New UX for Rendering in Crowdrender

Crowdrender is now a render engine in Blender


For the longest time, our engine was hidden! Many people have often gotten confused by a somewhat bizarre decision by us devs to hide our engine.





Why this choice?


The old way had some advantages, it was fairly trivial to just have the render engine selection be what the user wanted to render with, say cycles, eevee, for example. Then the user just presses one button on our panel, and then the rendering is done in crowdrender. Its a very simple workflow that didn't require much of a change from the user's perspective, just press a different button.


We even introduced hotkeys for rendering in crowdrender to mimic pressing F12. After V0.2.8 we mapped ALT + F12 to render a still in Crowdrender.


What was wrong with this?


The main issue was that people were actually looking for a render engine in the drop down list. Despite our best efforts to hide the engine, we had numerous support tickets where people actually found the engine, and were puzzled why for one, it didn't work, and secondly why it was blank! Many of those tickets had the same pattern, user has selected the blank crowdrender engine, and now the render controls have disappeared, and F12 doesn't work.