Using the Render Farm On Campus in Boston

Longer or more complex 3D animations require more computing power than a single machine can provide.  A render farm serves to reduce the load by intelligently assigning rendering tasks to dedicated computers.

Preparing a Project for the Farm

The render farm cannot accept just any project, it needs to be organized in a specific way in order to maintain efficiency.  The farm will render your scene file exactly how it is, so in addition to these steps double check that your render settings are configured properly.

1. Make a copy of your entire project directory and rename the top level folder to “Lastname_Firstname.

2. Within the project directory go into the “images” folder and delete everything contained therein.

3. Within the project directory go into the “scenes” folder and delete everything except for the scene(s) that you will be rendering and anything those scenes rely on/reference, if applicable.

4. Connect to the “Rendering” server...

  • On Mac by double clicking the “Connect to Render” icon on the desktop.
  • On Windows by entering “\\\Courses\Render” in the Explorer address bar.

5. Copy the duplicated project directory into the root directory of the server.

Submitting a Job to the Farm

Note: If you are submitting outside of the EML but on-campus via eduroam, especially if you are using a Mac laptop/machine, you may want to use Muster's Web Portal ( instead.

Next, the farm needs some specific parameters about your project in order to being rendering.

1. Launch “Muster Console” and close out the update prompt should it appear.


2. In the top left corner select “Connect” and enter the following credentials:

  • Dispatcher address:
  • TCP port: 9881
  • Login: lab_user
  • Password: [leave blank]

3. Click “Connect.”


4. On the right side of the user interface in the “Submission panel” choose the renderer your project requires.

  • “Maya Sw” for Maya Software, under Version select "Default"
  • “Maya Arnold” for Arnold, and under Version select "Default"

5. Next, select the computers you will be rendering on.

  • Under Include Pool(s), select Pools > Render Farm.
  • Under Exclude Pool(s) select Pools > Desktops Clients

6. Next enter “Lastname_Firstname” in the “Name” field.


7. Scroll down within the “Submission panel” to find the tab corresponding to the renderer you chose in step 4.

8. Click the “...” for “Maya scene file name” to open a file browser.  Select the Maya scene file you placed on the server in the first section.

9. Ensure that the “Project directory” and “Frames destination” fields auto filled properly.  Fix any errors.

10. In the “Frames” field enter the range of frames to be rendered from the current scene file.

11. In the “Digits” field enter the number of digits in the frame number of your last frame.

  • For 0-9 frames → “1”
  • 10-99 frames → “2”
  • 100-999 frames → “3”
  • 1000-9999 frames → “4”
  • Come see a lab assistant if rendering more than 10,000 frames from a single scene.

12. At the bottom of the “Submission panel” click “Submit.”

Next Steps

The render farm is now processing your job.  It may be awhile before it begins as jobs are rendered in the order they were submitted.  

It is recommended that you check the first rendered frames in your projects images folder on the Bin, to ensure that the farm is indeed successfully rendering your frames and that the frames look correct. For example, are there any missing textures? If so, open your project from the Bin in Maya, set the current working project directory to the Bin version of your project, and check that all of your textures and file references are set relative to within your current project folder. As an example, this means you do not have any file paths that are looking for your hard-drive (i.e. "E:\My_Project\sourceimages\...").

Assuming all is working as expected, you can check the status of your job in the “Queue view.” Once your project has finished rendering the frames will be available in the “images” folder within your project directory on the render server.  Please remove your project directory from the server once your render jobs have finished.

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