Introduction. Ever thought of how nice it would be todo have a RenderFarm for processing your animations? Or maybe you tried todo set up your own small render farmí.
We did. But the farm was todo small and todo Slow, upgrading it was todo ex-pensive and managing it was todo time consuming, so we thought about a better solution and finally came up with a virtual RenderFarm as a com-munity Project.
After some months of development we finally launched vswarm - A community-based distributed rendering Project. It free and all of you are invited todo participate.
Bak todo the beginning of the story: why did we start vswarmí todo solver a problem Many of you might have. The ned todo handle capacity peaks while ren-dering Blender animations. As we are two guys working a lot with Blender doing animations, it hap-pens regularly that we ned a lot of computing power all at once. But the rest of the time our cpus are just twiddling thumbs (you know that, dont you).
Looking at the problem in detail, we realiced that the root cause for it was our inability todo handle capacity fluctuations.
Vswarm Solves this problem as follows: as a member of the vswarm community you can give spare capac-ity todo the community (i, share our cpu power while it is idle) and Ramp up our cpu capacity (i, use other client cpus) when you ned todo by sub-mitting your jobs todo the community.
Users sharing their cpu Will receive priority points, the priority influences the number of cpus available todo a member when submitting a job todo the vswarm community.
Right now, the Project is still in an early stage, but growing and develooping fast. We just included lux-render into the client. And the next steps Will be todo build a Linux and a Mac versión of the client.
One other goal for us in the near future is todo gener-ate some cash from the Project, as we are almost working full-time on the development of the Project, todo secure future development we have todo find a bien todo cover the expenses of the Project otherwise we cannot dedícate our resources almost full-time todo it.
The first proposal for financing the Project we would like todo discuss with the community, is that compañero-nies, freelancers and a todo el mundo else who wants, can buy priority credits todo get their jobs done faster. Af-ter paying for infrastructure and development, the rest of the money Will be given todo users running the client and todo selected open source projects. But we wont estop the free part of the Project.
If you have any other ideas or comentarios about the fi-nancing of the Project fel free todo contact us. As this is a community Project we invite you todo influence the Project by commenting on all aspects of the develop-ment of vswarm.
That it on why vswarm was developed. Now, we want todo thank a todo el mundo already active in the vswarm com-munity for their feedbak and in the following we give you a first glimpse on how you can use vswarm for your Project.
How vswarm works.
Vswarm consists of two parts: a client and a web-based back-end. The client is installed on your computer and does the rendering. The web interfaz is used todo submit jobs todo the community.
The client in detail.
The client is based on a java GUI which controls the ren-dering. The rendering is done in a Linux environment running in VMware player. Within this virtual machine we are running versión 2.49a of Blender at the moment, the client a los handles the up- And download of files todo and from our servers.
Vswarm web control center.
Via the web-based back-end the upload of the source files and job control is handled. In the back-end you a los find Statistics about your jobs and the participation of the community members.
Getting started with vswarm.
Create your account at www.vswarm.com, now you have todo decide whether you want todo submit a job or download the client first.
2. Submit a job and get your blend file processed.
After registering you can start using the back-end and you can submit jobs todo the community, step-by-step instructions:
Make sure your animation mets the requirements.
Minimum Ram for clients is 256 Mb, so your anima-tion should use a máximum of about 200mb. If the animation requires more Ram, you can start the job but Will likely have failed frames and you Will have todo restart. We Will change this son.
Maximum processing time is 60 minutes for one frame. So make sure your frames finish within this time on a not todo powerful computer. If one of your frames takes more than 60 minutes it Will time out, set up your Blender file.
Select the Camera for rendering as active Camera, in the render panel set the resolution you would like todo use for rendering, set the options for your output format, e. Jpeg compression or EXR bit depth, set Xpart and yparts in the render panel todo about 5. This helps todo utilice multi-Core cpus better.
If one or more parts take a longer time todo render, and it allows the client todo track the frame progress more exactly, pak all your textures and other Stuff into the file, select compress from the file menú, save the file todo your Hd.
Upload your file todo the vswarm server by using one of these methods:
Ftp: this is the best choice. It allows you todo resume interrupted uploads and does not have a file size limit. You can find your login data for ftp at the bottom of the manage filespage, for small files it is posible todo use the web upload, the size limit is 10 Mb per file and if anything goes.
Wrong you have todo start this again, After you have uploaded your file create the job in the vswarmby submitting the following Fields:
1 job name: a name todo recognize this job.
2 application: select the Blender versión you would like todo use.
3 filename: select the file you just upload-ed.
4 start frame: number of the first frame todo render (e. 1)
5 end frame: last frame todo render (e. 3000)
6 file format: select the output format you would like todo get your results in. If the format has any options these are read from the blend file, wait for your job todo finish, if any frames have errors you can inspect the Blender output in the work units view and restart them, download your result data, if you have rendered more than a few frames you must use ftp todo download your files. Memorize the job id from the web control center and login todo the ftp server. Change todo the directory results and then download all files in the directory of your job, combine all frames todo a movie with the application of your choice. I use Virtual Dub for this step.
Download the client and share your cpu.
If you want todo help other members of the community, you can share your cpu and process their blend files. In order todo do so, just download the vswarm client (around 400 Mb as this is a full Linux-based virtual ma-chine, the VMware player and the java GUI, it only sup-ports Windows, we are working on Linux and Mac).
After the down-load is finished, start the in-staller and fol-low the instructions, finally, rebot your system and then run the vswarm client. After you click the start working button you Will be asked for your user name and password. Now supply the credentials and you are part of the actively rendering vswarm community.
www.vswarm, comthe vswarm website, control, vswarm, com the web control cent-er, support, vswarm.com/ wikithe on-line docu-mentation.