If your schools have a CAD lab or somethign of the like you might consider using Network Rendering on those PC’s to get animations done a lot faster. I have never used 3dsMax’s NetRender Nodes but Lightwave 3D’s network Rendering system is absolutly amazing.
We’ve been using ppl’s home and school computers. this year we may bring in the newly built computers some of us made. There may be more people that have these computers on our team that i don’t know of.
Q6600 Quad Core- OC’d to 1) 3.35ghz 2) 3.6ghz
2 gigs of RAM each
2+ terabytes total storage
Dual 8600GT and 1 with 8800
I’m not sure if the animation team even asked for better compies, but we’ll bring them in if need be.
From what I have found in my own attempts is that the only thing you really need for a render farm (assuming you’re using the function in 3Ds Max to do it) is computers capable of running 3Ds Max (preferably with the primary computer being more powerful).
Other than that, it should be more a matter of numbers to increase performance, the more computers you have, and the better they are, the faster it will go.
Now if only my team had more than one computer that can actually run 3Ds Max (and only version 7 too…).
do you have to utilize your licenses on the machines used in the render farm though? I was always afraid to try to use our precious licenses on lab machines if I had students who wanted to work at home.
Yup, intel quad core processors are practically small render farms on a chip! And they’re relatively cheap. I’ve not made FIRST animations for many years, but I’ve used my Q6600 quad core with 3ds and it IS amazing comapared to P4 single-cores I’ve used before.
If you build it yourself, a quad core setup is pretty affordable!
We’ve got like, 10 or so P4s that have been set up into a render farm for Max. The funny thing is, some people don’t know this, so they’ll be on a web page or something and this window will pop up and start doing the passes and they’ll panic.
I believe you only need one licence on the control machine and the rest are just render nodes which you can install on as many computers as you want.
The main thing is you need enough RAM to load the scenes (256MB that one of you mentioned will be a hair losing proposition). The processing may be slow but if you spread it on multple machines it is worth it.
Our Team had a beautiful computer lab a few yrs ago, then the computers got old so all the students on the animation team brought in ther comps and setup their own network. The only time we needed the render farm was for the finals. (You can always use the 30day trial for the control machine in the LAB if all your MAX licenses are used up on other computers.)
Ofcourse the LAB isnt allowed to use the software outside of the team use!!! So read the usage rules on FIRSTPLACE.
MY ADVICE- Do some test renders along the way and make notes of render times- You want to test different areas of the scene because some may require more rendering time than others. Then take an average and multiply by the number of frames in your animation (30fps x 30sec- 900frames => if you do any layering or compositing you may require more rendering frames depending on the effects and complexity) so the Point is figureout how much time it takes to render and make sure you can do in the the alotted time. IF you dont have a lab or render farm- you may need to ask other to borrow their computers and setup your own.
EXAMPLE- If you have 900 Frames: if you have images and effects and such and you figure out that you average 5min a frame (hopefully you’re closer to 1-2 min but its very possible to but much higher) 5(min/frm) x 900(frms) = 4500(min)/60(min/hr) = 75(hrs) / 24(hrs/Day) = 3Day(+)
If you have 3 computers at the same basic speed- your down to 1 Day (25hrs). If you have 10 Computers, your done in 7.5 hrs.
SO if you can use or create a render farm- its worth its weight in gold- less stress (once its up and running!!!) and more time to work the animation itself.
From what I have read, only the main computer needs an authorized copy of 3dsm. The rest can all have unauthorized copies of it, all you have to do is somehow get the install file on that comp (what I did is I downloaded the program from Firstbase to a network hard drive, then connected to that hard drive from different comps). You wount be able to use 3dsm on thos comps, but you can render with them.