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FAQ

Maya Redshift

Maya Redshift

1. Download and install

Log in to Web Manager (web dashboard) at https://app.garagefarm.net and download our renderBeamer app for your operating system.

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Web Manager downloads panel

Install the renderBeamer app and start it. Once renderBeamer is done with the installation process, you need to choose the default download directory. This path will be used as the main output place for all your renders. Next, just log in using the account ID you received or your account email. Please keep in mind that the app should always be running in the background whenever uploading a project or downloading rendered frames.

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renderBeamer startup windows - default download directory on the left, and login panel on the right

Once renderBeamer is installed and you’re logged in, you’ll see the Plugins panel. Plugins installation panel should automatically open after the first renderBeamer startup. You can also open it anytime you need to install additional plugins for your 3D apps.

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renderBeamer 3D app plugins installation panel

Note

Please keep in mind that each 3D app (DCC) you use needs to have a plugin installed to properly connect to and render on our farm. 

2. Prepare the scene

Open your scene in Maya and prepare it for rendering on a render farm.

  • Supported versions of Maya - 2014 and above.
  • Scene files should be saved in .ma or .mb format
  • Output – should be set the same way as when rendering on your local machine. We support  most of Maya output formats. Please keep in mind that we render to frames – not animations – so any kind of animated output formats like .mov are not supported.
  • To upload your scene, you should have it prepared in the correct project directory structure, and the scene file should be in the folder named: scenes. Information on how to properly Set a project in Maya you can find here: https://knowledge.autodesk.com/support/maya/learn-explore/caas/CloudHelp/cloudhelp/2020/ENU/Maya-ManagingScenes/files/GUID-D5CA162A-0956-49C6-9FAC-2F73DCF03409-htm.html 
  • Please make sure you have selected a renderable camera that is not named the same as the default ones:  persp, sideShape, topShape, frontShape, perspShape etc.
  • In the Cammon setting, it is best to tick on the Animation and put the range of frames you need to render. In the case of a single frame, please enter the same value for start / end frame.
  • Plugins – we support a lot of Maya plugins & addons (Yeti, Ornatrix, PhoenixFD, Golaem, and many others), however, if you are using some extra add ons, please send us the info. We will check for the plugin availability and purchase options.
  • Render region should be off, however, should you require it, you can turn it on but let us know on the live chat, we will set up render region values on our end.
  • Simulations (e.g. X-Gen) - If there are dynamics / particles features used in the scene, you should create a cache file for them and properly link it in the scene. Here's an example guide on how to prepare caches for X-Gen: https://knowledge.autodesk.com/support/maya/learn-explore/caas/CloudHelp/cloudhelp/2020/ENU/Maya-CharEffEnvBuild/files/GUID-5CDC5D2C-6330-425B-98E9-E2A145CB42B6-htm.html

3. Use the plugin – setting the mode (Redshift)

After installing our plugin, it should be visible in the Maya GUI. To send your project to the farm, please locate the renderBeamer icon, which can be found in the shelf tabs and click the icon to open the plugin window. Please remember to make sure you have the correct version of the scene to render opened before starting the plugin.

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Running renderBeamer plugin from Maya interface

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If you have problems with the installation of the plugin, i.e. you cannot locate the plugin in the shelf, or you have a missing icon, we suggest checking the solutions in this article to help you fix the issue.

Plugin render modes for Redshift render engine:

  • Render as is – At this point, this is the only mode available for the Redshift render engine. This mode doesn’t have any additional settings because our plugin automatically reads your current render settings and just mirrors them here. Use this mode to render your animation - both for fully animated scenes which include objects animations, materials changes, camera or light movement and also camera movement. Moreover, using this mode, you can also render single frames in high resolution.
Settings for “Render As Is” mode

Note

For this mode, you can use any mix-option for GI Engine but you need to remember that we do not support “Rebuild” and “Rebuild (prepass only)” modes. The default “Rebuild (don’t save)” and “Load” ( if you use the generated and linked GI cache) modes are supported.

