Cinema 4D Team Render, Part 02: Quickstart

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Instructor Rick Barrett

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  • Duration: 09:01
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  • Made with Release: 16
  • Works with Release: 15 and greater

In this tutorial, you’ll learn the basics of Team Render by utilizing a C4D installation on another network machine to distribute renders to the Picture Viewer.

In this tutorial, you’ll learn the basics of Team Render by utilizing a C4D installation on another network machine to distribute renders to the Picture Viewer. You’ll learn how to enable Team Render and add a machine via Bonjour or manually via DNS name or IP address. You’ll learn about the most basic Team Render preferences, including the Security Token, Share Machine over Network and Custom Number of Render Threads options.



- In this tutorial, we'll look at the simplest way you might use Team Render, which is taking advantage of the Cinema 4D installation on another computer in order to accelerate Preview Renders. Anytime you'll want to use the machines power for Team Rendering, you'll need either Cinema 4D or the Team Render client open on that computer. In most cases, you'll want to use Team Render Client, because it doesn't need to be individually licensed. But we're going to look at this scenario as a way to jump-start into the Team Rendering concept. The first thing we'll need to do is adjust the preferences on the computer that's going to be used as the Team Render client. I'm going to remote into this Macintosh computer so that we can adjust its preferences and set it up as the client for our Windows system. By default, in Cinema 4D Release 16, Team Render is disabled. So the first thing you'll need to do is enable it. Go into the Preferences dialog, and find the Team Render preferences. They're folded underneath the Renderer section. So in many cases, you'll need to click the triangle here in order to open the Renderer section and select Team Render underneath. Next, you need to enable Team Render by checking the box. By default, the computer name will automatically be filled with the name that's set up in Windows or Mac OS. The security token in Cinema 4D will be a random alphanumeric string. You can change this if you wish. But make sure that if you do change it, you tab out of the field rather than simply closing the Preferences dialog. If you simply close the Preferences dialog, sometimes the security token changes won't be saved. I recommend leaving the port at the default, 5400, and for now we'll go ahead and keep Bonjour active. In order to utilize the processing power of this machine on the network, the Share Machine Over Network option does need to be checked. In many cases, if you're sharing this client with someone who's actually using the machine, you'll want to enable a custom number of render threads and reduce this lower than the number of threads available on the computer. This way, you won't totally abuse the entire computer and make it unusable for whoever is currently sitting at the desk. A machine that's ready to be used by Team Rendering will have a green dot in the status bar at the lower-left corner of the Cinema 4D interface. If this dot is yellow, it means that the machine is currently being used in Team Rendering. We won't worry about any of the rest of the preferences for now. Let's jump back to the Windows computer and add this machine as a client. So here on my main Cinema 4D installation, I want to choose the Team Render Machines dialog from the Render menu. Again, by default, Team Render is disabled and even to use Team Render, it has to be enabled within the preferences. So I can access the preferences directly from the Team Render Machines dialog by choosing Preferences from the Machine's menu. Here, I need to check to enable Team Render, and if I don't want this computer's processing power to be shared with other machines, I can uncheck Share Machine Over Network. Now, I'll be able to utilize other machines, but they will not be able to utilize my computer. It's not a very generous way to work, but it's really up to you. We'll close the preferences now, and you can see that Bonjour has automatically detected several machines here on the network. The specific machine we were just setting up is called "Lamprey". So I'll double-click on that machine and enter the security token, and hit Okay. It'll take a second while Team Render negotiates the connection with the client, and then the client will show up ideally with a little green box showing that it's available to be used as rendering. You can see I have a couple of other clients available here to use as rendering as well. I'm going to go ahead and add Chupacabra as well. If a machine isn't showing up, or it's showing up with an error message here next to the machine specs of "Wrong Build ID", the first thing to check is that, first of all, Cinema 4D is running on that machine. Secondly, make sure that the version of Cinema 4D is the same version that you're running. It's very important with Team Render to always be using the most recent version of Cinema 4D, because Team Render is still under very active development and each version gets more stable and more reliable. Sometimes a machine won't show up simply because Bonjour fails, and when we cover troubleshooting we'll mention that one of the first things you'll want to try is disabling Bonjour if things aren't working properly. When you need to add a machine manually, you can simply double-click within the Team Render Machines dialog, or choose Add Machine from the Team Render Machines Machine menu. In the dialog that appears, enter the machines domain name or IP address, a colon, and the port number, which for Cinema 4D will by default be 5400 and for Team Render Client it'll be 5401. Click Okay, and if the connection is able to be made you'll be asked immediately for the security token. So we'll enter that and hit Okay. So now we have three machines active, and they all have green dots in their icon indicating that they're able to be used in rendering. So let's fire up a Team Render to the Picture Viewer and see what this looks like. If we switch over to the Mac computer, you'll see that the icon in the status bar is now orange, and as I roll over it you'll see that it displays the machine is currently downloading a job from Silverfish. So we know that this computer is currently working on the job. In fact, in the Team Render Machines dialog, we see that all three machines I added that are active have an orange dot in the icon to indicate that they're actively working on a job. We're currently distributing a still frame over the network, and it's important to keep in mind that there is network overhead. So jobs that render very quickly on a single machine often aren't worth distributing on the network. This network overhead is even greater with a still frame rendering, because there's more negotiation that the machine has to do in order to coordinate the caches and the buckets to give you a consistent result in a single image. This is also a good time to mention that you should always use wired Ethernet, preferably gigabit Ethernet throughout your Team Render network. Because of the amount of data that needs to be transmitted back and forth, a wireless connection will significantly degrade the performance of Team Render. When you're Team Rendering via the Picture Viewer, it's helpful to go into the View menu and turn on Show Bucket Color. This gives each machine an individual color, which you can relate to the buckets as they're being returned in the Picture Viewer. So here we can see that Lamprey is beginning to return frames, and now we start to see the blue colors of Woodchuck and Chupacabra. So each separate color indicates a different machine returning a bucket as the Team Render progresses. Now, if at any point you run into problems with Team Render, make sure to refer to the Team Render troubleshooting tutorial later in this series. So in this tutorial, we went over the most basic scenario of utilizing an additional Cinema 4D installation in order to distribute a preview rendering. You need to make sure to enable Team Render on all the machines, because it's disabled by default. Set the security tokens, and make sure to tab out of the box so that the token is changed. Don't simply close the preferences. Add machines by simply double-clicking them if they're detected automatically by Bonjour, or add them manually using the DNS name or IP, followed by a colon, and then the port name. The easiest way to use Team Render is to simply use the Team Render to Picture Viewer command, and we did that here to distribute a still frame rendering. You can use the Show Bucket Color option to represent the buckets returned from each machine in a separate color, so you can see how each machine is progressing. As we mentioned at the beginning, it's best to use Team Render Client on your render slaves. So in the next tutorial, we'll look at how to install and configure Team Render Client.
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