Cinema 4D Team Render, Part 06: Install and Configure Team Render Server

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Instructor Rick Barrett

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  • Made with Release: 16
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In this tutorial you’ll see step-by-step how to install Team Render Server.

In this tutorial you’ll see step-by-step how to install Team Render Server. Team Render doesn’t have a unique serial, so you’ll simply use your Cinema 4D Broadcast, Visualize or Studio serial number to license Team Render. You’ll learn about key Team Render preferences, including Abort Rendering on Client Error, Exclude Client on Rendering Error, Handle Warning as Error, Clients Get Assets on Demand, Fetch Assets Always from Server and Peer-to-Peer Asset Distribution. You’ll learn about the Repository Path, and important considerations when choosing a location for the Team Render Server repository.

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- In this tutorial, we're going to look at how to install and configure Team Render Server. The Team Render Server application can be installed on any machine that supports Cinema 4D. It doesn't necessarily have to be installed on a server machine. However, it's important to remember that the Team Render Server must be running in order to process Team Render jobs, so you do have to make sure that the app stays open at all times. The Team Render Server does need access to lots of storage. Now that doesn't have to be on the local computer drive, it could be on a network share. And in fact, there are some benefits to putting your Team Render repository on a network share, but you do have to have access to lots of storage on the server because it's going to need to store all of the jobs and textures related to the jobs as well as all of the result frames. And finally, it's really not a good idea to run Team Render Client or Cinema 4D concurrently on the same machine as Team Render Server because Team Render Server does have a fair bit of processing work that it needs to do and running Client or Cinema 4D at the same time can bog that process down and cause communication issues. I know this was a trick that was frequently with Net, running Net server and clients on the same computer. However, it's just not a really good idea with Team Render Server. With Cinema 4D Release 16, the Team Render Server application will be installed automatically next to the Cinema 4D application any time you install Cinema 4D. So if Cinema 4D is already on the machine, you can launch Team Render Server simply by clicking on the Team Render Server application within your Cinema 4D R16 application directory. If you don't have Cinema 4D R16 installed on this machine as you probably won't for a Team Render Server installation, let's go over the installation steps really quickly. The first thing you'll need to do is load your Cinema 4D installation disk or the ISO file that you were provided for Cinema 4D, and you can simply click MAXON Start to begin the installation process. And you'll choose your language. Now within the installer we'll just continue through the first screen. You'll, of course, want to read all of that. And here on the second screen, you will need to fill out your name, company, street, city, country information, and then you have a spot here to paste your serial number. For Team Render Server, there is not a dedicated serial number. You'll just want to put in your Cinema 4D Broadcast, Visualize or Studio number. Broadcast and Visualize, again, will enable to use three clients at any given time, while Studio will allow you to access as many clients as you have set up on your network. So we'll just paste in the Cinema 4D Studio number here and hit Next. And here in the next page, because you entered the Cinema 4D Studio number, you have the opportunity to install Cinema 4D, the Team Render Server, the Team Render Client or the Libraries, Languages and Help. And in the case, we want to install the Team Render Server. Click Continue, choose to install the application, continue again. Read and agree to the End User License Agreement. Say you've accepted and hit Install and specify where you want to place Team Render on the drive. This is not necessarily the place that will be used for the repository holding all of the data. This is just for the program file itself, so it doesn't require all that much space. We'll go ahead and hit Install and wait for that install to complete. And once the installation is complete, you should see a big green check mark in the installer and you have an option to start Team Render Server immediately. So with that checked, we'll click Finish and start up Team Render Server. When you first launch Team Render Server you will see a Window Security Alert pop up for Windows Firewall. And as I mentioned with the Team Render Client, it's a good idea to go ahead and allow Team Render through the private and public scope, as well as the domain scope. This isn't always necessary if all of your clients are on the same domain. Especially if you're working on a mixed network with both Mac and Windows clients, it's always a good idea. On Mac, you'll also need to make sure Team Render Server is allowed through the firewall, but typically it will be without any need for any user intervention. So