  • Still Image (High resolution single frame) - It’s designed for rendering high-resolution still shots. This is our custom distributed rendering system. If you turn on strip image switch, your scene will be rendered with only one frame. Depending on your settings, this mode creates two jobs – render and merge. Still Image mode renders your scene with “strips” (horizontal or vertical render regions). After the strip render jobs are completed, strips are then automatically stitched to the final resolution frame in a merge job.
Settings for “Still image” mode

Note

When submitting a scene via our plugin, you can choose the number of strips that will be used when rendering your job. Each strip is assigned to one node. You have to remember that the number of strips is strictly dependent on the resolution you have set. If your resolution does not have many divisors, please try to modify the height/width values of the resolution.

You can read more about the importance of testing and ways to estimate the render cost and time in our documentation.

4. Use the plugin – project settings

Once you select the plugin mode, you can continue the workflow in the setup window and go to the range and resolution setup.

Settings tab

Our plugin automatically detects your settings that have been set in Maya render setup, but regardless of the render mode you choose, you can always make changes here in the plugin before sending the scene.

Main setting for all Redshift modes


resolution - Please ensure that the resolution you have entered is the one you need to render.

frame range - Please make sure you enter the range you need to render.

new project name – If you have already uploaded a project and are going to submit the same scene (from the same project) but using modified assets (named the same as previously), we recommend using this option. In this case, all assets will be uploaded again, and you will be sure that you are using (new) modified assets. Otherwise, our plugin may not detect the new assets and thus won't upload them. If you decide to activate this option, please make sure to set a different project name (other than the default one).

render layers - In this window, you will find information about the current settings for render layers created in a given scene.

You can check two settings for each layer you created:

  • renderable - the "True" parameter means that this layer is set as renderable and will be rendered, if the parameter is displayed as "False" it means that the layer is set as non-renderable and will not be rendered.
  • extension - this parameter displays what extension was selected for a given layer (e.g., exr, png, jpg, etc.)

Assets tab

Here, you can check all the assets detected by our plugin - you can replace a given asset with a different one if you need or you can remove it.

Settings for assets tracker window

show missing only - after ticking this option, only the missing assets will be shown in the window

search directory - by choosing this option, you can select a global path location for all assets

delete all not found - by choosing this option, you can remove all missing assets from the scene (please remember to proceed with this option if you are sure that these assets are unnecessary for the correct render of the scene)

browse - by choosing this option you can select a location for this specific file only

delete - as an alternative to the "browse" option, you can remove the asset if it is not used in the scene

5. Upload the project

Once our plugin completes the scene export, your project will be redirected to renderBeamer to be uploaded. In a nutshell, renderBeamer is a standalone uploader/downloader application that works in conjunction with our plugins. Simply put, it takes care of the file transfers. 

After the scene has been fully uploaded, the app will show you a window with a direct link to your scene on Web Manager (web dashboard). To continue, use the click here to submit job button. If for some reason, you closed the window with the link or it didn’t work, don’t worry, you can locate your project in the web dashboard and submit your scene by clicking on the scene file any time (more on that in the next step). You can also copy the link to the clipboard and manually paste it into your web browser.

renderBeamer window with upload confirmation and a link to add the job to render farm

6. Submit the job (add the job to the render queue)

Now that your project is uploaded, you will need to follow the final step - creating and submitting a job to render farm. Web Manager is the place where all your projects and render jobs reside. 

If you followed the link generated earlier by renderBeamer, you would now see the job submission window with several fields and settings. If you didn’t follow the link or it didn’t work, you can do it manually by locating your project in the Projects panel, finding the scene file within the project folder (in your folder structure look for the folder called “data”, i.e. Project_name/data/SceneName.mb), and clicking on it to open the job window.

Adding a scene to rendering directly from Web Manager file browser

Our system automatically detects your settings in the scene and uses them to render the job. Before submitting the job to the render queue, please ensure everything is correct and make adjustments if necessary.

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job settings: frame range, resolution, aspect ratio, bucket size

Frame range -  use this field to put in the frame range you want to render. Frame range example for animations: 1to780s1 - this is a sequence of 780 frames in total, and all the frames 1 to 780 will be rendered. The parameter "s1" means that every subsequent frame in the given range will be rendered. If you want to do a test first, set a higher s value, e.g. "s20", which will result in every twentieth frame in the animation range to be rendered. So if you set the range to 1to780s20, then the frames 1,21,41,61,81,101,...,741,761 will be rendered.

