Render Farm Build 37

DISCLAIMER: This is a continuing series detailing the painful story of a DIY render farm build.  It is terribly technics and
somewhat frustrating.  Those who are unprepared for such “entertainment” are advised to ignore these posts.

It’s still a wonder that the job script module pointed to /drqueue/tmp instead of /Volumes/drqueue/tmp – I may yet have to adjust the Python scripts that drive the script generators.  This manually adding “/Volumes/” to every job that’s run is a bit of a hassle.

The second Lux Test went through without a single hassle.  So it was on to the After Effects test.  The AEFX job script needed to be adjusted as the ENGINE_PATH was wrong – same as usual. I needed to trap out spaces in a name like “Adobe After Effects CC 2014”. I try left-handed strokes and it works fine, rendered as

/Applications/Adobe\ After\ Effects\ CC\ 2014/aerender

In no time at all drqman showed me that the slave was rendering 100 frames of an AEFX composition.  But what format was it rendering to? And why were there logs but no output?


When I checked the logs it showed me that I needed to know the exact comp name for the job script to execute properly.  Thus aerender was constantly checking the project, not finding the comp, and return an error in the log.   So it would report that it was rendering, even though no frames resulted.

I finally understood that Dr. Queue and the slaves had a very different idea of what it meant to say that a task was “finished” than I did.  If the paths were wrong, the salves certainly did “finish” their tasks, but they did not actually do them.  It’s also true that giving the slaves bad instructions to directories that had no materials in them was certainly my fault.

I opened After Effects on the slave. I also wanted to make sure that there were no overlapping plug-ins and no omissions. Then I set the comp name to something obvious without spaces.

When I went to run the job script again, the slave loaded immediately and began spitting out PSD files.  IDEAL!  I did not check resolution and color on them necessarily.  It’s likely that the PSDs follow the color depth of the original composition.  This is important to know for the future, if I do 10-bit color comps.

It did remind me that I must make up a copy script that is generic enough to copy all assets from the /tmp directory to the slaves.  I could insert that code into every job script for faster rendering time overall.  I am worried about my slow-ass network.

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