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Old 08-05-2008, 02:49 PM   #1
INOX
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Default Major batch render - any advice?

Okay, I've never rendered anything that took more than like 6 hours.

Tomorrow I'm going to start rendering my biggest project yet--I've done some tests and calculated that I'm looking at probably 4 straight days of render time. :|

Anything you vets can tell me that might come in handy?

Everything's already as optimized as it's gonna get, and I can live with the render time, but I do have a deadline coming up and I'm hoping I've given myself enough wiggle room. So really what I'm asking is are there any problems I've yet to discover when trying to render such a large batch? Do you have trouble with Maya hanging up/freezing? I figure I'll try to break it up into easier-to-digest batches, so I can check on it daily. But I'm sure I'm gonna run into something unknown . . . something I haven't run into and wasn't aware I should prepare for.

Am I making sense? I'm just nervous that something's gonna break or hang up overnight or something. Anything I should be aware of before I get started? Any special prayer or offering that the Maya gods approve of?
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Old 08-05-2008, 03:22 PM   #2
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render from the command line. since maya isn't open there's more free RAM the Render command can utilize.

optimize the scene and delete all the history you can.

other than that, meh. i've kinda just dealt with long renders.

(if you can, see if you can render some files on other machines, too! - just don't forget to bring a .ma file so you can change it depending on the version of maya, and all the texture files you're using so you can point maya to their new location before saving the file to a .mb so you can batch from those machines... or else you'll get renders of a lot of black objects. learned that one the hard way by forgetting to reconnect files. 400 frames and a few hours down the tubes. ugh.)
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Old 08-05-2008, 04:10 PM   #3
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Easier than rendering form the command line is, go to the folder where the scene file is right click and then select render form the menu there.

Also cache any file textures youve got (in the file attributes)

Cross your fingers and off you go!
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Old 09-05-2008, 01:27 AM   #4
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Thanks to both of you--great advice.

Here goes nuthin . . .
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Old 09-05-2008, 07:20 AM   #5
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Break it up into smaller sections and composite them all together. If you render for say 8 hours overnight and view it then you can make sure everything is on track and in place. Otherwise if you wait till the 4 days are up and notice an error in the first say 400 frames you'd be pretty upset I'm sure.
Plus if you have checkpoints it allows for modification of further possible errors so the next render sessions go off without a hitch. And finally what if during the 4 days the power goes out? That would kill all your work up to that point right?

Good luck!
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Old 09-05-2008, 08:41 AM   #6
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One more thing to note about caching, if you have any dynamics in your shot, be sure to go ahead and either bake out the simulations, or setup particle caches for your particle sims as that makes things TONs faster.

Plus, doing that also allows you to render particle simulations on multiple machines or a farm making sure your particles all look the same in the final render

Good luck!

PS, when you start rendering shots at 4k, and your rendertimes on the farm get to be around 4+ hours per frame, THEN welcome to the club
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Old 10-05-2008, 12:36 AM   #7
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Follow up question:

I'm using Mental Ray to render. When I try to render from the command line or by right-clicking the file in windows explorer and selecting "render" it's defaulting back to the Maya Software renderer.

I've changed my preferences to Mental Ray being the preferred renderer. That didn't do it, it still wants to render using Maya Software.

Is there a way to render from the command line--or in other words WITHOUT opening Maya--and have it use the Mental Ray renderer?
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Old 10-05-2008, 10:29 AM   #8
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if your going form the command line you need to start up mental ray, I cant remember the flag, but off the top of my head if you type render -r you'll get all the flags.
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Old 10-05-2008, 10:45 AM   #9
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Sweet--thanks! I'm glad to know it's possible to render MR from the command line, I've been looking for an answer to that all day.

I'll try again tomorrow. Thanks again for your help, all.
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