If you have multiple layers and/or cameras in your scene and want to modify the frame range for all of them separately. You need to enable the option: “Render each layer/camera in a separate job” (more information with examples below).

If you only want to render a single frame (still image), you should input a single frame number into the field. For example, 1  will render frame number 1.

Resolution - here, you can set the output resolution in pixels.

Aspect ratio lock - if you need to change the resolution and want to keep a certain aspect ratio, you can use one of the available presets: 4:3; 16:9; 16:10; 21 9; 1:1. Leaving the option as "none" means that you are free to modify the values for the "Resolution" ignoring the aspect ratio.

Note

If you are going to render an animation or a still image, we always recommend that you perform a test before the final rendering:

  • For animations, the best way to get a cost estimate is to run a test of the scene on the farm with around 20 frames spread evenly across the range. For example, a frame range 1to200s20 will render every 20th frame as a test and based on that our system will produce a cost estimate for the full render.
  • For stills, please render the image in 1/5 resolution or any other smaller resolution. In the case of a 1/5 resolution test, the cost of a full resolution render will be 25 times bigger than the cost of a test. For example, if you want to render an image in resolution 5000x6000, run a test in 1000x1200 res first. If your test costs $1, the estimated cost for the full res image should be around $25 (5 x 5 = 25). For a 1/4 test, it would be $16 (4 x 4 = 16) and so on.

More information about running tests and estimating the cost can be found in our documentation).

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If you are going to render a still image in high resolution and your scene does not contain any post-production effects, then it’s recommended to use "Strips" to speed up rendering by using multiple nodes simultaneously (see more info below).

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job settings: output path/name, file extension, project path

Output path - here, you can find the default save path for rendered frames in the given job. The default output path is based on the name of your project and scene. You can edit this path if you clone your job and need to render a different range in that project.

Output file (w/o ext) - by default, the frames file name is set based on the name of your scene. If you want to create a unique name and/or you need to customize naming for the output according to your pipeline, you can set your own name for the output file.

Extension - a format for the output file is the same as in your scene settings. However, if you want to change the extension to a different one, you can choose from the available options, i.e: BMP, IRIS, PNG, JPEG, TGA, RAW TGA, CINEON, DPX, MULTILAYER, EXR, HDR, TIFF.

Project path - by default here, you can find the project's location, where all the files associated with a scene are collected.

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job settings: priority, version, retries

Priority - before adding a job to the render queue, you can decide how to prioritize it. Depending on the queue and farm traffic, a higher priority may allow your job to acquire nodes sooner to render your project faster. Each priority has a different rate and gives you a different number of nodes - a detailed list can be found here: https://garagefarm.net/pricing 

Version - by default, the version of Maya is set to the same version you have uploaded the project with. However, if you need to use a different version than the one detected, you can choose a specific version available on the list.

Retries - the value for this option is set to 2 by default. This means that if a rendering process fails or the software crashes, our system will perform two additional rendering attempts. We recommend leaving this option set to default (value 2) as this is the optimal setting to retry rendering in the case of some random 3rd party software errors.

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job settings: preferred hardware

Preferred hardware (node groups) - by default, the system sets the preferred hardware to nodes with 62GB RAM. As we render a .rs exported project on a GPU device, you can switch the node group button to a custom setup and select the particular group of nodes either based on the GPU model or RAM:

  • GPU - based on the GPU device, you can select between a group of nodes based on the minimum amount of RAM available or the GPU type:
    • RAM preference: Min. 62GB RAM; Min. 121GB RAM; Min. 240GB RAM
    • GPU preference: 8xP100, 4xP100; 8xK80
custom hardware setup: node groups available for GPU

The full technical specification of nodes can be found here: https://garagefarm.net/pricing#specs

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If you know that your scene requires more than 62GB RAM, then when adding a job to the queue, select the group with 121 GB RAM or more to render more optimally only on nodes with more RAM.

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job settings: advanced settings

Advanced settings

  • Job dependencies - if you want this job to start rendering after finishing another job in the queue, you can select it here. As a result, the current job will not start until the selected dependency job has finished.
  • Custom node version - if you need a different software setup (e.g. custom software version), input the value you received from our support. Note that inputting a wrong number may cause errors during rendering. 
  • Custom script - if your job requires a modified environment or adding a custom script (prepared by our support team), e.g. custom plugin installation, select the available script from the list.

