RenderPal V2 offers a wide range of features, and below you will find a brief overview of some of its major features.
In RenderPal V2, the various jobs you want to render across your farm are called net jobs. Each net job consists of one or more chunks, which represent the separate pieces of the entire job that will be sent to the render nodes. At the core of every net job lies a so-called render set, which contains the scenes to render as well as various render settings.
RenderPal V2 offers a lot of options to define how these chunks should be created and dispatched: They can be split into individual frame ranges, image slices, cameras, render layers and so on. Dispatching options include selecting the pools and clients which should work on this job, how many chunks a client should render in parallel and the order in which these chunks should be rendered.
Control & Information
The main view of RenderPal V2 shows you your entire render farm at a glance, including the various pools, clients and net jobs. Everything can be controlled from here, from starting or stopping pools to cancelling a net job to prioritizing individual chunks. User-defined view filters can be used to limit the items shown.
All settings of an existing net job, from editing render settings like frame range or verbosity to changing its priority to changing splitting options, can be changed on-the-fly, even if the job is currently rendering; already rendered chunks will not be lost.
Many useful details about each net job are also available on the main view, including its chunks list, events and textual output of each chunk, small previews of the rendered images and useful statistics.
A render farm consists of the various rendering nodes, called clients, as well as the pools these clients are grouped together in. Clients can be added to more than one pool at a time, so you can easily lay out your farm in a meaningful way that suits your needs.
Pools are not just organizational units, they also offer numerous features on their own, including scheduling, several automation features and different chunk dispatching modes.
Since a render farm has to be manageable from any place, the RenderPal V2 suite includes the Remote Controller, which can be used to perform all tasks remotely. A comprehensive user management allows you to precisely define who is allowed to do what on your farm. A Web Interface is available as well.
Besides the RenderPal V2 Remote Controller, a Web Interface for remote farm management is available as well. The great benefit of the web interface is that no extra software needs to be installed, and that it can be accessed from all operating systems and different device types using a regular web browser.
The Web Interface is an integrated part of the RenderPal V2 Server; no separate web server is needed.
RenderPal V2 comes with support for numerous renderers out-of-the-box, including Maya, 3ds Max, Cinema 4D, Modo, After Effects and many more.
All default renderer interfaces (also simply called renderers) can be edited, and you can easily create your own ones as well. All this is done using a graphical editor, which allows you to define all aspects of a renderer interface, including the various render parameters you can later modify in the render set, how the resulting command-line should look like, paths for automated executable search and much more.
Even though you can further extend the functionality of a renderer interface by writing custom Python code, this is by no means needed. In other words, you can write your own one without any coding at all. There is also no need for editing any files by hand - everything is done using the comfortable editor.
A lot of things can happen in the lifetime of a net job. Renderings can hang or completely fail, or frames go missing. RenderPal V2 offers several features to handle such cases, including automated frame checking, job resubmission and error handling.
A render farm should never waste resources; clients should be shut down when not needed and only waked up if they are about to receive a job. RenderPal V2 takes over these tasks for you automatically, so that only as many clients are running at a time as needed.
If you want to install a RenderPal V2 update on your farm, there is no need to do so manually. Instead, simply add the update package to the RenderPal V2 Server and it will be deployed automatically to all clients and Remote Controllers. You can also execute programs remotely on the clients, which is useful to, for example, install other program updates or backup some files.
There are also many pipeline integration features available which allow you to further automate your farm.
Project files caching
Traditional render farms can severely suffer from large amounts of network traffic arising from project files that need to be loaded from a remote file server for each and every chunk of a job. As network bandwidth is a limited resource, this ultimately leads to increased overall rendering times, often wasting many hours just for loading these files.
RenderPal V2 can counteract this problem by caching project files locally on the clients before rendering. Instead of using files located on a remote server, the clients will use locally cached copies of the project files. This means that the files only have to be transferred once per jobinstead of once per chunk, resulting in a tremendous reduction of network traffic. This can decrease overall rendering times by up to 40% and more.
To fully utilize the available bandwidth and to lessen the burden on the remote file server, the project files caching system is peer-to-peer based, meaning that clients can not only get the necessary files from the file server but also from other clients which already have downloaded those files, leading to faster downloads.
The RenderPal V2 Submitter is a graphical utility to quickly submit new net jobs to the RenderPal V2 Server. It can be used as a stand-alone application, but is also used to submit jobs directly from within renderers and compositing applications.
Submitter scripts are currently available for 3ds Max, After Effects, Blender, Cinema 4D, Fusion, LightWave 3D, Maya, Modo, Nuke, SketchUp, Softimage and VRED.
The submitter allows you to edit all important settings for the net job to be created, including basic job and render settings, frame splitting and image slicing, pools and clients selection, frame checking and several others. It is available as a separate download and doesn't require any of the other RenderPal V2 components.
RenderPal V2 offers many features and tools for easy pipeline integration, so that you can seamlessly make RenderPal V2 part of your workflow.
Net job events allow you to execute arbitrary programs, system commands or even Python scripts on several events, like when a chunk has finished rendering. It is also possible to customize renderer interfaces by writing scripts in Python; this allows for extremely advanced renderers that can perform tasks beyond simple rendering.
Most pipelines make use of command-line driven tools, as they do not require any user interaction. The RenderPal V2 Console Remote Controller can be used to create new net jobs, perform data queries and control your farm in numerous ways, all via command-line.