Farmer joe

Ever wanted to render your fresh blender animation in full glory but refrained of doing so because of the long waiting time? Or you just wished you could involve that other computer that’s doing nothing while you’re waiting for your rendering? 🙂

There are several distributed rendering solutions for Blender. I once tried out DrQueue. DrQueue seems like a very powerful tool, but a bit troublesome to set up imho (on windows). I never got a working solution. When reading up on the blendernation post, FarmerJoe immediately seemed a very pragmatic and practical solution to me, accessible for the average joe. 😉 The whole thing is written in Perl, remarkably. 🙂 (except for the blender interface of course, which is python) So I tried it out, and indeed, after a few minutes, I was rendering a movie on 2 computers. It wasn’t a matter of seconds however, since I had some trouble configuring the windows share with non-default values.

The script assumes you use the R drive for sharing between clients/server but this drive letter is already taken in my case. So I put it on S:. Unfortunately, the blender script didn’t seem to adopt my drive letter, even after altering the initialization code in the python source. When I hard-coded the path everywhere, it worked. 🙂

A more interesting thing to me, seemed the support for bucket rendering, as the author calls it. Instead of dividing the frames of a movie over several slaves, FarmerJoe supports dividing a frame into several tiles, which are glued together afterwards (using imagemagick I believe). Unfortunately, there too, I received scripting errors, which I thought would probably be related again to my non-standard setup. I didn’t have the time anymore to check out the source, but I will follow-up on this post when it’s resolved!

UPDATE (20h47)

Heh, I figured it out. 🙂 Of course, it was all my fault. 😉

First of all, it seemed I didn’t see the full FarmerJoe gui. The FarmerJoe gui’s layout is deceiving in that there is a lot of space below the button on the bottom, while I didn’t see the top of the gui! I did try scaling it like the rest of Blender’s gui but I don’t know if that normally works on script gui’s.. So if you see the full gui, you can enter the farmerjoe path in a text box instead of having to edit the source. This doesn’t explain why editing the initial value of that text box didn’t make it work, oh well..

Secondly, I read in the code comments that the bucket render script does not have to be executed separately; it is called from within the main farmerjoe script! So you still need to put it in your scripts folder, which makes it show up in the blender script menu, but you can’t execute it. Also, if you want farmer joe to split your frames into pieces, you may only give him one frame. You can do that by setting your start and end frame accordingly. See here:

anim_setting

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