I probably don’t need to sing the praises of Backburner, and the huge time saving benefits of an unlimited render farm. Therefore, this next tip is concerned with ensuring that all your texture maps are used correctly by the render nodes (machines you use as extra renderers) when a job is submitted to the Backburner service.
I have always relied on this simple tick box for numerous reasons, (outlined further on.) However the primary motive is to ensure that the paths are correct for the job. For instance, when crafting net-renders you only need one rogue map that has a local C: drive saved into its path location for the job to not complete. This is because the render machine will expect the map to be on its own C: drive, and not that of your creation machine. By submitting the maps to the render node machines we remove this potential problem. Many of you will undoubtedly produce test-renders on your local machine before submitting, to check there are no potential issues with the network job. However many of the potential network errors concerned with maps (like the aforementioned) will not be apparent until after submission time and you start receiving error messages.
Luckily these are easy to avoid using the following steps.
1. Setup a scene for network rendering as normal (Using the below ‘Net Render’ option.)
2. From here click the standard ‘Render’ button to open the specific net render options.
3. This will then open the below ‘Network Job Assignment’ box. From here we need to enable the ‘Include Maps’ toggle.
4. Now complete your normal settings and click ‘Submit’ to finish. On a side note, I will also enable the option above this (Initially Suspended) as this gives me some breathing space before the job starts. This allows me to asses the other jobs priorities in the queue and ensure all the machines are correctly chosen before any rendering starts.
As an added benefit this has the additional luxury of cutting down on network bandwidth, which can slow down processes when network rendering. This is because the maps do not need to travel each time it picks up a batch. As a result we ensure that all the maps are being used right from the submission. We also ensure that no strange errors occur when multiple machines try to grab the same map.
Don’t forget you can create an unlimited render farm using Backburner with just the one license of 3ds Max. If your not using Backburner for this, then I strongly recommend you start, as this remains one of the biggest benefits 3ds Max brings to the industries bottleneck of CG rendering. If you have never setup a render-farm or are unsure of the processes involved you should have a look at the two following documents. (Also included on your installation DVD or download)
You may also be interested in this guest blog article showing how you can use Backburner Monitor with an iPad. Click here to read it.