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BitWrk - distributed rendering for Blender


Jonas Eschenburg writes:

Dear fellow blenderheads,

I would like to announce the release of BitWrk 0.6.2 and I will use this opportunity to introduce you to the wonderful world of BitWrk rendering.

BitWrk is a distributed rendering service for Blender. It comes with a client executable and a Python add-on that integrates directly into Blender as a render engine. While other rendering services require you to upload the project as a ZIP file, the Blender add-on automates this work for you, making BitWrk rendering almost as simple as pressing F12.

By dividing an image into tiles, BitWrk is able to accelerate rendering of stills as well as animations. Tiles are rendered by a swarm of computers in parallel. As BitWrk is a peer-to-peer service, you can switch sides and be a part of this swarm, too.

Other peer-to-peer rendering services require you to earn credits in order to get your projects rendered. In BitWrk, credits are replaced by Bitcoin, the Internet currency. You buy a very small amount of Bitcoin, deposit it on your BitWrk account and set a maximum price you're willing to pay for having a tile rendered. Swarm computers set a minimum price for which they accept the job of rendering a tile. Sounds familiar? That's also how a stock exchange works.

"Do I need money to try BitWrk?"

No, BitWrk is still too small to really work as a marketplace. That's why there are several computers providing rendering for FREE, 24/7. Just set a maximum price of BTC 0 for your rendering jobs.

This is the second bugfix release to BitWrk 0.6.0 "Mars" which was released in April this year and concentrated on making BitWrk easier to use in Blender. It also brought support for local (on your own computer) and private network (LAN) rendering, exclusively or in addition to peer-to-peer.

If you would like to try BitWrk, visit it on and download the Windows, Mac OS or Linux version. BitWrk supports Blender 2.78 and the Cycles rendering engine.

BitWrk is a community project. Its source code is GPL'ed and available on GitHub. Please help BitWrk by testing it, using it, talking about it and by following @bitwrk on Twitter. Your feedback, comments and criticism are very welcome! You might even consider providing some rendering power to the swarm.

Have fun and render on!

About Author

Jonas Eschenburg

I am a software developer working for KUKA in Augsburg, Germany. When I'm not taming robots, I work on BitWrk, a Bitcoin-fueled peer-to-peer distributed rendering service for Blender. While my skills as an artist are rather humble, for more than ten years Blender has been my tool of choice when it comes to 3D work.


  1. Great stuff Jonas.

    I really like this model for distributed rendering. I'm surprised a similar solution hasn't emerged earlier.

    I really hope this gains traction and you see some gains for your hard work!

    • You heard something about bitcoins - oh wait. Wasn't this connected with wannacry?
      This was very evil shit! Hmmm - Bitcoin must be evil, too.

      Be careful with ur dollars, euros whatever. They are buying weapons with that to kill people. Be careful when spending some bucks for sweets.

      • I know that, but dollar, euro etc. are better. Why? Do you know who CONTROLS Bitcoin? Don't tell me nobody does as that's demagogy. Every currency is controlled. Who decides the exchange rate, like say 1:10 today but 1:2000 tomorrow? Do you know the name of the bitcoin creator? If BTC is ok WHY is this person anonymous? And bitcoin transactions are hard to trace. If THAT is not shady enough to you... You should be careful.

        • Everybody controls Bitcoin–it is a peer-to-peer system with all transactions recorded in ledger that is stored on many different network nodes.

          Also, from Wikipedia:
          "A novel solution accomplishes this without any trusted central authority"

          Finally, to my knowledge, anonymity is the point of Bitcoins.

        • >Who decides the exchange rate, like say 1:10 today but 1:2000 tomorrow?

          The people that buy and sell it, aka, the users. Isnt the same way with dollars?

          >Do you know the name of the bitcoin creator?

          Its open source, you can donwload all the code to review by yourself. It doesnt matter who coded. There's a software called Blender that I also couldnt name all the people that coded for it.

          >If BTC is ok WHY is this person anonymous?

          It could be lots of reasons... I use "groudas", you use "LUKASZ" and most of us dont have a reason to reveal identities online. Bitcoin is not a one person project, theres no reason to do it. Of course, this is just one of the reasons.

          >bitcoin transactions are hard to trace.

          Do you think its easy to trace fiat money transactions? Today, billions of dollars are/will be washed. Just today. And 99% of this money will never be traced because its difficult.

    • Bitcoin is a widely-used, anonymous digital payment system. It is not ransomware.

      You are correct that it is important to be careful with these kind of things. In this case though, I can't see that there is anything to worry about.

      P.S. I'm not an expert on bitcoin and how it works, I'm just sharing what I know

  2. Thank you Jonas, this sounds great!
    Unfortunately the Blender addon is not installing :(
    From this page:, I clicked on the Latest Release link called " v0.6.2", then from its page here: I clicked on the upper right corner the green button "Clone and Download", I chose "Download ZIP".
    Then from the Blender User Preferences window I clicked on "Install from file..." and chose the "" I had earlier downloaded. I did a search using the letters "bit", and ... nothing. What am I missing?
    In case there was something odd with the ZIP downloaded I created a new one from the extracted results. But still nothing happens.
    Any ideas?
    Thanks a bunch :)
    P.S. I would have left a message at either place, your website or the GitHub site page but I didn't see any way available.

  3. Amazing idea ! But these peer to peer rendering services worry me about having access to my hardware, Is there a risk opening op my network to malicious users ?

    • Yes, it's true, we have to be careful a little. That's why BitWrk currently prevents selling for workers started in Blender. BitWrk doesn't execute Python scripts on the seller's computer, so that big source of problems is solved. I still recommend using a dedicated user account for selling. It might also be possible using software containers, e.g. based on Docker.

      • So for now its 100% till you give people the ability to charge ? or am i able to set my PC up[ as a worker and start earning ?

        • You may charge whatever you think is a fair price! At the moment, there aren't many participants who buy BitWrk rendering for > 0 BTC. So don't expect to earn too much. And maybe gain some confidence first, by experimenting with rendering for 0 BTC.

      • I get this error, it still renders but i get this error,
        Also I find the higher i set the boost factor the slower it renders. I Figured having a higher number of Tiles + higher boost factor the better the render time.

        also for now it seems to be faster to render locally, could be a bandwidth issue my side but i will keep investigating.

        would be great if i could see where the bottleneck is coming from?

        • The boost factor will make tiles smaller. If the swarm can't keep up with the number of tiles (at the moment there are only a handful of computers), then per-tile overhead will start to slow down rendering.

  4. Stephen T. Clark on

    What hardware requirements are necessary for registering one's machine? Is the batch render in CPU or GPU, or do you get to specify?

    • It has to be fast enough to render one tile in about seven minutes. For the 512M tile size, that's not very demanding. My 2011 Mac Book is still fast enough. A fast internet connection is important.

  5. "It also brought support for local (on your own computer) and private network (LAN) rendering ". All the bitcoin stuff is no interest to me, but if this addon will effectively provide local network rendering that actually works (unlike Blender's unreliable black frames) then I'll definitely give it a try!

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