RenderManager - RenderPal

Written by Sebastian Elsner on .

Introduction

This article will teach you how to successfully setup RenderPal with Nuke, so you can build your own Nuke farm quickly and easily. But first lets consider why you would or woudn't want to use RenderPal as your render manager.

 

Pro RenderPal:

  • works with lots of renderers, custom renderers can be created easily
  • works well with medium size render farms (~100 clients)
  • with the command-line submitter any program with a command line interface can be used
  • remote control the server from multiple workstations without locking
  • frame checking resubmits failed chunks
  • jobs are python scriptable
  • submitter scripts for nuke, maya, max, fusion and afx are included
  • inexpensive: site license is about 2000$, no maintainance/support costs
  • free licence for one server and three clients

 

Con RenderPal:

  • not really multi-platform: Server: Win, Clients: Win/(MacOS/Linux command line client only), Remote Controller: Win (can be used with Wine)
  • Mac and Linux client do nothave full functionality
  • Remote Controller gets slow on lots of jobs with lots of chunks

 

Features of the submitter script:

  • all in all quite basic
  • uses the old pre-5.2 GUI
  • need to provide lots of things manually:
  • cmd submitter path (first startup)
  • job name (could be updated depending on open script)
  • nodes to render have to be provided by typing their name (rather than simply selecting)
  • advanced features are not implemented (like automatic frame checking)
  • no feedback or monitoring within nuke (not possible)
  • settings are saved and restored for new submission
  • able to login with a specific user (not secure, password is displayed and saved in plain text)
  • able to submit every write node as a separate job
  • direct communication with server (pulling jobs and renderers, so no hardcoded pools)

 

Setting up your farm

Getting RenderPal to work with Nuke is very easy. It mostly works out of the box. The following introduction is faily high level and of course there can be problems. For both applications there is high quality documentation available. If you have issues always refer to the original documentation or ask on the RenderPal forum

To get you running quickly on the Windows plattform  follow these steps:

 

Prerequisites:

  • local vanilla Nuke installation
  • local vanilla RenderPal installation (including Client and Remote Controller)
  • remote vanilla RenderPal installation (Server only)

 

RenderPal configuration:

  • if not already running start the RenderPal Server
  • on your local workstation edit C:\Program Files\RenderPal V2\CmdRC\RpRcCmd.conf
  • provide the server IP or NetBios name of your RenderPal Server where it says:
1
ServerAddress =
  • start the Remote Controller and for the server address in the login window provide the netbios name or IP of the remote server. This is just to verify that we can connect to the server. If you can't, check the name/IP and turn off your firewall.
  • start the RenderPal Client
  • go to Tools > Options > Settings Tab and provide your server name or IP as broadcast address
  • the client should now show up as idle in the top of your remote controller, if not restart it
  • extract the submitter scripts downloaded from http://www.renderpal.com/d_renderpal.php
  • copy the contents of the \RpV2SubmitterScripts\nuke folder to a folder which is in your nuke plugin path
  • Follow the instructions in the readme.txt, which basically just tells you to edit a menu.py file, so you have a menu entry for the submitter script
  • Start nuke and you should see the new toolbar entry, create a nuke script with a write node and click the „Submit to RenderPal“ button
  • In the gui popping up select the RPRCCMD directory, which normally is: C:\Program Files\RenderPal V2\CmdRC\, provide a user name („User“ is always valid and has no password assigned), a job name, the name(s) of the write node(s) you want to render, the frame range and frame splitting type. Click „Get pools“ to retrieve the pool list (which defaults to „Default pool“)
  • Click OK to submit the job. It should now show up in the Remote Controllers queue and immediataly start to render. If you get errors select the job in the Controller, right click a Chunk and select “View chunk output log”. This is always a good starting point to trouble shoot.

 

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