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Mental Ray Satellite Setup OS X

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Mental Ray Satellite Setup OS X
on Jul 27, 2007 at 6:58:51 pm

I spent a half of a day trying to setup Mental Ray Satellite and finally figured it out so I thought I would share the process to anyone that is searching for information the way I was. This setup is specific to OS X and Maya 8.5 (running SP1).

Install MR Satellite on all the "slave" machines that you will be using. You can confirm the installation through the terminal -- check the documentation that comes with the install for the specifics (it's pretty simple.)

Make sure you disable the software firewall (if it's running) in "System Preferences/Sharing" on ALL of the machines.

Next create a plain text document called "maya.rayhosts" and place it in your "/Users/user/Library/Preferences/Autodesk/maya/8.5/prefs". The document should list the machines and the ports they are using. In my case I used the IP address associated with them (though I think you can also use the Machine Name.) It should look something like this:

If you are using a router (in my case its a linksys wireless router -- though I'm not using the wireless connection) make sure to open the correct ports to the machines listed in the "maya.rayhosts" document. The default port for 8.5 is "7106" -- its different for older versions of Maya so be aware. If you plan to change it to something else you need to alter some other files -- check the documentation that came with the MR Satellite install for details.

Make sure your "slave" machines are running and not set to sleep. Launch Maya and choose the Batch Render options tab. Click the "Render on Network Machines" tab at the bottom and then select Batch Render.

I've noticed that the first frame always takes the longest and then after that once the rendering starts, the subsequent frames seem to go much faster. You have to account for the initialization of MR on all the "slave" machines, but once that has finished the processing is pretty fast.

In my situation (and configuration), I honestly don't think it's a ton faster than just rendering directly from and to the "master" machine but I do notice a small jump in speed -- especially when I choose to render on both the "local" and "network machines" at the same time. Overall I think it's worth it especially if you want to be rendering and free up all the processing power on the "master" machine to continue working.

On another note...

I've also been trying to get Qmaster to work and I've discovered that it doesn't support MR Satellite -- you need to have a licensed version of Maya on every "cluster" machine for Qmaster to do distributed MR processing.

The other thing I cant seem to sort out with Qmaster (and if anyone knows the answer please post a reply) is that when I do a Mental Ray batch it's as if the shaders on the geometry aren't being recognized for some reason. The frames that are rendered are black. The weird thing is that the background (a layered shader network using a sky tile texture) and a particle system using the default particle shader shows up in the final render but the main object in the scene (along with the ground plane) both using "normal" file textures show up black. I'm using Global Illumination and Final Gather. I have default lights turned off and I'm illuminating with an HDRI image. The frame renders fine when I do it using Maya Batch Render (solo or network), but for some reason using Qmaster/Compressor gives me these incomplete frames! It's really driving me crazy trying to figure out why it's doing this.

Anyway, I hope this information can help someone else out there.

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Re: Mental Ray Satellite Setup OS X
on Sep 5, 2007 at 4:48:13 pm

thanks for your post,

i am not sure how to open ports 7106 in the router,
i mean usually i open ports or forward ports when i am making an FTP server..and external signal comes..

but with mental ray, the connection between two machines..??
where i do that in linksys configuration port?

thanks for help.
i would like to test also network rendering.

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Re: Mental Ray Satellite Setup OS X
on Sep 5, 2007 at 6:15:39 pm

i got this error with rendering on network machine.

mental ray for Maya 8.5
mental ray: version, 22 Nov 2006, revision 19663
mental ray: mental ray for Maya - startup done
File read in 0 seconds.
Result: /Volumes/work1/ MAYA_SCRATCH_2/untitled__248.mb
mental ray: got 8 satellite CPUs.
// mental ray for Maya: using rayhosts file /Users/jo_graphix/Library/Preferences/Autodesk/maya/8.5/prefs//maya.rayhosts
MSG 0.0 error 011330: mi-ray/tcp: not a service (check /etc/services)
MSG 0.0 warn 012219: using fallback inet service 7003
MSG 0.0 error 011227: unknown hostname {rtf1macansicpg10000cocoartf824cocoasubrtf410 - check /etc/hosts (or alike)
MSG 0.0 error 011706: cannot add host {rtf1macansicpg10000cocoartf824cocoasubrtf410:7003
MSG 0.0 error 011227: unknown hostname {fonttblf0fswissfcharset77 - check /etc/hosts (or alike)
MSG 0.0 error 011706: cannot add host {fonttblf0fswissfcharset77:7003
MSG 0.0 error 011227: unknown hostname {colortbl;red255green255blue255;} - check /etc/hosts (or alike)
MSG 0.0 error 011706: cannot add host {colortbl;red255green255blue255;}:7003
MSG 0.0 error 011227: unknown hostname paperw11900paperh16840margl1440margr1440vieww9000viewh8400viewkind0 - check /etc/hosts (or alike)
MSG 0.0 error 011706: cannot add host paperw11900paperh16840margl1440margr1440vieww9000viewh8400viewkind0:7003
MSG 0.0 error 011227: unknown hostname pardtx566tx1133tx1700tx2267tx2834tx3401tx3968tx4535tx5102tx5669tx6236tx6803qlqnaturalpardirnatural - check /etc/hosts (or alike)
MSG 0.0 error 011706: cannot add host pardtx566tx1133tx1700tx2267tx2834tx3401tx3968tx4535tx5102tx5669tx6236tx6803qlqnaturalpardirnatural:7003
MSG 0.0 error 011227: unknown hostname f0fs24 - check /etc/hosts (or alike)
MSG 0.0 error 011706: cannot add host f0fs24:7003
Warning: (Mayatomr) : mental ray has reported errors, see the log

