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FAQ

V-Ray Scene

V-Ray Scene (.vrscene) GUIDE

1. Download and install

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

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.

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

ou need to change the resolution

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.

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

In your DCC app, open the scene and export it to V-Ray scene (.vrscene file).

  • Scene files should be saved in .vrscene format.
  • Best practice when exporting a .vrscene file with all assets is to have all the textures, caches and other kinds of assets next to the exported scene.
  • Scene should be free of missing assets when submitting to the render farm.

3. Use the plugin - startup & available modes

 When your DCC app is done with exporting the vrscene, you can use our plugin directly from your operating system’s file explorer. To do that just browse to the .vrscene file and right mouse click on the scene file.

V-Ray scene plugin startup on Windows OS. Right click on the exported .vrscene file to start the plugin.

Once the plugin has started, you will see the main plugin panel inside our renderBeamer application.

V-Ray scene plugin main window

In the plugin GUI you’ll need to finalize the scene setup using one of the available render modes (Render as is, Full animation, Camera animation, Still image). Each render mode is specifically designed for a different kind of scene setup, so please make sure that you select a mode suitable for the type of scene you’re going to render. This is crucial because each mode uses different GI and render settings and so selecting an inadequate mode will result in incorrect rendering.

V-Ray scene plugin mode selection dropdown

Available Render Modes are as follows:

  • Render as is - In this mode your scene renders "as it is". It's useful for scenes with already pre-cached GI or for shots which do not need GI caching. Also, it can be used for scene testing purposes or for atypical GI setups like Brute Force with Brute Force, or Brute Force with Light Cache. We do not provide any GI caching options in this mode. Render as is doesn't have any additional settings either. In most cases “render as is” is the mode that you should use. It will work “out of the box” in most rendering scenarios.
  • Full Animation - This mode should be used only for fully animated sceneswhich include objects animations, materials changes, camera or light movement. Generally, if your scene contains more than an animated camera, you should use Full Animation mode. Our plugin creates two jobs in this mode. The first one for the GI caching - called the "bake" scene. The second job is the rendering scene. The rendering scene uses pre-cached GI maps from the first job. With full animation mode, GI is cached for each frame in the selected render range so if your scene is starting at 0 and ending at frame 100, you will receive 101 GI map files. Each GI map is calculated on a separate node, so the process is very fast and stable. Full animation mode works only with Irradiance map & Light Cache. Before using Full Animation mode please make sure that your GI setup is set to Irradiance Map & Light cache! Otherwise please use the Render as is mode.

    Under the Full Animation mode you have an additional setting you can use - turn on/off Store direct light. By default, Store direct light is always on. This kind of setup is recommended by Chaos Group. Turning it off will force V-Ray to save separate files for Irradiance map and Light cache.
  • Camera Animation - bake and render - This mode should be used for scenes where the camera is the only animated object. Camera Animation mode works only with Irradiance map & Light Cache. This mode will create 2 jobs - GI cache, and a render job. The first job is for the GI caching - called the "bake" scene. The GI cache is calculated using the selected "bake step" parameter. For the GI cache job, we switch your current Irradiance map mode type to “add to current map” and Light cache mode type to “flythrough”. For the render job, we use both GI engines in the “from file” mode. GI caching is done using the bake step and bake jobs parameters. The default baking step value is 10, so if your scene is starting at 0 and ending at frame 100, you will receive 11 frames cached (including the first and last frame) into one .vrmap (Irradiance Map cache) file. Before using Camera Animation please make sure that your GI setup is set to Irradiance Map & Light cache! Otherwise please use the “Render as is” mode.
Additional settings for Camera Animation mode
  • Still Image - render / bake and render - This is our custom distributed rendering system. It’s designed especially for high-resolution still shots. It works with all kinds of GI setups. Depending on which settings you choose, submitting your scene with this mode creates two or three jobs - GI cache, render and merge. If you already have pre-cached GI, you can turn off the bake switch, and connect your GI maps via the “from file” modes. They will be uploaded with your scene and used for rendering. Turning off bake will force our plugin to forward 2 jobs to the farm render queue - render and merge. When the bake switch is on you will receive 3 jobs - GI cache, render and merge. Rendering scenes with “bake” switch on is the default setup. Still Image mode renders your scene with “strips” (horizontal or vertical render regions). After the strip render jobs are completed, strips are then stitched to one final resolution frame in a merge job. With Still Image mode, GI can be cached with all kinds of Irradiance maps and Light Cache combinations (like IR+LC, IR only, LC+LC, LC only and so on). GI setups like Brute Force + Brute Force cannot be cached. Please keep in mind that the usage of non-cacheable GI settings sometimes can cause issues with GI rendering. For example, with BR+BR setup you can receive visible seams where the strips connect as each of the render nodes will be calculating GI from scratch when rendering the strip.
Additional settings for Still image mode

Note

You should always run a test job prior to rendering a full range animation or full resolution still image to check for potential issues and to get an estimated job cost. For animations, try to render a shorter range or use a step (i.e. 1to200s20). For still images, you should render a smaller resolution test (i.e. ⅕ res). Testing is crucial and will help you get familiar with the service without potentially overspending your credits.

To get a preliminary cost estimation, use our Cost Calculator. While the calculator will give only a rough number, it’s a quick way to get a cost and render time estimate for animations (it doesn’t work for stills).