Note

The advanced settings above are empty by default; please do not modify them without consulting support first.

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Additional settings for layers and cameras

Layers list - in this window, you will find the settings of your render layers created in the scene. By default, the settings are the same as in the scene. Layers that are renderable are ticked, and those that are non-renderable are unticked. You can check these settings and switch OFF the layers you don't want to render.

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Additional settings for layers and cameras

Render each layer/camera in a separate job - If you need to render each of your renderable layers and/or camera(s) as a separate job, then you need to select this option. If you do, each layer will be added to the queue as a separate job and rendered independently of other jobs. By default, this option is disabled.

Enabling this option allows to set an individual frame range for a given render layer(s) and/or for a given camera(s). It can also be useful when wanting to split a single long rendering job with multiple layers/cameras into multiple shorter jobs.

Each selected item will be added to the queue as a separate job with an individual frame range.

Below you can find some examples of how this option can be used in practice:

  • EXAMPLE 1 - each layer with individual range:
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Option: "Render each layer/camera in a separate job" is ON

Each layer has a separate individual frame range. This means that three jobs will be added to the queue. Each job will be a separate layer with all its cameras.

  • EXAMPLE 2 - each camera with individual range:
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Option: "Render each layer/camera in a separate job" is ON

In this case, instead of rendering all layers with included cameras, all cameras are selected, and thus each camera will be added to the queue as a separate job. So there will be a total of 7 cameras, each with a separate range.

To enable cameras, first, deselect the checkbox of a given layer, expand the list for a given layer, and select which cameras should be rendered as a separate job. You can set a separate range for each camera.

  • EXAMPLE 3 - complex scenario:
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Option: "Render each layer/camera in a separate job" is ON

This case uses a mix of settings for the multi camera/layers feature.

With these settings, two separate jobs will be added to the queue. The first job is a view from the cam named "camera03" for Layer: "defaultRenderLayer". This camera will be rendered with a frame range: 150to250.

The second job is the layer "rs_renderSerupLayer2" which includes two cameras and both of them will be rendered in a single job with a frame range set for the layer, i.e. 420to580.

You can also see that "rs_randerSetupLayer1" with all cameras has been deselected (no item is selected) so it will not be rendered.

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If you want to render different ranges for each layer/camera in your scene just tick the option "Render each layer/camera in a separate job" and then click on "edit frame range" for that item. A field will then appear in which you can make changes for the frame range.

Legacy render layers - this option is automatically set either as enabled or disabled. It depends on your Rendering Preferences settings in Maya. If you use "Render Setup" as the default mode for the Preferred Render Setup System, this option will be unticked in Web Manager. However, if you use "Legacy Render Layer" then this option will be ticked in Web Manager.

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job settings: FPE (frames per execution), job node limit

Frames per execution - this option is only available for animations. By default, the value for FPE is set to 1 for projects rendered on CPU. This means that each frame will be rendered as a new execution (a separate task), in other words, the scene will be loaded on each node every time a new frame starts. In the case of projects rendered on GPU, the value for FPE is set to 5 by default. So it means that 5 frames will be rendered in a row on one node.

The FPE (Frames Per Execution) option allows you to render several frames (the value you put in) in a row without reloading the scene on a render node and potentially may improve rendering efficiency. If your scene has a long loading time but a short rendering time, you can set FPE to a higher value (for example 4). If the loading time is not long but the rendering time is long, leave the default value or set it to 1.

Detailed information on the use and examples of the FPE option in practice can be found in our dedicated guide: https://garagefarm.net/documentation/how-to-use-and-optimize-frame-per-execution-fpe 

Job node limit - by default, the value for this option is empty, so the nodes are assigned automatically depending on the job priority and nodes availability on the farm. Nevertheless, if you want to limit the number of nodes for the given job, please put here the value of the maximum number of nodes you want to be used during rendering.

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job settings: paused state, submit & cancel button

Add job as paused - if you tick this option and then submit your job, it will be added with the status “paused”. This means that it will not start rendering automatically. It is useful to use this option if you intend to add the job to the queue, but you do not intend to render it at the moment. After adding a "paused" job, you can resume it at any time by selecting the "resume job" option (right-click on the job).

