Artist Guide for Using The Render Network
[Note: Please see the Render Network User Manual for general information about the network]
1. Preparing a Scene
Checking Octane Version
Currently the Render Network Client is OctaneRender 2022.1 and should be backwards compatible with supported Stable versions of OctaneRender. New features in RC or XB versions of OctaneRender will not be supported until they are available in a stable release. To ensure compatibility, please check your scene in OctaneRender Standalone 2022.1 prior to job creation.
The Render Network updates regularly to support the latest Stable Edition of OctaneRender, so please regularly check the version of the The Render Network client. Again, experimental Builds (XB's) and Release Candidates (RC's) are not fully supported on The Render Network, so scenes using new XB or RC features may not render properly. You can view the latest version of OctaneRender here: https://help.otoy.com/hc/en-us/articles/214154363-Get-the-Latest-Edition-of-Octane
To use The Render Network, a scene needs to be exported as an ORBX file using OctaneRender Standalone or any of the supported OctaneRender Plugin Integrations. Checking a scene and optimizing a scene first in Octane Standalone prior to uploading to The Render Network is recommended to avoid re-renders or unnecessary costs. Please consult OctaneRender Documentation for complete instructions about how to use OctaneRender as well as information about packaging ORBX Scenes.
For scenes created using an Octane plugin, it is especially recommended to first check importing the ORBX scene file in OctaneRender Standalone prior to uploading it to The Render Network. Importing an ORBX scene in OctaneRender Standalone allows you to confirm that there are no missing elements, and that a scene is configured correctly prior to spending The Render Network tokens on a render job. If you have issues with exporting ORBX files contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
- To check how an exported scene looks in Octane Standalone, simply to open file, choose Render Target and lock the perspective. This prevents you from accidentally moving the camera. All of this takes couple of minutes (sometimes more if scene is very complex and loading time is longer).
- Please note: Octane Render Passes need to be selected as well - this is important to check for plugin integrations like Cinema4D.
For more information please refer to OctaneRender documentation and articles;
- Working with Files and Geometry in OctaneRender Standalone
- ORBX Exporting and Importing in OctaneRender for Unity
- OctaneRender for Maya: Export to ORBX
- Getting Started with OctaneRender Cloud
Working with Particles, Attributes and Dynamics:
In programs like Cinema4D and Houdini - when users often work with plugins for particle effects - some additional baking may be needed to use The Render Network. This tutorial created by artist Andrey Lebrov, walks you through the process of working with particles and attributes in Cinema4D for use on the The Render Network network.
For more information about exporting ORBX Scenes from Cinema4D, please see this guide below:
You can also find documentation for exporting ORBX Scenes from Cinema4D in the 'Octane Cloud Rendering' section of the OctaneRender for Cinema4D manual [Copyright Ahmet Oktar].
2. Upload ORBX Scene for Rendering
Using Octane Standalone or any of the OctaneRender supported plugins, export your scene as an ORBX file. Then navigate to the Scenes page by clicking on the Scenes tab in the top right. Click on the cloud icon and select an OctaneRender Package File (files with .orbx extensions).
Security Note: When you are uploading Scenes to The Render Network, each file is encrypted during the uploading process and cannot be retrieved once on The Render Network. As a result, The Render Network does not fully function as cloud storage and we encourage storing a backup of your work internally.
Uploading a Scene from an Octane DCC Integration
This process varies for some OctaneRender plugins that are more deeply integrated into the Host 3D Content Creation tool. For example, with Cinema4D, please consult the 'Octane Cloud Rendering' section of the OctaneRender for Cinema4D manual.
3. Create a Job for Rendering
Once you have uploaded your Scene, you will find it on the Scenes page. There you can create Jobs, delete Scenes, or sort Scenes by either date, name, or status.
When you have a scene to render, you can create a Job. To begin this process click the 'Create a Job' button your scene. You will be redirected to the ‘Create a Job’ page, where will have several options.
- # of Samples: Just like in OctaneRender, this sets the maximum number of samples per pixel before the rendering process stops. The higher the number of samples per pixel, the cleaner the render. It is important to test your preferred sample settings prior to cloud rendering in order to find the optimal amount of samples a render requires to achieve desired results. If you set your sample settings too low you may have an unusable noisy render, and conversely, if your sample settings are too high, you may be incurring cloud rendering costs with diminishing returns.
- Resolution: This must be between 1 and up to 65000 for both width and height.
