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Problem Rendering

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Wagster
Problem Rendering
on Jun 10, 2007 at 7:11:18 pm

I'm running Maya 8.5 on a Mac G5. I'll be working with no problems, but when I need to render I go to batch render in the menu and nothing happens. It doesn't matter if I press the options box, nothing happens. And no new commands appear in the script editor.

Now, as it happens, I can fix this by just saving, quitting out, and opening Maya again, but obviously this is a time-consuming pain. Has anyone had this experience before? Any fixes?

New York-based Editor-Compositor


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Chad Briggs
Re: Problem Rendering
on Jun 11, 2007 at 12:06:57 pm

Sounds like possibly a memory issue? how much ram you got in the machine? If you've used maya for a while and being working on stuff, sometimes the memory can go pretty high on large scenes, and you have to shut it down to clear the memory before things work right again. Shot in the dark, but thats my best guess.
-chad


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Wagster
Re: Problem Rendering
on Jun 11, 2007 at 3:33:29 pm

I'm not bad on RAM... 2.25GB and the scene isn't huge. I'll keep trying things.

New York-based Editor-Compositor


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Sean Fennell
Re: Problem Rendering
on Jun 11, 2007 at 8:13:31 pm

One solution is to not use the batch render menu item. You'll probably find yourself rendering a lot. Its best to get familiar with the maya batch render commands that you can use in a shell prompt. (in fact you can make shelf buttons that will run your renders for you probably better than the menu item would)

To find the command and a list of arguements (you can control almost everything from the command line) look in the Help documentation under
Rendering and Render Setup
...Rendering Utilities
...Command line renderer

This is what I suggest most people learn if they will be doing much rendering. Every studio I know uses this for rendering, not the interface batch rendering.


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Glenn Moore
Re: Problem Rendering...Sean???
on Jun 12, 2007 at 4:49:56 am

So you're saying a render is not a render? Why would the command line approach be better? I had no idea. I always thought of command line stuff as an option for the programmer types. This actually makes Maya run more efficiently?

Sorry to hijack the thread.

Glenn


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Sean Fennell
Re: Problem Rendering...Sean???
on Jun 12, 2007 at 5:20:58 am

I'm not saying running the command line will be more efficient. Though you could argue that it makes starting the renders more efficient.

I wouldn't say it is for programming types, but it is a slightly more advanced way to start and manage your renders. Take two simple examples.

I want to render a 1/2 res version of a shot that takes about 15 minutes to load into maya(not including the 2 minutes it sometimes takes maya to start). I have to launch maya and load the scene. Finally, I have to set the render settings and either save a new version of the file, or save the 1/2 res render settings into this file, and remember to change them back when I go to do the final render. Thats a good 20 minutes of work.

Check the example out when you use the command line render command. Assuming your maya file is named myFile.ma (or .mb) and your full resolution would be 720 x 486:
Render -renderer sw -percentRes 0.5 myFile.ma

You must leave the shell open once you run this command, but it will output some very usefull information, far more than you'd see if you ran the batch render from within maya. The render command will use all the render globals settings that are not overridden using command line flags. This command took seconds to write. You could even put it into an executable text file and double click it. That way you know the command will always be the same. No more waiting 20 minutes to change the resolution of the render. If you want to render full res again you don't have to reopen the file and change the render globals. Just take the -percentRes 0.5 off and you render full res.

It also uses less memory because when you use the batch render menu item, that spawns a completely new separate render process. So what you have is your scene open in maya taking however much memory it takes. You also have a second maya version running silently in the background actually rendering, using the same amount of memory. Unless you close the interactive maya session after launching your batch render, you'll use twice as much memory as if you used a render script.

Take this second example:
I have a complex shot broken into 15 different maya files. Each take about 5 - 20 minutes to open based on complexity. I need to render each one of them for a delivery. It would be very combersome to open all of these files and launch a batch render. Especially waiting until one completely finished until starting the next. With the command line render you can stack these render commands to run one after the other by putting them into an executable text file (called a script):

on windows create a new text file. rename the extension '.cmd' without the quotes.
On linux create a new text file and change its permissions to executable by running chmod +x fileName

enter this into the file:

render -renderer sw scene1.ma
render -renderer sw scene2.ma
render -renderer mr scene3.ma
...
render -renderer sw scene15.ma

when you double click (or execute the script in a shell on linux) the text file it will launch the first command it encounters in the file. Once that render is finished it will continue onto the next render automatically until it finishes the final command. If an error is encountered in one of your renders which causes it to exit the other render commands will still run.

This workflow is priceless for people running a lot of renders. It may be a little tricky to set up, but once it works it is so much better than opening a maya file to render it.

Also note that there are a LOT of command flags that let you override almost every aspect of the render globals. This way you can tweak your render settings without launching your maya scene, run multiple versions at different resolutions, also control exactly where your images go and what they are named. It is there for a reason.

It wont run your renders faster, but it will make it easier for you to control your rendering.


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Chad Briggs
Re: Problem Rendering...Sean???
on Jun 12, 2007 at 2:53:24 pm

Hey sean! Long time no talky! Good to see that your coming up for air. Since were on the topic of command line rendering, i'm going to hijak the thread yet again :)

Does anyone know how to get maya's software rendering engine to spit out verbose mode progress reports like it does in the program when you batch render (or render a still frame for that matter). What i mean by that is when you do it from the app, it says 10% done of frame blah.00.sgi From the command prompt it does not. There used to be a verbose switch in the render globals way back in the day, but this his disspeared somehwere along the way. I've asked around, and nobody seems to know (or care) how to do this. Maybe i'm just too information greedy. Mental ray does this by turning on progress message in the mental ray section of the render globals, but maya software is nowhere to be found..

Just thought i'd chime in while we were on the topic.
-chad


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Sean Fennell
Re: Problem Rendering...Sean???
on Jun 12, 2007 at 5:48:14 pm

Yeah that option went away around version 3 or 4 and has never come back. Perhaps old Alias found performance issues with it.


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Glenn Moore
Re: Problem Rendering
on Jun 13, 2007 at 4:27:57 am

Thanks for the explanation, Sean. That does make sense. I need an aspirin about now after reading that twice but I get it.

Glenn


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