This Batch Rendering with LightWave 3D ScreamerNet LWSN step-by-step tutorial will show how to perform batch rendering with LWSN in batch/network mode (-2) to render multiple scenes independent of LightWave itself. Batch rendering enables you to queue up multiple scenes all at once and render them unattended. Batch rendering is similar to network rendering except the same computer is used as both the host controller and the rendering node, without any network in between. In the case of multi-CPU/core/thread computers, you can easily run a ScreamerNet lwsn render node on the same computer that you may also continue working on in LightWave 3D Layout or while performing other functions.
Batch Rendering with LightWave 3D ScreamerNet LWSN
Step by Step How To Tutorial Contents
- Download and Install the FREE LITE DreamLight Constellation, DLI_SNUB-Launcher & DLI SuperBalls content
- Setting up the ScreamerNet LWSN Config File
- Drag-and-drop Launching LWSN Node with DreamLight SNUB-Launcher
- Drag-and-drop Batch Rendering with DreamLight Constellation
- Manual Setup for Stock Built-in LightWave 3D ScreamerNet LWSN Rendering
Download and Install the FREE LITE DreamLight Constellation, DLI_SNUB-Launcher & DLI SuperBalls Content
The following step-by-step Background Rendering with LightWave 3D ScreamerNet LWSN tutorial shows how to render DLI_SuperBalls, the sample scene (and sample prebuilt Content Folder) that is included with the FREE Lite version of DreamLight Constellation & DLI_SNUB-Launcher, using LightWave 3D ScreamerNet LWSN in batch/network mode (-2) on Mac OS X or Windows.
- Download the DreamLight Constellation bundle which includes the FREE LITE versions of DreamLight Constellation, DLI_SNUB-Launcher and DLI_SuperBalls pre-built sample content folder.
- After downloading the DreamLight Constellation.zip file, unzip the file by double-clicking it on Mac OS X or by right-clicking on it and selecting Extract All…
- Drag the DreamLight Constellation application & DLI_SNUB-Launcher application files from the unzipped folder to your LightWave 3D applications folder where Layout and Modeler are found:
/Applications/NewTek/LightWave3D_2015.2/on Mac OS X or
C:\Program Files\NewTek\LightWave_2015.2on Windows. Enter an administrator’s username and password if prompted. You may then create an alias/shortcut to place on your desktop or elsewhere if desired. While DreamLight Constellation & DLI_SNUB-Launcher can actually be run from anywhere, they will automatically locate the default settings from LightWave Layout’s config file more easily when run from the LightWave3D folder.
- Drag the prebuilt sample Content Folder, the DLI_SuperBalls folder, into your user’s Documents folder which will be used in the following tutorials.
Setting up the ScreamerNet LWSN Config File
There are a few settings that are stored in the LightWave 3D Layout config file that are used by ScreamerNet LWSN for batch/network mode -2 rendering. The first is the Content Directory which ScreamerNet LWSN will read from the config file if not overridden in the command line or by drag and drop in DreamLight Constellation at the time of rendering. Another config setting that may be used by ScreamerNet LWSN is the Command Directory, but we’ll be using the defaults in DreamLight Constellation and DLI_SNUB-Launcher which automatically default to the Commands folder inside the Content Folder which we just set. The other two settings are the Segment Memory Limit and the Multithreading settings. The defaults for these are, Segment Memory Limit: 1024 MB and Multithreading: Automatic. Those defaults are usually fine so changes to those two are optional. For more information see Managing LightWave 3D ScreamerNet LWSN Config Files.
- Launch LightWave 3D Layout.
- Set the Content Directory with Edit->Set Content Directory… Navigate to and select:
Documents/DLI_SuperBalls/Or you may simply load any of the DLI_SuperBalls scenes and answer Yes when asked if you’d like to change the Content Directory to the detected Content Directory. This assumes you have already placed the DLI_SuperBalls folder in your user’s
Documentsfolder. See Content Directory for more information.
- OPTIONAL: Open Render->Options->Render Globals and set the Segment Memory Limit to at least 32 MB or leave it set to the default of 1024 MB. See Default Segment Memory for more information.
- Click yes when asked if this should be the new default setting, or it won’t be saved in the config file.
- OPTIONAL: Click the Render tab and set Multithreading to the number of cores/threads that you would like to use up to the maximum number of threads on your computer. This can be useful if you want to reserve some horsepower so that you can perform other work on the same computer while it’s rendering in the background. Or simply leave it set to the default of Automatic to have it use the maximum available threads. See Multithreading for more information.
- Quit LightWave to save the config file to disk.
