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Crowdrender v0.1.3 Adds Easier & Faster Network Rendering


Jamesy writes:

Ok, so let me first thank all of the blender community for taking part in the early access testing we're doing. Its been invaluable to us reaching this point. In return for all this cool engagement, we present, gratis, our third release to date of our network/distributed rendering addon for blender, here's the highlights and a download link ;)

So, What's new?

  • Full integration with Blender's compositor - simply open your file, connect your nodes, press render still/animation - all compositing is automatically added to the output just as it is with native cycles or blender internal engines
  • Optionally disable any render node - something we've been asked for! If you're working on a laptop but can connect to powerful workstations, you can go out into the garden and enjoy rendering with speed without cooking your laptop.
  • Custom render tile sizes - for those of you using the current 2.78/2.79 releases, you can now give each render node a custom render tile size to optimise the performance. This netted one user a 25% reduction in render time ontop of the boost they experienced using distributed rendering.
  • Load balancing that saves the performance data of each machine making it faster at optimising scenes after a restart.
  • Support for 2.79a RC and the 2.79 daily builds - try out new builds of 2.79 with distributed rendering
  • Better efficiency - we've reduced the bandwidth consumed when retrieving render tiles so this step is now faster and scales better to large numbers of nodes
  • Change camera settings like angle of view, fstop and sensor size in real time with no blender file upload

We've also fixed numerous bugs so you should experience a more stable experience when using the addon.

Get the software and try it yourself!

Lastly here's the download link and might I suggest you share this post on social media, it really helps us build a critical mass of users and encourages us to keep developing the addon, we've got tons more cool stuff to come, so if you'd like to help us bring this to blender, simply share what we do via social media and subscribe on our website, facebook page, youtube and twitter.

Happy rendering :D

About the Author


I'm a software engineer, I've worked on numerous technologies over the past 10 years. I started out working on full motion flight simulators and then worked with embedded systems. I now work on building an add-on to support rendering using multiple computers over internet/local networks. I started using blender in 2009 and have done small projects with it since then, however, crowd render, our network rendering add-on is by far the biggest adventure with Blender to date.


  1. If you used CrowdMaster for a project rendered by Crowdrender, would the power cause a hole in Planet Earth, or would it produce new worlds never imagined?

    I lean towards the latter scenario. But I'm ready to evacuate the planet, if necessary.

    • Hi Brian,
      Speaking from experience, we'd better start building some space ships...

      In all seriousness, I have used crowdmaster together with crowdrender. It does _work_, however expect time to slow down for an observer close to the project vs one not anywhere near it.

      The issue appears to be in that when blender gets a lot of objects in the scene that certain ui elements slow down. In particular the UI list which is what we use for displaying nodes. I've looked into this extensively and basically its blender's depsgraph system (as far as I can tell) that seems to be doing a lot of calculation in the background when anything in a UI list is change. I say this because with our addon disabled, the same file did the same thing with another ui list (in that experiement it was the list of materials on an object). So we've ruled out any of our code.

      Here are some tips to help you navigate the problem.

      1. if you load blender with crowdrender to use on a crowdmaster project, load the default scene first
      2. in the default scene, add and connect your render nodes using crowdrender.
      3. Load your crowdmaster based project. You might want to load it with "Load UI" unchecked.

      I mention that last one since with "Load UI" on the load time for my test project on a 2015 Macbook Pro (i5 CPU and 8GB RAM) the file load time was *ten* minutes, with it off it was more like 2 mins. Load ui rearranges the UI to match that last saved in the file, and includes messing with the ui elements that are slow.
      Of course if the UI layout is important to your project, you could just hit load and go get a coffee ;)


    • Hi Ricky, the license has all rights reserved, but the addon is free to use for anyone for either personal use or use in projects for which you charge your client for your art.

  2. Hi. I'm sorry if the following is stupid questions, but I am very very new to blender and 3d art and computer stuff in general. So my apologies if I sound dumb.

    Is Crowd Render a Bucket renderer, using multiple nodes to render chunks of the frame? Looked on the official website and didn't see an answer.

    I had been reading on the VRay forums as they have a distributed render capability and saw that DR is not made/optimized for rendering animation, just single frames. Is that the same case for Crowdrender?
    If Animations can be rendered with Crowdrender, what kind of render times are being seen? Say 3-5 minute short animation. How does it compare to the net work render addon included with blender? I have never used it, and fear too as it takes me 40 minutes to render a frame, and if I have 5 computers, each doing 1 frame at 40minutes that is still a huge amount of time.

    The reason I ask is, I am starting a personal project. I promised my little girl I would animate a story I made for her(That she enjoyed) and of all the aspects of the making of it, the rendering time is what is worrying me the most.

    Thank you for taking time to read my newb questions, and I look forward to your reply.

    • Hi Joshua, sorry for taking so long to reply, we've been super busy debugging/testing v014 which will be released soon!

      Is crowdrender a bucket render -> YES! but we've been asked to also develop a frame based distributed render mode, we're looking at that this year.

      Crowdrender can do animations, there are a ton of optimisations we could do, we're slowly making our way through them.

      If your render time is 40mins and you have five nodes, then you'll get roughly 8 mins a frame if all the computers are the same in processing power. If you need more processing power your only option with the current v013 release is to buy or borrow more computers. If this is not an option for you, you might want to consider joining our testing program. We are now releasing v014 to early access testers which can add AWS EC2 servers to your render jobs alongside your own hardware. This means you'll be able to add more render power as you need it and for one project you might be able to get away with maybe USD$20-30 to render the whole project if you use all your own machines as well. The actual cost would depend of course on how long you use the extra render nodes for.

      if that is something you'd like to try, let us know at info at crowdrender dot com dot au

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