates a tracked issue in our development system. You can also upload your logs, blend files and any other helpful information required to reproduce the problem as part of the report. Use the "Report a Problem" page for both bugs, and ideas or suggestions for improvement or where you think there might be a missing feature or a badly designed feature (like one that creates more work/problems than it solves to use it :P). We're still encouraging you to ask questions in this forum. For example, where you might want to clarify whether a problem you have is a problem with crowdrender, or with Blender or .... something else before you report your problem as a bug ;)
0
0
199
James Crowther
Feb 16, 2017
In Bugs - Archived
Fixed as of 0.1.1.a Description The address shown in "Network Connections" is either "??" or is not the correct address for the machine you are working on. The cause of this is having more than one segment to your computer's fully qualified domain name as given when you run the following command in the python console area of blender; "import socket" "socket.getfqdn()" Workaround If possible re-configure the network so that your host name as given by the above command doesn't have multiple segments. If that sounds like crazy talk to you, then perhaps wait for the update, its only going to be a week! When will it get fixed? Next release date will be the 24th of February, we'll be issuing an incremental update to the recently released 0.1.1
0
1
121
James Crowther
Feb 13, 2017
In Getting started
Ok, so blender 2.78b came out a few days ago, rest assured we're testing this asap. In theory there shouldn't be enough of a difference between 2.78a and 2.78b to cause any issues. I'll update this post once we've made sure that theory is actually the truth! :)
0
4
160
James Crowther
Feb 08, 2017
In Bugs - Archived
What is the problem? MacOS has a security feature called Gatekeeper. We noticed that it kept stopping crowdrender from working, period. The reason is that when you download Blender, and then extract Blender's files, it is marked by your operating system as to be put in quarantine. This has now been fixed in the pre-release version of 0.1.2. Installing this version (e-mail us for a copy if you are happy to test it :) ) will fix this issue. What OS versions are affected? As far as we can tell, every version of Sierra is affected, we've tested from 12.1.0 up to 12.1.2. Its possible El Capitan is affected but we did not test this explicitly and we haven't rolled back to check this yet. How can I tell I have this problem? Crowdrender would not connect to other machines. To verify if you have this issue, open blender and then choose the scripting screen layout from the menu at the top of the screen. Then enter the following command: bpy.utils.script_paths() You will see a result similar to below, note the unusual path for blender's script paths: /private/var/folders/h8/*some_long_hexadecimal_number/T/AppTranslocation/*more_long_hexythings*/d/blender.app The blender.app is what you requested to run when you opened blender, so why is it running in some weird folder? Welcome to quarantine, if you see this result (especially the "AppTranslocation" words in the paths) you have just confirmed gatekeeper has quarantined blender. Can it be fixed and if so how? If you are comfortable using terminal and typing some commands, you can permanently un-quarantine blender. Here's how to do it. Open terminal from launchpad>utilities You'll need to cd (command to change directory) to where you unzipped blender. On my machine I put the unzipped blender in my downloads folder. You can see below that I first used the cd command to get to my downloads folder. In the image above, I used the "ls" command to show the files in my downloads folder and I can see that the unzipped blender is there. I then use cd again to enter my blender's folder (and wish that I had renamed it so it didn't have the date and time of extraction). Now I can use the xattr command to see if the OS has marked blender as quarantined. xattr shows the execution attributes for blender.app (that is the icon you click on to launch blender). You can see that it has one attribute: com.apple.quarantine. We can remove this with one command and blender will now run from the location you unzipped it and crowdrender will work! The command to run is xattr -d -r com.apple.quarantine blender.app (see above). This tells the OS to delete (-d) the com.apple.quarantine attribute from blender.app and to do this recursively (-r) throughout the blender package. Now try running blender again. In blender, once again, open the scripting screen by using the drop down menu at the top of the user interface and then type: bpy.utils.script_paths() You should see that blender is now referring to the location where you unzipped it rather than the weird location before we removed the com.apple.quarantine attribute. This means that crowdrender will now (hopefully) work. Note, now you have removed this attribute, it will not come back again for this particular copy of blender, but if you download a new copy of blender and attempt to use it, it most certainly will happen again. At this time, we're not sure if this is an issue with blender or gatekeeper. Either way it doesn't look like placing blender in quarantine is intentional by either of those parties, its likely that no one has realised yet since it really doesn't affect blender, only poor old us!
FIXED!  MacOS - Gatekeeper breaks Crowdrender  content media
0
0
413
James Crowther
Feb 06, 2017
In Future Features
Problem/Use Case For larger projects it starts to make sense to use multiple files to build a scene, especially for projects where there are more than one artist working on the project. Since blender its self does not have version control, having one blend file with all the assets of the scene shared amongst artists is risky, conflicts can easily occur. The problem for crowdrender is that the alpha currently only manages the blend file the user has open. One file per session. This obviously presents a problem for use with larger and more complex projects. Proposal The proposal is to manage all dependencies of a blend file, that is all files that the blend file needs in order to render the scene correctly as it would be on a single machine without using crowdrender. Not that there is a workaround for this see here. This would mean artists would be able to link, append and edit external files all the while crowdrender would manage these events, ensuring that the attached second machine is ready to render the scene.