Mac OS X default Config Folder path:
Windows default Config Folder path:
Drag-and-drop Launching LWSN Node with DLI_SNUB-Launcher
Rather than typing ScreamerNet LWSN command lines manually by hand, you may use our drag-and-drop GUI utility, DreamLight SNUB-Launcher, to interactively build the command lines and launch ScreamerNet LWSN with a Mac friendly drag-and-drop-dead-easy™ interface, even on Windows.
- Move the DLI_SNUB-Launcher 2 application into your LightWave3D folder if not already there, as outlined above.
- Launch DLI_SNUB-Launcher. If this is the first time it is run it should locate lwsn and LightWave’s config folder by default. Success locating the file/folder will be indicated by the lwsn Path and Config Folder fields being highlighted in green. If not found, the fields will be highlighted in red instead. In that case just drag LightWave’s bin folder, or lwsn file to the lwsn Path button or field and drag the config folder to the Config Folder button or field on the DLI_SNUB-Launcher window. [Note: On Mac OS X 10.7 Lion or later the user’s Library folder is hidden, so you can use the Finder’s Go->Go to Folder… menu command with
~/Libraryin the text field to open the Library folder.]
Mac OS X default lwsn Path:
Mac OS X default Config Folder:
Windows default lwsn Path:
Windows default Config Folder:
- If the bottom drawer is closed, open it with the Open Batch Render Settings (-2) button.
- Drag the
DLI_SuperBalls/Commands/folder to the Command Folder button.
- Click the Launch ScreamerNetUB Nodes button to launch the ScreamerNet lwsn render node.
DLI_SNUB-Launcher will open a window in Terminal/Command and launch the lwsn node. The node will start outputting: “Can’t access job file.” repeatedly. This is normal because the network controller has not yet created a
job#file to communicate with the node. [NOTE: For best results the Command Folder should be located within the Content Folder so all nodes have access to it and it gets remapped properly if you wish to use any of the Content Folder remapping features for remote or cross-platform render nodes.]
Drag-and-drop Batch Rendering with DreamLight Constellation
Rather than using the somewhat limited options built-into LightWave Layout (Network Render panel or Render-Q), you may use our drag-and-drop network render controller, DreamLight Constellation, to interactively configure and manage ScreamerNet LWSN rendering with a Mac friendly drag-and-drop-dead-easy™ interface, even on Windows.
- Launch DreamLight Constellation and open the Preferences panel. The Command Folder and Content Folder fields should be highlighted green and defaulted to the
DLI_SuperBalls/Commands/folder and DLI_SuperBalls folder respectively because the Content Folder was set to DLI_SuperBalls in LightWave Layout. If not, simply drag DLI_SuperBalls to the Content Folder button or field and/or drag the
DLI_SuperBalls/Commands/folder to the Command Folder button or field. Then click OK.
Mac OS X Command Folder:
Mac OS X Content Folder:
- This will initialize the render node which should show up in the Node Queue.
- Drag the DLI_SuperBalls-Anim.lws scene file onto the Add Scene button or the Scene Queue to open the Scene Panel. Then drag the
DLI_SuperBalls/Renders/folder to the RGB Output Folder button or field and click OK.
[NOTE: For best results the RGB Output Folder should be located within the Content Folder so all nodes have access to it and it gets remapped properly if you wish to use any of the Content Folder remapping features for remote or cross-platform render nodes.]
- This will add the scene to the scene queue and begin rendering.
Manual Setup for Stock Built-in LightWave 3D ScreamerNet LWSN Rendering
The easiest and most streamlined way to set up and run LightWave 3D ScreamerNet LWSN is with the FREE LITE versions of the drag-and-drop utilities we built to facilitate the process, DLI_SNUB-Launcher and DreamLight Constellation as outlined above. However, sometimes it’s useful to still run ScreamerNet manually using the stock built-in tools. This can be especially useful if you run into a problem getting ScreamerNet running with your own custom content in DLI_SNUB-Launcher and DreamLight Constellation in which case testing your content manually with the built-in tools can help isolate the problem. This can help determine if if the problem is in our utilities or your content, your network setup or LightWave 3D ScreamerNet LWSN itself. The following sections deal with rendering directly in LightWave 3D ScreamerNet LWSN manually and may be skipped if using DLI_SNUB-Launcher and DreamLight Constellation.
Manually setting up the Scene for ScreamerNet lwsn Rendering
The RGB output render destination is stored as an absolute path in the scene file, even if the destination is inside the Content Directory, therefore you need to set the RGB output render destination any time you move a scene to a new computer when using LightWave 3D’s stock built-in ScreamerNet network rendering. If you use Drag-and-drop Rendering with DreamLight Constellation which can override the scene settings when the scene is opened for rendering, its not necessary to preset the RGB output destination in the scene file first.
