Setting up Softimage for network rendering

I get asked this question from time to time. It’s actually pretty straightforward to set up…it’s managing the render jobs that may take more effort.

  1. On each render node, install a network-licensed version of Softimage.
  2. During the install, on the Product Information page:

    • Choose Network License.
    • Enter your serial number and the product key 590D1.
    • Enter the name of the license server computer.

Done. It’s all set up now, but there’s a few things you should check/consider:

  • Check that you can run xsibatch on the render nodes and get a license.
    If you have any problems, here’s some troubleshooting tips for xsibatch licensing.
  • Xsibatch needs to have read/write access to wherever you store your Softimage scene files and projects, and wherever you decided to output the rendered images.
    For example, you could have a separate file server for scenes and render output, or it could be the local workstation where you run Softimage.
  • Third-party addons, plugins, and shaders need to be available to the render nodes, either via a shared workstation or by installing them on the render node.
    Note that the user account used to run xsibatch will have a Softimage user folder on the render node.
  • You need a way to manage the render jobs that run on the render nodes. There are a range of possible ways to do this:
    • Manually starting xsibatch on each render node.
      You could either specify specific framesets to render, or use the –skip flag to tell xsibatch to skip frames that are already rendered [by other render nodes]
      For example:

      xsibatch –render “//server/project/scenes/Example.scn” –frames 1-10
      xsibatch –render “//server/project/scenes/Example.scn” –skip
    • Hand-rolling your own tools/scripts to start render jobs (for example, using pstools to start xsibatch jobs on the render nodes, or generating batch files to kick off render jobs)
    • Purchasing render management software (such as Royal Render—you may want to try the demo version)

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