0
0
51
James Crowther
Feb 06, 2017
In Getting started
Scope Currently the crowdrender alpha supports rendering files that only refer to data that is locally available. What does that mean? It means that all the data needed to render your scene needs to be in the blend file you are working on. There is a workaround for those of you who desperately need to render using crowdrender and have references to external files, we'll cover this in detail below. However, for simplicity, crowdrender expects your scene data to be in the blend file you currently have open. You can work with external files in some cases, with texture files for example. You can use the "pack into blend file" option that will save the textures as part of the blend file. Watch your file sizes grow accordingly though. This data will be transferred to your second machine. For files that cannot be packed into the blend file you are wanting to render, you will need to use the workaround below: Workaround Lets go over the basics of what we're doing here before the steps you'll need to carry out, if you are a pro read ahead to the method. Blender is quite nifty in that it will allow you to include a range of external files in your scene that can form part of the final rendered image, textures are one, other blend files with models in them are another (there are a ton of good tutorials out there you should probably watch if you haven't already regarding good structures for projects). The problem is that not all of these files can be packed into the blend file and if you need to keep files external (if you are editing them externally) this is a problem for crowdrender. Our addon (in its alpha version) only transfers the blend file you are working on, not its dependencies (all the files you refer to in your scene). For example, if you have a scene of a room and you have other blend files containing furniture for the room, this is a problem you'll need to solve with the workaround. This workaround assumes you will not be editing your external files and you are ready to do final tweaking and rendering, not remodeling or re-texturing. Methodology For this method to work, you will need to have made sure that you use relative paths for all your external files. The reason for this is that you are about to copy those external files to your second machine. As a result, the paths need to be relative so that on the second machine crowdrender can find them relative to the copy of your blend file it will transfer to that second machine. When you open a project with crowdrender enabled and connect to the second machine, a special folder is generated to hold the blend file and rendered images. This folder is where the external files will need to go. Recommended Project Structure By project we of course refer to your blend file that you wish to render and all of its dependencies, files it needs to render the scene. Here is an example of a good project structure. The scene is a room with some furniture in it. /project_directory/my_room.blend /project_directory/textures/wood.png /project_directory/textures/carpet.png /project_directory/textures/wall_paper.png /project_directory/furniture/chair.blend /project_directory/furniture/table.blend /project_directory/furniture/carpet.blend The blend file that is rendered is my_room.blend and it uses the other files to do this, it needs the models and textures from the other files to render the scene. Please follow this structure and use relative paths for this workaround to be successful. You need the blend file that renders at the root directory of the project. It gets very messy otherwise and makes life hard for you if you have this blend file in a sub-directory of the project directory. Copy your external files to the second machine Back to the workaround. Since crowdrender is only going to transfer my_room.blend to the second machine, how can this work? The second machine won't be able to complete the render... unless you manually transfer the other files. This is where the special directory comes in. If you can find that directory, you can simply copy the files into this directory and then restart crowdrender and connect and you will be able to render. Here's how to do it, step by step. 1. Open blender on both your working machine and second machine, make sure they're connected to the same network. 2. On your working machine, open the file you want to render, enable crowdrender and connect to the second machine. This will of course only transfer the blend file you want to render, its necessary since it ensures that the special directory will be created. 3. On your working machine, in blender, at the top of the UI, set the screen to be "Scripting". 4. In the python console that appears, type the command you see in the image below which is "C.scene.crowd_render.session_uuid" and note the hexadecimal string, this is the name of your special directory for this blend file you want to render. 5. Copy the external files of your project to a USB stick and take them to your second machine. 6. Search for a folder which has the name of the session_uuid you just found in step 4. It should be on a path like "*user_directory*/cr/server/*session_uuid*". 7. Copy the external files here. 8. Restart Blender and crowdrender and then open your project, enable crowdrender and connect to the machine you copied the files to. 9. Render! Vote up external file support After spending what seemed like a very long time writing this workaround, the feature to automatically manage all this for you is definitely getting my vote! We're currently working on a version that will detect and manage your external dependencies so you don't have to worry about them. If you link, append, do simulations or have textures you don't want to pack since you wish to continue editing them, this feature will enable you to use crowdrender concurrently in your workflow, no problems! Read about and vote for this feature here.
Limitations - External Files content media
0
0
218
James Crowther
Feb 03, 2017
In General Questions
Simply respect other people, do to them what you would have them do to you. Also any account that posts spam will be blocked and all posts containing spam will be deleted. If this happens to your account (and it genuinely wasn't you) consider changing your password and then contact us at info at crowdrender dot com dot au to request your account to be unblocked.
0
0
110
James Crowther
Feb 03, 2017
In Bugs - Archived
Simply respect other people, do to them what you would have them do to you.
0
0
41
James Crowther
Feb 03, 2017
In Future Features
Simply respect other people, do to them what you would have them do to you. Also any account that posts spam gets blocked instantly and posts deleted. To get your account unblocked, you can simply send us an e-mail to our info at crowdrender dot com dot au address.
