Jobs generated by Cinema 4D R14 render using a network rendering application called Cinema 4D Net Render.
The following information describes how to setup, save, submit, manage, and retrieve a Cinema 4D project to and from the Net Render server farm.
STEP 1 - Setting up a Cinema 4D R14 project for Net Render
There are two important setup steps required for Net Render to properly render a job.
- You must make sure to submit ALL bitmap texture files with the Cinema 4D file so that they can be accessed from the Net Render server. The easiest way to do this is to open your Cinema 4D file, and select File >Save Project… This will create a folder with the name you provide, save your model file in this folder with the same name, create a “tex” folder within this folder, and copy all your referenced bitmap image files into the “tex” folder.
- You must make sure to set your render settings properly. Net Render will follow precisely your render settings, including file name, output format, etc. If any of these are set improperly, Net Render may not be able to render your job properly, or at all.
a. In the Render Settings “Save” tab, make sure that “Save” is checked. Choose your proper format, such as “Tiff (PSD)” (see below for information on animation formats), and make sure that ONLY A SINGLE NAME WITH NO SPACES OR NON-ALPHANUMERIC LETTERS appears in the “Path.” Any explicit pathname (i.e., “M:\my_stuff”) will confuse Net Render, and will fail to render the job. Rather than clicking the ellipses to choose a file name, simply type one directly in the “path” text entry area.
b. Make sure your resolution, frame rate, and frame range are properly set in the “Output” area of the Render Settings. These will be strictly followed by Net Render.
c. To render animations, you will need to render to a still image file format, and then download the collection of images and compile into a movie in an editing program. Quicktime Pro (available in the labs) is perhaps the easiest, but anything you may be familiar with in this area will work (Premiere, Final Cut Pro, iMovie, etc.). It is STRONGLY recommended to render to Tiff (PSD) file format to create animation files. If you submit a job with a QT movie file format, the server will NOT produce a movie, and will produce files in a format that only CInema 4D can read. If you submit a job with an AVI file format, you MAY get a movie, depending on the compression format chosen. However, the default AVI compression formats are generally of poor quality and NOT recommended for final work.
STEP 2 - Submitting a Cinema 4D project to the Net Render server
Once your job is properly setup, you can submit it to the Net Render application. There are two methods to do this. Method 2 is FAR PREFERABLE!!!
NOTE: IF YOU DON’T HAVE A NET RENDER ACCOUNT YOU WILL NEED TO REQUEST ONE by emailing the Architecture IT Staff at email@example.com. Otherwise you won’t be able to proceed.
1. Using the web interface (this method is not preferred; use method 2 below).
a. Point a browser to http://arch-fire.syr.edu. You must be on the campus wireless or wired network to see the page. Click “Enter,” enter your Net Render name and password (note: this is assigned to be different from your SUID login and password, and SHOULD REMAIN SO for security reasons.). This will take you to the “Jobs” page.
b. Type in a name for your job, and click “Create New Job.” You will notice a new job listed with this name in the “Inactive Jobs” area of the page. You can also see buttons to start the job, clear its rendered results, and delete the entire job.
c. Click the name of your target job to go to the job page.
d. On the job’s page, you can individually upload scene files and bitmap texture files or individually download results. NOTE: if you have many (more than 10 or 15) files to upload, it is MUCH simpler to upload your data using method 2, below.
e. Click the upload button on the left; this will take you to an upload page. On this page, browse to each file you need to upload: the C4D scene file and all the bitmap texture files. If you have more than 10 files, browse to select the 1st 10, then click upload, then repeat the process until all files have been uploaded.
f. Once all files have been uploaded, click the “Jobs” button at the top of the browser window, then click “start” next to the job name to begin the job. If there are no errors, the job will move up to the “Render Queue” area of the page, and begin rendering.