- Select Frames: Range of frames you want to render (can be single frame, a range, or mix of ranges)
- Advanced Options: This is where you can configure the jobs name and animation settings.
4. Select an Output
You have several options for the Format and the Output Naming Format. To change the format, simply click on the format you want. To change the Output Naming Format just enter one or more of the Output Naming Options in the field on the left.
Output Format Recommendation for The Render Network: Very large file sizes can reduce speeds and increase costs. This is especially true when working with high resolutions, high numbers of render passes, high bit-rate output formats or multiple outputs. To increase processing speed, reduce download times, and even increase responsiveness in composition tools, The Render Network recommends to work with the lossy compressed file format EXR DWAA or DWAB when using the network.
- The standard was contributed by DreamWorks Animation. The reduction in size is up to 10x and the file size of a 32-Bit EXR image is roughly the same as a 8-Bit PNG which results in much better dynamic range for the end result. Tools like Adobe After Effects are also reported to be more responsive in recent versions when working with compressed files.
- DWA in OpenEXR is actually two compression options, DWAA and DWAB. They use the same algorithm, but DWAA compresses pixels in blocks of 32 scanlines, while DWAB does 256 scanlines. Bundling more lines together lets DWAB compress more efficiently and increases performance when the entire entire image is read at once, as most programs do. Meanwhile, DWAA's smaller bundles make it more efficient for reading just a few scanlines at a time, as Nuke usually does." source: https://fnordware.blogspot.com/2014/08/dwa-compression-in-openexr-22.html
- For more information on EXR Data Compression types please read this article
- The following video is an excellent tutorial about EXR outputs and workflows by OctaneRender artist Raphael Rau (Silverwing VFX).
5. Configure Network Settings
Select the tier you would like your work to be processed at. For now, only Tier 2 or Tier 3 are available. Tier 2 provides queue priority rendering across decentralized nodes, while Tier 3 provides the most economic rendering solution. You can learn more about The Render Network Multi-Tier pricing here.
6. Generate a Cost Estimate
Artists are able to generate a cost estimate for a render by providing their local hardware’s OctaneBench (OB) score and the time it takes to render one frame before sending the render job out to the network. This is to avoid final job cost exceeding the amount of tokens that were temporarily held for rendering. If the amount of work exceeds the amount of tokens in your account, a render will be paused and you will be prompted to add more tokens into your account.
To generate a The Render Network estimate, download the latest version of OctaneBench: http://octanebench.com and run the application to get your system's OctaneBench score. Then render a single frame or range of frames from your scene, to see how long a frame takes to render. It is recommended to render the most complex frames from a scene in order to generate an upper bound of rendering times.
It is important to note that estimates are just an approximation, as there are often significant frame to frame disparities in rendering work that cannot be projected prior to completing rendering work. Working off an upper bound, limits the potential that your rendering costs will exceed the amount of tokens you have in your account.
7. Adding Tokens to Your Account
If you have insufficient funds to process a job, you will have to add tokens to your account in order to submit the job. Additionally, if you run out of The Render Network in your account while your job is in progress, your job will be paused until you add more tokens to your account.
You can add The Render Network tokens to your account using Metamask - please see a guide for this here.
IMPORTANT: If you are using The Render Network Tokens, please use the new The Render Network contract address: 0x6de037ef9ad2725eb40118bb1702ebb27e4aeb24
You can read information about migrating tokens to the new address here, the The Render Network interface will also prompt you to migrate if you have not done so already.
8. Review and Approve Frames
Artists are able to review frames as they are rendered with a full watermarked preview. This allows an artist to ensure their renders are properly executed. Additionally, artists have the ability to watch an animated preview, and can control how long each frame is displayed once a job is completed.
[Click on the Full Preview button for Full Frame Preview with watermark]
You can also view a rendered outputs as an animated sequence by selecting to play frames as video icon, where you can control how fast the animation runs in the "Playback Options" section (see below).
As Frames are rendered or after a job has been completed you can individually approve or reject each frame. You can also approve frames in batch sequences. For example, at frame 1000, you can approve all previous frames from 0-1000 in one click. Once a frame is approved, the tokens will be debited and used to pay for the approved frames. Once you have successfully paid for a frame, you can download the frames in your Artist Portal.
You can approve frames individually frame-by-frame or select all frames, or a larger sequence of frames by "selecting all" (see graphic). This can happen during or after the job is complete.
