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Piovra Renderfarm Project Updated

17

pyovra_splash.pngBlender is no stranger to the world of distributive rendering.  There are several simple python scripts as well as Dr. Queue that can do the job for Blender (here's the Windows user manual for Dr. Queue by the Rovorm team).  But one has been silent for the past 2 years... until now.

Pier.py writes:

After 2 years the Piovra team releases a new version of the "Italian Renderfarm" script. In those last years we used Piovra adding and removing code, functions, options and naturally fixing bugs.

A short change log:

Added some features in piovramaster and piovraserver python scripts, now piovramaster shows:
- Elapsed Time
- Remaining Time
- Avarage time per frame
and some other statistics at the end of the render process, like Avarage time per frame, and number/percentage of rendered frame, for all the singles slaves.

Other little improvements and fixes aroud the commands:
- "piovramaster -exec / -execall" commands now support also command with multiples arguments
- "piovramaster -stopall" (fixed a bug)
- "piovramaster -recv / -recvall" now deletes the received files from the nodes (usefull for the slaves with a small hard-disk), making Piovra faster and cleaner to use
- new "piovramaster -stop [hostname or hostip]" that stop a slave without deleting it from the slave's list, so you can receive files or run command on that slave without the need to add it a second time to the slave's list.

"The Piovra Project" is hosted at here or you can find the same files here.

In the Download page there's the zip archive containing the scripts, the manuals and the installer for Linux and Mac. If You are using Windows, and you don't know how to do, install first the old version (1.02) with the windows installer (.exe). At the end of this installation replace the directory PiovraPyScripts with the new one You can find in the zip archive.

The zip comes with a manual, so you won't have to go searching for install instructions.  Let's hope that the Piovra team keeps on top of the project, since with Blender being used for larger and larger projects, the ability to set up a renderfarm is vital!

About Author

Eugene

Just a guy really into 3D, especially where Blender is concerned.

17 Comments

  1. the only problem is that you can only use distributed rendering for animations (but that is a problem of blender). I always like to hear about someone working for distributed rendering, though. Thanks, Piovra-team!

  2. What is so bad about distributed rendering? What is the alternative?
    Don't get me wrong, I'm just interested (if my question sounds aggressive)

  3. @qwequ777
    You are right, in most cases you can only distribute frames to different slaves. Though there is one renderfarm that can do bucket rendering for Blender (pieces of a single image). I am going to post about it tomorrow.

    @elcazze
    I'm sure you can get people into fights about when someone should and should not use distributed rendering, but the main points are:
    1) You need several CPU slaves to get a benefit.
    2) It's probably better for large scale projects that have lots of detail.
    3) If you have numbers 1 and 2, you can get a final product way faster than if you did it on a single machine.

    As for alternatives to distributed rendering, the only alternative is to render on a single multi-threaded machine so the images are rendered faster by using the available cores.

  4. Thanks for this detailed explanation, Eugene.

    One more question:
    is it possible to render with 2 PCs at the same time?
    As far as I know one machine must spread the files and provide it for the other PC (this is of interest for me because I only have 2 PCs)
    I think there is a script which can do this (http://blenderartists.org/forum/showthread.php?t=64662)
    but it would be nevertheless nice to have such a comfortable solution like piovra!

  5. I intend to pack a bunch of old pc's together sometime and make myself a small renderfarm then. It's easy to get old pc's this kind of stuff is very interessting to me. I will be following these kind of projects for later use.

  6. There are many blender python scripts for distributed rendering, both frame based and bucket rendering.
    Bucket rendering (a.k.a. tile-based rendering or. Chunk rendering) will allow you to render a single frame faster if it is complex enough to offsett the transfer time for files and startup time of the renderer (blender).

    Farmerjoe is one that I wrote (lobo_nz), does both frame based and bucket rendering,
    I wrote it after trying every distributed rendering system I could get my hands on but nothing handled it quite the way I wanted.
    Thread:
    http://blenderartists.org/forum/showthread.php?t=76247
    Site:
    http://blender.formworks.co.nz

    Also for a completely different approach there is Netblend by quorn
    Thread:
    http://blenderartists.org/forum/showthread.php?t=78117&highlight=netblend
    Site:
    http://sourceforge.net/projects/netblend

    And Blenderfarm by ideasman:
    http://blenderartists.org/forum/showthread.php?t=55594&highlight=blenderfarm
    not really maintained but yet another approach to distributed rendering with blender.

    or you can always build an open mosix cluster, there are some scripts Ive seen for handling this too and running multiple blender processes that get distributed.

    I am keen to try out piovra again and see if I can get it to work, last time I had trouble with python gui modules.

  7. Too bad instinctive-blender's network renderer never got ported to official CVS. From the various docs I've read, it was *really* far easier to set up than the others - and especially easier to use ;) (Just needed a shared drive among all computers, activate "Render daemon", and press ANIM. But oh well)

  8. Do it yourself DR's fun but why not just use http://www.respower.com with a incrediblely cheap subscription service (doesn't auto renew) and use their DR and split frame rendering for blender? ($10 a month is cheap isn't it, for 700+ machines and upto use of 100 for split frame?) just what a headache you'd have running anwhere near that amount of power in your bedroom, garage or basement and what about you're power bill!

  9. $10 dollars? To the best of my knowledge ResPower is $20 a month for their cheapest (15 mins per frame time limit) Blender offer. This is still insanely cheap, and it's a great service, but I just wanted to clarify that price. If you are sure about the $10 dollars thing, please post a link to that specific offer.

  10. sorry $20 15mins frame bronze service.

    mike pan: no limit and that's for commercial projects as well as personal.

    as already said, insanely cheap and the web front end to the whole system is excellent. Support is very good (email) also even at this rate.

    You really have to question why bother with DR scripts, pulling hair out over DRQueue etc and all the other overheads of running your own setup.

  11. thanks lobo!

    5to11: what about the web transfer? I don't want to download gigs of data if I can render my things with acceptable speed on my two machines with each 4GHz and gigs of ram?
    I think for this purpose a script or application for personal renderfarms is really a good deal!

  12. There is another source of hardware for a render farm if you have a willing party.

    Your boss.

    If you work for a company that has a good number of computers, chances are good thay're not doing anything on the overnight shift. If you can get permission from your boss, you set them up as a renderfarm so they can crank for you on the graveyard shift. You'll need to instruct the regular users on how to kill it when they show up in the morning so they can then proceed to do their regular activities (you know, like surfing the 'net). After all, it's their workstations.

    Still, if this is a viable option for you, it's a great way to get your paws on what could be an army of machines, depending on the size of the company.

  13. maybe someone can send me an email how to render on two PCs at the same time? That would be so cool, plz send a PM to my account on blenderartists forum, my nick there is "neablo"

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