Submit - when you press this button, the system will immediately add the job to the render queue. Please remember to check all settings before submitting a job!

Cancel - if you do not want to add the current job to the render queue or want to reset your settings and add the scene again, you can use this option. The submission window with the settings for the given job will be closed, and all changes will be canceled.

7. Monitor render progress

After giving your render settings a final check and choosing your preferred priority, hit Submit to add your job to the render queue. If you’re a first-time user, you will have received $25 worth of credit to test out our service. The credits should be enough to run a few test jobs and familiarize you with the service.

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You can right-click on the job to get additional options: change priority, pause job, kill job, and archive job.

Note

The estimate is based on the currently finished frames and is approximated at that point. Rendering a test as prompted in the plugin (using a step i.e. 1to100s10) is highly recommended for more accurate estimates and detecting potential errors.

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Jobs added to render queue and options available under right mouse button

When the job has started rendering, you can check the real-time progress of currently processed frames. To do that, just select the render job from the main project list and click the arrow on the top right side to open the progress panel.

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Web Manager progress panel showing currently rendering frames

The Progress Panel (the panel on the right side of the screen) will show its content only when any of the jobs is selected. The panel is divided into 3 sections. 

Active frames - it shows currently rendering frames. When a frame finishes, it is moved to the second section, Done frames. If you select any frame in the Done frames list, you can access the render output process log in the bottom section called Process results.

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When you’re in the Progress Panel and right-click on any of the currently rendering frames in the “Active frames” section, you can access the real-time render log from our nodes.

Note

Please remember that if a job has finished rendering, the frames list in the “Active frames” section will be empty because all frames are already rendered, and the list is moved to “Done frames”.

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Real-time render log from our node accessible in the “Active frames” section under RMB

8. Download and review frames

Each completed frame is downloaded automatically to your local drive to a directory you selected in the renderBeamer application. If you’re unsure where your download folder is located, you can double-check it or change it in renderBeamer’s settings (click on the cogwheel). Also, ensure you have auto download turned on to get the frames downloaded as soon as they are available. If this box is unchecked, you will have to click on each job in Beamer's "downloads" tab, and manually download the frames.

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renderBeamer default settings with auto download ON

If you prefer more control over what to download and when you can also download your frames manually. To do that, just turn off the auto download switch in renderBeamer settings and go to the “downloads” tab. Next, select the desired render output using a checkbox, and click the download button.

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renderBeamer downloading frames for a selected render job

This workflow will download all rendered frames for the selected job or jobs. However, renderBeamer also gives you an option to download individual frames. You need to use the list files function under RMB to do that.

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renderBeamer listing files option for selected render job

Once files for the selected job are listed, just roll down the list and select the files you’d like to download using checkboxes. Next, use the same download button.

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renderBeamer downloading only selected frames from a render job

Once your frames are downloaded, you can use the open directory option under RMB to open the folder where frames are saved.

Note

Please ensure you keep renderBeamer running whenever you have jobs rendering to get the frames downloaded immediately. It may happen, however, that your frames aren’t downloading at the given moment, and most likely, that’s because our application syncs the files in 15-minute cycles, and it is currently in between the cycles. You can click refresh to force the check.

9. Purchase credits

You’ll need to charge your account to continue using the service when you use up all your trial credits. Please note that when your balance goes below $0, you won’t be able to download rendered frames or start new render jobs. You can make payments in the Billing panel in Web Manager. We accept debit cards, credit cards, PayPal and DotPay payments. Also you can purchase credits via Revolut or Zen.

If your rendering needs are high or you plan to render regularly, please make sure to check out our volume discounts.

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billing panel where you can buy credits, view cost & payment history, and view discounts

Note

In case your account balance goes below 0, any current jobs will be paused - all frames/strips in the middle of rendering will be completed, but any subsequent frames/strips will not start rendering. To download rendered frames, your account balance must be positive or equal to $0.

10. Contact us anytime

You can talk to GarageFarm.NET’s tech team any time of the day, any day of the week. We’re here to help you get started, answer your questions, and assist you in any way. Don’t hesitate to give us a shout.

You can contact us through our live chat accessible in the web dashboard or our desktop app when you log in to your account or message us here through the guest chat.

We also recommend checking out our FAQ page, which answers most of the new users' questions.

Maya Redshift
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