Please note that if no approval or rejection of frames or frame sequences is given within 72 hours of Job completion, all frames will be automatically approved.
In some cases, you will need to add The Render Network Tokens or currency in order to download the approved frames. See Here for more information on adding Tokens or currency to your account.
9. Requesting a New Node
Occasionally a frame may take a long time to finish because the node has difficulty processing the frame. After a period of time the frame will be sent to a new node to be completed. However, if you want to expedite this process so that your job can complete, you can Request a New Node by selecting the highlighted area below in the preview window. Doing this will send the frame to a new node. Please note that if the frame is currently in progress, you will have to pay for this frame to be sent to a new node. It is recommended to use only sparingly - for example if your job is 97-99% complete and you are on deadline, with some frames taking time to finish. For frames that are stuck and not in progress, 'Requesting a New Node' does not cause you to incur additional costs. For all other instances, please email email@example.com for help.
Select the Individual Frame or Sequence of Frames and click Reject. Once a Frame is Rejected, it will automatically be sent to another node on the network to be re-rendered. You will not be charged additional The Render Network for this work. However, you will also not be allowed to modify the frame or sequence in any way. Jobs should only be rejected if there was an error processing the frame like black frames, partially rendered frames, or broken frames.
After three failed re-renders, a job will be terminated and a support ticket will be automatically created. A support team member will review the failure and follow up. For support inquiries please contact firstname.lastname@example.org
Cancellation vs Frame Rejection
If, for example, you want to modify the Sample rate or change elements in a scene like the camera, lighting, color etc., please cancel the Job, make the changes and Submit a new Job to be processed. This means it is very important to check a Job prior to rendering.
All correctly processed rendering work will be paid for as the network needs to compensate miners for their work in order to be sustainable. See Job Cancellation FAQ’s in the General FAQ for more details on cancelling scenes you no longer want rendered.
Frames Automatically Approved After 72 Hours
If no Approval or Rejection of frames is given within 72 Hours after Job completion, all frames will automatically be approved. The Render Network is a two-sided network of Miners and Artists, and Miners who have hard infrastructure costs need to receive Tokens in a timely manner so that they are able to maintain operations. For this reason, release of tokens needs to be expedient. With rapid confirmation, Miners are able to more easily use the network, building critical GPU supply that is intended to lower costs and increase availability for Artists.
Adding Tokens or Currency to Download Frames
It is not possible to estimate Job costs with 100% accuracy prior to actually doing the rendering work. Often times there is significant variance in the rendering work required between frames as things like the camera positioning, lighting, and a host of other factors change from one frame to another. For this reason, the Tokens in the locking smart contract are only a base estimation, and the actual rendering work will occasionally exceed the initial estimation.
When a job exceeds Tokens in the locking smart contract, it will automatically be paused, and a notification will pop up asking you to add Tokens or currency to your account. All the frames that are currently in progress will be rendered, which may lead to a negative balance. You will not be able to download approved frames until the your balance is no longer negative. Once paid for and approved, completed frames can be downloaded. In order to continue a job, you will need to add Tokens or currency to your account and resume the render.
Jobs can be cancelled at any point and "in-progress" frames can also be cancelled. However, you will have to pay for partial work on 'in progress' frames as well as any frames that are completed prior to cancellation. This ensures that miners are compensated for their rendering work. All rendered work is compensated so it is important to monitor a job and check frames.
10. Downloading and Sharing Completed Frames
Sharing and downloading animated Jobs can be done after a job is paid and downloaded through the side toolbar. The functions include: playing outputs as an animation, downloading outputs, sharing outputs, duplicating the job for new renders.
Downloading and Sharing a Job operate similarly. When either function is selected, it will redirect you to another page where you will be able to select the range of frames and output format(s) that you want to download/share.
Once you have done that, click on the button below and you will be redirected to a page where you need to approve any pending work first. If approved, the release of Tokens from the locking smart contract to the nodes is triggered and you are granted access to download the final, watermark free images.
In the case of sharing your Job you will be redirected to this same page but will also have a link that you can give out at the top of the page.
If approved, the release of tokens from the locking smart contract to the nodes is triggered and you can download the final, watermark free images. If declined, you cannot download unwatermarked full resolution outputs.
Please Note: The Render Network should not be used for long term storage. Rendered outputs will be deleted a week after a job has been confirmed, and the ORBX scene will be deleted 10-days after a job has been completed. As a result, it is important to save copies of files you would like to keep locally.