here on Windows we'll just click on Allow Access and you should see the MAXON online updater popup in most cases. This is because MAXON is consistently working to update and improve the application, and with Team Render, there have been some dramatic improvements throughout the Release 16 cycle. So you'll always want to make sure that you're writing Team Render on the most recent update and your Team Render Server and Team Render Clients and any Cinema 4D instances should all be on the same Cinema 4D version. The latest version at the time of this recording is Cinema 4D Release 16.038. So we'll go ahead and install that now. I'll just make sure that it's checked and hit Install. Again, you'll need to read and agree to the End User License Agreement. We'll hit Install again. And this time I'm going to turn on automatically restart and hit Install again, and that just saves me from manually starting when we get to that point in the update process. So again, this again takes a couple of minutes to complete and I'm going to let that do its thing and come back as soon as it's done. And once the update completes, we'll be in Team Render Server. And here you can see that the surface was started on Port 5402. That is the default port for Team Render Server to communicate on. And the web server is on Port 8080. You'll also see here that I have two network connections active, the Gigabit network connection for my wired connection, as well as my WiFi connection. And as I've mentioned before, it's really not a good idea to have multiple network connections on when you're using Team Render. If you do use multiple network connections you need to make sure they're on separate subnets. But in this case, there is really no need to have my WiFi on so I'm just going to disable it. We'll open our network connections and I'm just going to disconnect the WiFi. And now if we start Team Render Server, which isn't strictly necessary but just to make sure that things are all clean, you can see that we're using just the gigabit network connection now. So let's go ahead and jump into the preferences and take a closer look. Here in the preferences, you're going to want to twirl down the renderer group and select Team Render. That's where all of the important preferences for Team Render Server are located. Once again you need to make sure that Team Render is enabled. It should be by default. If Team Render isn't enabled in Team Render Server then there's really not much point because nobody will be able to use it. Next you can input the computer name and security token, as well as the port that Team Render is going to communicate on and the web server port that you'll use to access the Team Render Server web user interface. So all of these fields again, I'll mention that after you change them, you should make sure to hit Tab to tab into the next field because the values may not be saved until you switch into the next field. Most of these preference we've already gone over, but just for a really quick recap, the abort rendering on client error will abort the rendering on the individual client computer if there is any error with that computer. And the Exclude Client on Rendering Error will remove the client from the job at the server end if there is any error. It's usually a good idea to leave that one on so that if there is a missing plugin or texture, the job won't render and have all of the frames rendered from that specific computer be messed up. You also probably want to enable the Handle Warning as Error option. And what this does is a warning such as when a texture is missing. That's actually delivered just as a warning. If you want to be handled as an error so that it actually excludes the client, then you need to have this checked. Again, you have the option here for Peer-to-Peer Asset Distribution. By default Team Render utilizes a peer-to-peer networking scheme where any of the clients can provide assets to any other client so that you don't have a networking bottleneck at the server. So by default this is enabled, but if you want to disable it, you can uncheck it here. If Peer-to-Peer Asset Distribution is checked, you can specify the chunk size of the assets. So all of the textures and scene file that are being transmitted back and forth are chunked up so that individual pieces of it can be delivered by different computers. And by default, this is set to 24 megabytes. Usually you can just leave this as it is set now, however if you do have any specific network demands, you can adjust it up or down. We have the same option here to get assets on demand, which will deliver assets only when they're needed for rendering. And the best example of this is if you have an image sequence, only the frames of the image sequence that are necessary to render the frames that are assigned to that client will be transferred. It's a good idea to leave this on unless you're using a third party application such as VRay or RealFlow that isn't able to deliver assets on demand, and in that case you'll want to turn this option off. The option to Encrypt Connections will encrypt the data being sent between the server and the client. However the scene files will still be available on both the server and the client in unencrypted form. So it only affects the connection itself. I imagine this causes some networking overhead so I