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

4. Use the plugin - common settings for all modes

Once you selected the plugin render mode, you can now check other settings which are common for all available modes.

Settings tab

Our plugin automatically detects your settings that have been used in the DDC app render settings, however, you can always make changes here in the plugin before sending the scene to the farm.

  • render mode – in our plugin we have a mode called "render as is". This is a common mode that you can use both for still image rendering and for complex animations. The advantage of this mode is that your settings set in the DDC app will be kept and used for the rendering on the farm.
  • new project name – by default, the name of the project matches the name of the folder where the .vrscene file is located. You can activate the "new project name" option and change the name of the project according to your preferences.

Please note that if you have already uploaded a project and are going to submit the same scene from that project but using modified assets that are 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 unique project name (other than the default one).

  • upload original scene - this option will forward your original .vrscene file (in its original state and unprocessed by our plugin) and upload it along with the project. It can be used by our support for troubleshooting procedures. By default, it's turned off.
  • frame range - the value for this option is set according to the detected exported sequence of .vrscene file. This means that if you exported the sequence for frames from 0 to 450, then this field will be set to: 0to450s1. For still images it will be simply one frame, for example 0.
  • override resolution - by default, this option is disabled, which means that the system will use the resolution set in the DDC app (from which a scene was exported to the .vrscene sequence). If you want to set another resolution, enable this option and put in the final resolution. A value of 0x0 means that the original settings (from an exported scene) will be used.
  • extension - here you can check or adjust the format for the output file. If you want to change the extension to a different one, you can choose from the available options, i.e: exr, hdr, jpg, jpeg, png, sgi, tiff, tga, vrimg.

Assets tab

Our V-Ray scene plugin automatically checks scenes for missing assets, and if there are any, you can use our integrated asset tracker tool to relink or replace them in the scene. To start the asset tracker, just click on the assets in the top menu.

Main asset tracker window

In the asset tracker panel you can review your asset list. If assets paths and names are correct, all of them should have the green status. Otherwise, you can relink missing assets using a global search path, or relink them one-by-one.

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 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 a home to all your projects and render jobs. 

If you followed the link generated earlier by renderBeamer, you will 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 file browser under the projects tab, finding the scene file within the project folder (in your folder structure look for the folder called “data”, i.e. Project_name/data/SceneName.vrscene), and clicking on it to open the job window.

creating a job directly from the 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 make sure that everything is correct and make adjustments if necessary.

job settings: frame range, resolution, aspect ratio

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 cameras in your scene and you’d like to modify the frame range for all of them at once, you need to tick the checkbox to enable the frame range field.

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 the frame number 1.

Resolution - here you can set the output resolution in pixels. This option is disabled by default in the web dashboard. If you want to change the resolution for your project it is required to resubmit the scene via our plugin. It is impossible to overwrite the resolution at this stage.

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 1/5 resolution test, the cost of 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, then 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.

There's more information about running tests and estimating the cost 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).

job settings: output path/name, file extension

Output path - here you can find the default save path for rendered frames in the given job. The output path is based on the name of your project and scene. For .vrscene, by default this option to adjust the path for output is disabled.

Output file (w/o ext) - by default, the frames file name is set based on the name of your scene. As this option is disabled for .vrscene, the output name will always be the same as the scene name.

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.

job settings: priority, version, retries

Priority - before adding a job to the render queue, you can decide how you want to prioritize it. Depending on the queue and farm traffic, a higher priority may allow your job to quickly acquire nodes 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, our plugin detects the DDC program your project (.vrscene) was exported from. Due to the fact that the V-Ray version is crucial here, you can check which version of V-Ray our system will use (for Sketchup, Max, Standalone, etc) but it is not possible to make changes to this option.

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.

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 .vrscene exported projects on a CPU device, you can switch the node group button to a custom setup and select the particular group of nodes either based on CPU cores or RAM:

  • CPU - based on the CPU device you can select between a group of nodes based on the minimum amount of RAM available or the CPU type:
    • RAM preference: Min. 62GB RAM; Min. 121GB RAM
    • CPU preference: 1xCPU / 22 cores; 2xCPU / 44 cores
custom hardware setup: node groups available for CPU

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 that have more RAM.

job settings: advances settings

Advanced settings

  • Job dependencies - if you want this job to start rendering after finishing another job that is 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), put here 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.

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

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 the need to reload 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 and 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.

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 you 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 cancelled.

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 get you familiar 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 an approximation 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 for detecting potential errors.

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 then click the arrow on the top right side to open the progress panel.

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 then 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 keep in mind 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”.

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

8. Download and review frames

Each frame that has completed rendering is downloaded automatically to your local drive to a directory you selected in the renderBeamer application. If you’re not sure where your download folder is located, you can double check it or change it in renderBeamer’s settings (click on the cogwheel). Also, make sure 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.

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 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.

renderBeamer downloading frames for a selected render job

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

renderBeamer listing files option for selected render job

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

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.

renderBeamer downloading only selected frames from a render job

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

Note

Please make sure you keep renderBeamer running whenever you have jobs rendering to get the frames downloaded right away. It may happen, however, that your frames aren’t downloading in 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 without waiting for the next sync cycle.

9. Purchase credits

When you use up all your trial credits, you’ll need to charge your account to continue using the service. 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 use the payment method 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.

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 that were 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 the 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 questions new users have.

V-Ray Scene
V-Ray standalone full workflow

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