Using the Render Farm for Maya

To expedite the rendering of large Maya projects, a server called Render distributes jobs among a group of computers known as the Render Farm. This guide will walk you through the process of submitting your Maya project to the rendering server from the computer labs.

Copying and Connecting

  1. Name your Maya project lastname_firstname.
  2. Confirm that your render settings (name, extension, duration, quality, etc.) are correct.
  3. If dynamics (rigid bodies, particles, cloth, hair, etc.) are present in your scene, be sure to cache these elements to ensure they behave as expected.
  4. Copy your project folder to the render server.
    • On Windows workstations, simply use the shortcut to Render on the desktop.
    • On Macintosh workstations, double-click on the Connect to Render application on the desktop. Enter your Emerson username and password and type emerson in the Domain field. When you click Connect, the Rendering volume will mount on the desktop.
    • Please note: Make sure to copy your project, not simply move it. Should you need to make any changes to your scene after copying it, make the changes on your hard drive first and then recopy the directory that was changed.
  5. Launch Maya and choose File > Set Project… to set the project to its new location on the Render server. Save this change.
  6. Launch Muster Console. This program is used to submit projects to the render server and to monitor these projects.
  7. Click the Connect button at the top left of the Muster window. In the dialog that appears, make sure the Dispatcher address field says, that the Login field says lab_user, and that the Password field is blank. Click Connect.

The Muster Console Interface

Before submitting your project (or job) to the Render Farm, you may wish to familiarize yourself with the Muster Console interface. The window is divided into four main sections: the Instances View, the Queue View, the Logs View, and the Submission Panel.

Instances View
Shows the status of the Render Farm machines.
Queue View
Shows the status of jobs sent to the Render Farm.
Logs View
Shows a history of events that occurred in the render server, including errors.
  Submission Panel
Where information pertaining to
a render job is entered--see the
instructions below.

Submitting Your Job

In the Muster Console Submission Panel, fill in the following information to submit your job:

  • Engine: Select Maya Sw for Maya Software or Maya Arnold for Arnold.
  • Job name: lastname_firstname
  • Include Pools/Hosts: Entire Farm
  • Packet size: This refers to the number of frames a node will render before reporting back to the server. Easily rendered jobs should be given a packet size of 10 to 20; complex jobs that will render slowly should be given a smaller packet size, between 4 and 8.
  • Project directory: Click the button to navigate to your project folder on Rendering*
  • Maya scene file: Click the button to navigate to your scene file on Rendering*
  • Frame destination: Click the button to navigate to your project’s images folder on Rendering*
    *Double-check these fields to ensure that they point to Rendering and NOT Rendering-1, Rendering-2, etc. Delete this extra hyphen and number, if necessary.
  • Set the Start Frame and End Frame for your render sequence.
  • By Frame will change the frequency of frames rendered: If set at 2, every other frame will render. If set at 3, every third frame will render (this is used to render jobs quickly to preview output).

Click Submit.

Monitoring Your Job

Once you’ve submitted your job, it will be added to the list in the Queue View section of Muster Console. The status of the job can easily be discerned by looking at the icon to the left of its name:

Muster green globe  A green globe means the job is queued up and waiting to be processed.

Muster yellow globe  A yellow globe means the job’s progress is paused. Right-click the job and select Resume to continue its progress.

Muster red globe  A red globe means the job has started rendering and is currently in progress.

Muster error icon  Your job is in progress but has encountered at least one error.

Muster job complete icon  Your job has completed rendering without any errors.

Muster job complete with error icon  Your job has completed rendering but has encountered at least one error.

While your job is in progress, the Progress column will display a bar showing the percentage of packets that have completed rendering so far.

When your job has completed rendering, you will find each frame rendered as an image file. These files will be found in the location designated in the frame destination field of the Submission Panel when you submitted the job. Typically, this will be the images folder found inside your project folder on the render server.


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