like to leave it disabled. The Rendering Timeout will abort the job if the client isn't able to respond to it in a certain amount of time. In general the Rendering Timeout is somewhat problematic, and I honestly don't see the point, so I leave this disabled as well. You do have an option here as well to enable Wake-On-Lan for Offline Machines, so that if computers go into hibernate or sleep mode, the LAN card can actually fire them up if that's enabled within that computer's bios. Finally here we have the Repository Path, and this is more important with Team Render Server than it is with the Team Render Clients. Because on the client, it's simply used as a sort of temporary swap space. But with the Team Render Server it's the place where you'll actually be placing your jobs in order to send them up to the team. So for ease of use I recommend putting this Repository Path on a network share. You can see by default it's not a very friendly path at all, and this is going to make it a little bit harder to add jobs from within Cinema 4D to the Team Render Server . So I'm going to go ahead and switch this to a folder that I've already created on a network share. I'm going to type the path manually but you could simply click the button with the dots and choose it from the file chooser, and that's going to be folder on my server that stores the Cinema 4D files, textures, and results for all of my jobs. So I'm going to want to make sure that there's plenty of space in that location. Once I tab out of that field, it's going to say that repository changes will take effect the next time you start the application. So we'll go ahead and click OK to accept that and I'm going to need to restart Team Render Server. And once we have restarted Team Render Server, you can see that our preferences are still located in the application data folder of the local computer. However, if we go in here to Team Render, our repository path is that X drive Cinema 4D team folder. And if we just take a quick look at that folder, you can see that Cinema 4D has added a subfolder called Users. And within that, you'll see a subfolder for each of the users that are set up within the Team Render Server. By default there's just a user called Admin. And if you click into that, this is where you'll see folders for each job on the Team Render. So we can drag jobs directly into this folder, like I can take these two jobs that are on the desktop and just drag them right into this folder, or we can save project directly into this folder from within Cinema 4D, and that will add a job into this watch folder if you will so that it will be automatically added to the Team Render. So now that we have those two jobs in there, let's switch back to Team Render Server. And the next step is to add clients to our server. I've already covered this in depth within the context of Cinema 4D in an earlier tutorial. And the process for Team Render Server is exactly the same, except that Bonjour is always disabled for Team Render Server. So you'll need to ad each client manually. Again you can do that by choosing Add Machine from the Machine menu or simply double clicking anywhere in the machine list. You'll need to enter the IP or host name and port for each machine. And as I covered in the other tutorial, you can find this easily in the console output of each Team Render client beginning with the third line. Once again, I'll caution you, don't use a DNS name that ends with .local because this is autogenerated by Bonjour and can cause problems. If you see a normal DNS name here, that's the preferable thing to enter into the Add Machines dialog because it won't change as often as the IP might with the HCP. Otherwise you can always enter the direct IP address that's shown here as well. Just make sure to follow either the DNS name or IP with a colon and the port number. So I'm going to add a few machines into our Team Render Server. So we can add a machine simply by typing its DNS name followed by a colon and the port. You'll be asked for the security token. And if all goes well, you'll see the machine appear with an icon next to it that has a green dot, meaning that the machine is available to be used for rendering. Now you can continue adding the machines manually or you can simply choose to load machines from the Machine menu and load a machines list. And I covered how to set up a machine list in the earlier tutorial. Basically you just need the DNS name or IP followed by a colon, the port number, a semicolon, and the security token. So I'll go ahead and load this machines list. And it's a quick way of getting all of my machines added to my Team Render Server. To manage the jobs on your Team Render Server you're going to need to use the web user interface, which you can access here from the second icon on the tool bar. This will open your default web browser to the local host at the port that you specified for your web server port. And we're going to cover the web UI in detail in the next tutorial. I'll just mention here for administrators that if you want to access this server administration from outside your network, you'll need to make sure to set up a port forward in your router. So that concludes the setup and configuration for Team Render Server and we're going to jump into the web interface next.
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