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keith  mcgregor
Re: Mental Ray Satellite Setup OS X
on Dec 3, 2007 at 7:57:10 pm

Ah Ha! I have been searching for something like this! I am runnung the same as you and need to change my rayhost file. I have not been able to find any examples and have been scouring the help docs. I have followed what it says but I still am unclear how to edit rayhost and rayrc files. I need to know what it is supposed to look like, you have started but it still seems incomplete to me. I understand that you can use computer name? and not address? But I still don't know how it ias to be formatted. Do I need brackets? What other symbols do I need? I have seen many, many posts related to this subject but have found littl to no answers. If you could show the completed file and it's symbols it would help a lot of others out there! Thanking you in advance because Autodesk will not provide the minute details.
Thanx! ~Keith

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Joe Laude
Re: Mental Ray Satellite Setup OS X
on Jul 10, 2009 at 3:02:13 am

I've having trouble with getting our render farm to work, so first let me thank the OP for the tips. Autodesk's documentation often reads like they're expecting you to know all this stuff already, and their documentation is only a reminder (not always a lot of help for a poor compositor who volunteered to set up our small studio's render farm).

For anyone else who is curious like the above poster, the maya.rayhosts file is nothing more than a plain text file, with nothing in it but either the IP addresses or computer names, with the port number. Like this:




You don't need anything else in the file, and don't save it with an extension. By default, TextEdit in OSX, which I'm using, adds the extention unless you tell it not to. At first I inadvertently saved it with an extension, then removed the extension, but OSX was still treating it like a .txt file, and Maya was ignoring it. I deleted that version and made a new one, explicitly saving it *without* an extension, and it worked.

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Joe Laude
Re: Mental Ray Satellite Setup OS X
on Jul 10, 2009 at 3:04:48 am

Oops. That example with the computer names should have said


At least that works for Macs, not sure about Windows or Linux. And you can mix and match IPs and computer names as well.

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Brett Schnacky
Re: Mental Ray Satellite Setup OS X
on Mar 28, 2012 at 8:32:19 pm

Installing Mental Ray Satellite for Maya 2012 (Mac OS X)

Slave Setup

Open the mrsat3.9.1.dmg

Drag the mrsat3.9.1.mpkg to the desktop and right click on the icon. Click show package contents.

Navigate to Contents/Resources and drag the two .pkg files to the desktop. These files are:


Open terminal and type:

sudo -s

This makes you a super user. Now install the two .pkg files from terminal. Do this by typing:

installer -pkg -target /

You can drag the .pkg icon into terminal after typing '-pkg' to auto enter the location. Also '/' means that your targeting the root HD. Typing '/' installs the .pkg to the default directory for whatever it is your installing. Since this is MentalRay Satellite, it will auto install to the applications directory.

Verify RaySat2012 Is Running

The mental ray satellite service on Mac OS X is run and managed by

Apple includes a useful command-line tool for monitoring and
managing launchd services: /bin/launchctl. Admin privileges are
required to query or change the mental ray satellite service so
you must authorize the command with sudo.

In Terminal, type:

sudo launchctl list

to list all available launchd services available on your Mac.
(This does not include services or agents running at a
user/non-Admin level.) If mental ray satellite is properly
installed it will show up in the list with the job-label
If the label is present then the mental ray satellite launchd
service is properly installed. If it is running it will have
created a log file at "/tmp/mi-raysat2012.log" -- connection
attempts will be logged to this file.

The launchd service can be loaded, unloaded, started, or stopped
using the launchctl utility.

Slave machine port setup

Port number 7411 is set by default. To change the port number
used by mental ray satellite, you must edit the services file, then restart the server.

To change the port number (Windows, Linux)

1. Edit the services file with a text editor.

The services file is located at:
* (Windows XP) C:Windowssystem32driversetcservices
* (Linux) /etc/services
2. Change the number in the following line (here, 7412) to the desired port number:

mi-raysat2012 7412/tcp

To change the port number (Mac OS X 10.4, Tiger)

1. Log in as superuser (sudo -s).
2. Open the file /etc/services using your preferred text editor.
3. Edit the line: mi-raysat2012 7412/tcp.
4. Save the file.
5. From the Apple Finder menu, select Go > Applications and then double-click the Utilities folder.
6. Double-click the NetInfo Manager icon.
7. Under the Services directory of the NetInfo database, find and select the appropriate service (mental ray Satellite 3.9.1 for Maya 2012).
8. Click the lock icon at the bottom of the panel and then enter your administrator user name and password. This allows you to unlock the NetInfo database and make changes.
9. Select the port field and change its value to the desired port number.
10. Click the lock icon again when you're done.
11. From the Apple Finder menu, select Domain > Save Changes to commit your changes to the NetInfo database.
12. Reboot your machine.

To change the port number (Mac OS X 10.6, Snow Leopard)

1. Log in as superuser (sudo -s).
2. Open the file /etc/services using your preferred text editor.
3. Edit the line: mi-raysat2012 7412/tcp.
4. Save the file.
5. Open a Terminal window and do the following:

sudo /usr/bin/dscl . -change /Services/mi-raysat2012port

For example:

sudo /usr/bin/dscl . -change /Services/mi-raysat2012 port 7310 7411

Note: To determine the port you're currently using, in a Terminal window, type:
/bin/dscl . -read /Services/mi-raysat2012

6. Reboot your machine.

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