2. Using the Windows Explorer/MacOS Finder interface. This is the preferred method.
a. On a lab computer open the G drive Student Drop folder under My Computer and go to the “Dropbox - Render Farm” folder. (Or, if you have mapped this network drive to your own personal computer, use this location.) Find the folder with your NetID and drop the entire project folder for the scene you want to render into this folder. This will automatically create a new job for Net Render.
b. Point a browser to http://arch-fire.syr.edu. You must be on the campus wireless or wired network to see the page. Click “Enter,” enter your Net Render name and password (note: this is assigned to be different from your SUID login and password, and SHOULD REMAIN SO for security reasons.). This will take you to the “Jobs” page, where you should see your job listed in the “Inactive Jobs” area of the page. If you do not, reload your browser window’s contents.
c. MAC USERS: Please note that there is a small cross-platform compatibility note. Dragging a file from Mac OS to Windows will create two files on the server for each file on your local Mac OS computer: the file itself, and a ‘header’ file with the same name preceded with “._” (a period and an underscore). This will confuse Net Render, so you need to DELETE the header file for your scene file. If your scene file, for example, is “test.c4d,” then you will need to delete “._test.c4d” for Net Render to find the proper file.
d. Click “start” next to the job name to begin the job. If there are no errors, the job will move up to the “Render Queue” area of the page, and begin rendering.
STEP 3 - Managing a Net Render job
You can do some simple management via the Jobs page with both active and inactive jobs. Click the name of your target Job to go to the job page. Here, you will see all your actively rendering jobs in the “Render Queue” area of the page, and all your inactive jobs stored on the server in the “Inactive Jobs” area of the page. Note that you can see OTHER jobs in the queue . If you have a job in the queue and it is not rendering, it is because there are other jobs ahead of you in the queue, waiting to be rendered.
- To reorder the priority of your jobs in the render queue, click the up and down arrows in the “Priority” section of the active job listing.
- To stop an actively running job, click “Stop” in the “Command” section of the active job listing.
- To clear all rendering results of a job but keep the job on the server, click “Clear” in the “Command” section of the inactive job listing.
- To delete an entire job, including rendering results, scene files, and texture bitmaps, click “Delete” in the “Command” section of the inactive job listing.
STEP 4 - Downloading files from a Net Render job
As with uploading files to the Net Render server, you can access completed results via the web interface or Windows Explorer/Mac OS Finder. For jobs with many files (especially animation results), it is very tedious to download via the web interface. However, for single frame renderings or to view a single file from an animation, the web interface is quite convenient. Files will be stored on the server for one week from their creation date. At this time, they will automatically be purged. DO NOT use the Net Render server as a storage location (even temporarily) for files; monitor your jobs closely, and when they are completely rendered, download the results immediately.
1. Using the web interface.
a. Log into the Net Render server, and go to the job page of the job you are interested in. On the right side of this page, you will see all the rendered output files of the job.
b. Click the “Download” button and this will take you to a download page where you can click on each file to individually download them.
c. Once you have downloaded your files, and verified that they are complete, please “Clear” the job from the “Jobs” page to reduce the number of files stored unnecessarily on the server.
2. Using the Windows Explorer/MacOS Finder interface.
a. Open the folder with your netID in the Net Render drop-box folder. (My Computer > K drive). Again, if you have mapped this network storage location to your own computer, use that location.
b. In this folder will appear sub-folders for each job. In the “Result” folder of these subfolders appear all the rendered results of your job. Simply copy these to another location off of the render server.
c. Once you have copied your files, and verified that they are complete, please “Clear” the job from the “Jobs” page via the web interface to reduce the number of files stored unnecessarily on the server.
STEP 5 - How to turn your rendered results into an animated movie
Although you can use Adobe Premiere Pro, a quick way to turn the individual TIFs into a movie is to use Quicktime Pro.
- Create a folder on the D drive of a lab computer. Copy your TIFs into this folder.
- Start Quicktime Pro (under All Programs > Miscellaneous) and choose File > Open Image Sequence.
- Browse to the TIFs on the D drive and select the first one in the series.
- Choose your frames-per-second and then click OK. Wait while it creates a Quicktime movie file.
- You can also export the movie in other formats such as mpeg-4 by clicking File > Export.