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Need specific direction on Backburner for Maya/ Arnold

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Message 1 of 3
sbommakanti
221 Views, 2 Replies

Need specific direction on Backburner for Maya/ Arnold

This is a bit of detail, but i'm at the process where I think it's time I posted here in hopes for some direction. 

 

So, I started working at an edu institution, and one of the responsibilities is to maintain a Render Farm. I am working in an institution that utilizes a series of Mac Minis (intel-based Chips) and we have Maya/ Arnold Edu 2022 installed in all 30+ units. So far, my predecessor has done a good job of explaining to me how I should work with Backburner, nuances to look out for, and even how to restart or config a node if it seems to cause trouble. However, me coming into the position, i've been having a hard time adjusting and understanding the farm on the back-end. I wanted to use this question as an opportunity to be aware or consider what kinds of issues and solutions I can figure out. Because I do not have IT or Render Farm experience (but plenty of 3d and software), a lot of what i'm reading with the Maya Backburner guides are over my head, so the on ramp to learning has been a bit intense. I think its important I learn the theory, I started reading the guides on setting render farm, but are there specific more helpful guides I should be aware of?

 

For the most part, 90% of the farm is working, but i'm also helping update the farm with more sets of Mac Minis that would need to work, so my question is, with the educational version of Maya and Arnold. How does one set up the backburner system on a new mac mini? To test this out, i'm taking out two nodes that have been causing trouble, and getting them cleaned up, and testing them after reinstalling everything. But the guides for Maya/ Backburner are incredibly bare. It gives me a general idea that I need to install specific sets of application, but nothing on troubleshooting (if available, please link!) The biggest issue I am running into is that when I render, there are a few nodes that are "claiming" to have finished a packet of images, but they never show up. One issue is that it isnt connected to the server, which I can easily fix, but there is another problem that I cant even seem to figure out what causes it. What should I be looking for in those units in order to diagnose the problem? 

 

Finally, the last thing i've noticed is that often, on occasion, any educational use Rigs, the free to use or affordable ones, break when sent to the farm, causing the entire rig to glitch out and distort. Specifically I noticed this on the Mery Rig from 2015. But other popular rigs seem to be ok. What kind of problems cause this? The render farm breaking the rig? Perhaps its a DG/ Parallel situation? would I need to go into each node and switch it? 

 

My questions are all over the place, but thank you in advanced for any guidance in this matter. I'm hoping to use the December break to refine and understand the back-end processes so that the farm works with flying colors for the future. Thank you. 

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Message 2 of 3
Parmenides
in reply to: sbommakanti

Probably not much help but I was never able to get Backburner to work correctly and found the support lacking. I also use Mac minis for my farm and ended up going with Thinkbox Deadline to manage the farm. The first 10 nodes are free. It works exactly how I need. I send the render from my main machine and it doles it out to the workers, they render and put the files back on my machine in the folder specified by the original Maya file.  Bitfrost and dynamics work fine if you cache the files. The original setup can go awry with permission issues but after that is pretty smooth. There is monitoring software to keep tabs on everything and reset stuck workers. 

Message 3 of 3
sbommakanti
in reply to: sbommakanti

This helps me a lot! If I am able to budget for Thinkbox, that may be an alternative to explore. But I can always used the first 10 to test out the system. At the least I am hoping to understand the general use of Backburner for now. I have a few nodes that refuse to work, even though the Mini works, I cant seem to access the screenshare IP at all, or they show as absent on the manager, or they claim to work and are "active" but do not render any packets. If i'm able to figure that out first, then at the least some stress will be lowered when I need to add new ones to the system (replacing old old ones in the spring) 

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