0
0
54
James Crowther
Feb 03, 2017
In Getting started
Simply respect other people, do to them what you would have them do to you. This forum is about helping others setup render farms and accelerate rendering, if you post spam that is unrelated you will get banned.
0
0
146
James Crowther
Feb 03, 2017
In Future Features
Problem or Use Case The safe assumption for the reliability of nodes on a network, is that they aren't, especially true for the internet, and not untrue for local networks either, espcially wifi where interference, walking to far from the acces point and people tripping out the power (or over the power cable) can kill the network or individual nodes. Crowdrender doesn't yet have a complete solution for checking if nodes are still online and responding. It will detect if a node is late reporting that it has received a streamed edit and will not render using that node until it has reported it is synchronised, so there is some work in this direction already done. However, if a long render job, especially an animation, was launched and a node or many nodes went down, this would likely hang the system. So we need a way to circumvent this, here is where better node management comes in. Proposed feature Node would be assumed to be unreliable, this means that any command given to a node is expected to have failed unless there is evidence to prove otherwise. This assumption, when properly implemented, will ensure that we can take appropriate action to mitigate stalls to renders and performance loss. For example if a node doesn't respond in time to a call to render, we can give its job to another node and black list it for the rest of the job. This means that going to bed with a large render job in progress isn't quite so nerve racking :)
0
0
45
James Crowther
Feb 03, 2017
In Future Features
Problem or Use Case Currently the scheme used to divide the frame between machines only takes into account the relative power of the computers taking part in the render. This can have the effect of reducing performance when a scene has complexity only in one part of the screen. The image below shows this situation. In this scene, where two computers with similar performance (cores in our case) render this scene, one machine will end up with a much higher workload since it will render most (if not all) of the planet with the othe machine only rendering the background. Proposed Solution Take account of the contents of the scene to ensure a balanced load between all machines on every frame. This will give maximum performance regardless of how the scene is composed.
CR-156 Better Frame Splitting content media
1
6
135
James Crowther
Feb 02, 2017
In Future Features
Problem or use case Currenlty only a subset of the render settings are streamed to the second machine. Where there is a need to update all machines with render settings that are not streamed, a "manual resync" is required. This is not optimal for large file sizes. Proposed fix Enable all render settings to be streamed, allowing all render settings to be updated on all machines in real time, avoiding the need to upload files.
1
0
33
James Crowther
Feb 02, 2017
In General Questions
If you have questions that aren't related to a bug, learning about how to use crowdrender or future features, this is the area to do come to. Your questions are always welcome!
0
0
119
James Crowther
Feb 02, 2017
In Bugs - Archived
Description When cancelling a render, the background render tasks do not terminate, but rather they complete the render. Whilst this isn't so much of an issue for quick render tests, we have trialled complicated scenes that can take a couple of hours or longer to render per frame. This issue here is stopping the background processes immediately. Please note for animations this is less of a concern since once the background processes finish after cancelling, no further frames will render and cancel works as expected. Workaround Should your frames take a long time to render and you wish to cancel, you can use task manager (windows) or activity monitor (mac) to locate the background render tasks on your two machines and end the processes manually. This has no bad effects on crowdrender, however remember to cancel the render using esc first and then stop the processes. You can tell which ones are rendering since their CPU usage will be pretty high! When will it get fixed? This bug is in the next sprint so it should be a couple of months away. Vote up with a like on this post if you think its critical and comment below if you have noticed anything related to this you think needs addressing in the same issue.
3
1
59
James Crowther
Feb 02, 2017
In Future Features
At the moment, compositing is only supported where you wish to simply render your final still, or animation. Crowdrender in this use case works fine, apart from the limitation described here of course! You can setup your compositing nodes, turn on crowdrender, render the frames you want and they will appear in blender composited for you, provided you have the post-processor option for composting enabled. What we mean by full support is where frames rendered using our system can be then run through the compositor just as you normally would and you can tweak the final result in the node editor. Frames are rendered on other machines, but not compositied in this case. They are made available to the compositor for you to tweak. This doesn't happen with crowdrender right now due to a bug or perhaps design limitation in blender (hoping I don't get shot down on that one) which is documented here. The problem is that blender in its current build will not allow a multilayer exr file to be loaded as a render result. Because of this, we use a single OpenEXR file to load the pixel data into blender. But this single OpenEXR format only supports one pass which is the combined pass. You will not be able to use separate passes in the compositor in this way. This feature is a fix for this problem, so why is it not in the bugs section? Well, the problem really isn't in our code. Blender can produce an OpenEXR multi file that you can load into the compositor as an image, and you can use the multiple passes just as you would a render result ( a non-crowdrender one!). However, that same file cannot be loaded as a render result, it will fail to load. So we are building an extra component to our software (which is why we think of this a feature not a bug with our code) to allow us to combine tiles from multiple machines and still provide a way to work with them in the compositor.
0
0
63

James Crowther

Admin
More actions