- Launch LightWave Layout.
- Use File->Load->Load Scene… to load:
from the current user’s Documents folder.
- Click Yes if asked if you’d like to change the Content Directory when loading the scene.
- Open Render->Options->Render Globals.
- Verify or set the following render range fields on the General tab:
- Range Type: Single (That’s the only range type compatible with LWSN.)
- Render First Frame:
- Render Last Frame:
- Render Frame Step:
- Click the Output tab.
- Click the RGB Files button.
- Verify that
DLI_SuperBalls-Animis set in the Save As: field.
- Navigate to the
- Click the Save button to dismiss the dialog and accept the changes.
- Set the RGB Type pop-up menu to
- The RGB readout should now read
- Save the scene.
- Quit LightWave Layout.
Manually Launching ScreamerNet LWSN using Terminal/Command
Another way to configure and launch ScreamerNet LWSN is to manually type the command line to launch it in Terminal/Command. For a much easier and far less error prone method to configure and launch ScreamerNet LWSN, just use the previous interactive method – Drag-and-drop Rendering using the FREE Lite Version of DreamLight SNUB-Launcher as a Droplet.
For an in-depth discussion and explanation of each of LightWave’s available command line parameters, please review LightWave 3D ScreamerNet LWSN Command Line Parameters.
/Applications/Utilities/Terminalon Mac OS X or Start->Command Prompt on Windows.
- Type the following into the command line, all on one line, substituting your actual username for userx. Then press the return key.
Command Line on Mac OS X
"/Applications/NewTek/LightWave3D_2015.2/bin/lwsn" -2 -c"/Users/userx/Library/Application Support/NewTek/LightWave/2015.2/" -d"/Users/userx/Documents/DLI_SuperBalls/" "/Users/userx/Documents/DLI_SuperBalls/Commands/job1" "/Users/userx/Documents/DLI_SuperBalls/Commands/ack1"
Command Line on Windows
"C:\Program Files\NewTek\LightWave_2015.2\bin\lwsn" -2 -c"C:\Users\userx\.NewTek\LightWave\2015.2" -d"C:\Users\userx\Documents\DLI_SuperBalls" "C:\Users\userx\Documents\DLI_SuperBalls\Scenes\Commands\job1" "C:\Users\userx\Documents\DLI_SuperBalls\Scenes\Commands\ack1"
- It should identify itself as “CPU number: 1” in the terminal/command window and start reporting “Can’t access job file.” because the job file has not yet been created.
Manually Rendering the Batch with LightWave 3D Layout’s Built-in Network Render Panel
Another way to render batch scenes with ScreamerNet LWSN is to use the built-in Network Render panel (or Render-Q). For a much easier and more flexible method to render batch scenes in ScreamerNet LWSN, just use the previous interactive method – Drag and Drop Batch Rendering with DreamLight Constellation.
If you wish to stop the rendering before it is finished, press the Escape key while the Network Rendering panel is in the foreground, then hit the Screamer Shutdown button. This will stop rendering new frames and will quit the ScreamerNet nodes once they finish rendering their current frame. If a ScreamerNet node crashes during loading a scene, or reports “ignoring duplicate command”, the Network Rendering panel may get stuck and may not recover. In such an instance you can force Quit LightWave Layout with Command-Option-Esc on Mac OS X or Command-Alt-Delete on Windows. To quit a ScreamerNet lwsn node before it finishes rendering a frame, bring its Terminal/Command window to the foreground and close the window.
When using LightWave 3D Layout’s built-in Network Render panel (or batch Render-Q), once rendering starts you can no longer make changes to the scene queue or use LightWave 3D Layout for anything else. For more flexible batch/network rendering use the FREE LITE version of DreamLight Constellation instead.
- Launch LightWave 3D Layout.
- Open the Render->Utilities->Network Render panel.
- Click the Command Directory button and set it to the
Commandsfolder inside the DLI_SuperBalls prebuilt sample content folder.
- Set the Maximum CPU Number to
- Click the Screamer Init button.
- Click OK when the dialog appears stating: “One available ScreamerNet CPU was detected.” You should now see the ScreamerNet node write “LightWave command: wait.” and “sendack: Ready” to the Terminal/Command window. You’ll also see 1 CPU listed in the Network Rendering panel with a status of “Ready.”
- Click the Add Scene to List button and add the scene:
- Hit the Screamer Render button and the ScreamerNet node will begin rendering frames.
- As each frame is finished, it will be written to the RGB output directory that was set in the scene.