I'm trying to populate a sports stadium model with fans. I created a polygon for each row of seats and mapped image sequences (approx 10 secs with a ping pong action) to the polygons. For randomness, I've got close to 25 different sequences. Throw in alpha channels and it's a lot of images.
This works. It's just that when I go to use Net Render it takes about 6 hours to just save out the project because of the 10's of thousands of images in the image sequences.
I then decided to try using QT movies (mp4's) instead so that there weren't so many files but I load in about 20 movies (40 counting alphas) and all of a sudden, the movies don't load. They come in black and when I render, it says they're missing. The movies are only 350K.
I've had problems using Quicktime movies as textures in C4D - especially on NetRender. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn't...and sometimes it stops working after it had worked already....I have yet to figure it out. The solution I found was to keep the animation as PNG sequences (with alpha included), which it sounds like you've been doing. They seem to be the most reliable...only thing I could recommend is to take down the frames per second on your sequences, not to mention their physical dimension. This could reduce the files size(s) considerably.
Are they close to the camera?...enough to ruin the "illusion" if you were to follow the above suggestions?
Yeah, this is why I originally tried using image sequences! Although, the problem isn't in net render. And, I didn't use png's. I used jpg's and then used jpgs for the alpha, which is doubling the amount of images obviously. I'll try it with the pngs. It's still a ton of files but if it cuts down the time in half, I guess that's better than where I am now!
As far as the dimensions, unfortunately, I'll be getting kind of close so I have to keep those big enough.
You can have problems with .mov if you have different versions of QT on your network computers. But in any case, it's really better to use image sequences.
I've been working on a project where I have several multishaders loaded with 47+ jpeg sequences of around 330 frames each (200x200 or 800x800). It's not taking nearly as long as yours, but we're using a custom render manager and not C4D NET. I've also been collecting the files (save project) and then manually copying the whole thing to the network drive.
It's actually running very fast. Shots are 1080P, 100 - 500 frames, and they are rendering in a matter of minutes on about 30 12-core machines.
Adam, we're thinking about buying Smedge, not sure if this will help in this certain case. Interesting about the different versions of QT screwing things up but like I said earlier, I haven't had any problems with net render in this case, it's all in the saving of the project or the fact that c4d just doesn't like the .mov's.
I guess i could just save the project out once and then keep all of those image sequence files on the server and possibly not have to export them everytime I save the project? Those image files wouldn't change from file to file, just camera motions etc. Not sure how c4d handles that, maybe I have to strip out all of the materials before I save the project? I'll have to test that, something tells me that this won't work but it's worth a shot I guess.
You can use explicit file paths in your textures as long as all of the clients can find the files on the network. If not ... not so much. That's what we've been doing in this project (after we got tired of copying terabytes of files) and it's worked quite well ... except when it hasn't. ;)