I'm working on a project in CS5 on an iMac (I know, not idea for mograph work). It's a 2.93 GHz quad i7 with 8 GB of RAM, a Radeon 5750 w/ 1 GB VRAM. I have media on an external FW800, and I have AE using 2 cores for multi-threading with 2 GB RAM allocated per core. The final project will have one 3D camera pushing through, with each individual compartmentalized project moving past the camera while retaining 3D layers and full resolution. To make it manageable, I broke it up into those sections, some of which have over 100 animated layers, and rendered near 4K resolution due to not being able to retain a fully functional workflow to retain collapse transformations/continuously rasterize throughout (final output is 720P, but all of the elements fly directly past the camera and need to retain resolution).
So, the problem is that for this project I don't have the ability to upgrade the RAM or get a Mac Pro. A couple of the more complex projects page out to over 3 GB of virtual memory. The one I was working on last night hit over 6.4 GB of page outs--AE and the aefslinks were all using more virtual memory than physical. I'll scale that one back for sure, but my concern is what will happen when I integrate all of the segmented projects into the master project. I have access to some PC workstations w/o AE licenses, but I would like to setup a render farm for AE. I know that the render nodes are free licenses and they don't need AE installed, but I know that some plugins have to be installed at the render nodes as well. Can someone tell me which ones? I'm heavily using Trapcode Suite, and a couple of projects are using DuIK, Droste & C2 VeeYou EQ/VU.
All effects and fonts must be installed on all render nodes. Scripts (like DuIK) need not be installed on the render nodes. I believe CoreMelt is Mac-only.
If you have a lot of layers in your comps, your AE renders will be very RAM-intensive. You may be better off disabling multiprocessing entirely. Be sure to leave a health amount of RAM (maybe 2 GB or more) for other applications to minimize the chance of page-outs.
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I've been googling for info about Trapcode Suite, and found some threads from back in 2004 with a link to a free app that would allow Trapcode to render on the render nodes. It was called TrapcodeRegisterApp, but the link is down and I can't seem to find it anywhere.
•UPDATE: I called Red Giant, and they said that each license comes with the ability to get a 5 license pack for render nodes (same goes for Magic Bullet Suite). Just give them a call and they will provide.