V-Ray Distributed Rendering and Backburner

Part 1: Network and User Setup | Part 2: V-Ray Installation | Part 3: Distributed Rendering | Part 4: Backburner

Part 2 - V-Ray Installation

You should already have 3ds Max installed on all the computers. You only have to authorise Max on your main computer. Even though Max will "expire" in 30 days on your slaves, this is fine as it will still run in slave mode and you don't need to authorise it - it is perfectly legal. We're almost ready to install V-Ray on all the computers. DO NOT plug in your V-Ray hardware lock (dongle) yet. Start with "MainPC1" and make sure you are logged in with administrator privileges. If you have some kind of Antivirus installed, you may get several warning messages during V-Ray installation. On my system I have Kaspersky with the highest settings. Kaspersky complained that V-Ray is not recognised as a trusted source, however since I DO trust V-Ray I told Kaspersky to allow the installation. Kaspersky Antivirus automatically added V-Ray to my "Restricted with limited access" software group, which is fine as everything still works as expected.

Run the installation file and when asked, make sure you select the option "Workstation (full)" option from the list.

Image 6: Choosing the V-Ray installation type.

Click "Next" and continue installation of V-Ray. We will eventually connect the hardware lock to this computer so when asked about the V-Ray license server, be sure "Local V-Ray license server on this machine" is selected. It is possible to connect the dongle to any computer, but since we want to be able to work sometimes without having an additional computer running, it makes sense to connect the dongle to the computer you use most (in our small network).

Note for larger networks - For the previous step on larger networks you may want to connect the dongle to the server, but then you will install only the license server on that server by selecting "License server only" in the previous step. In that case also you will use "Remote V-Ray license server on the network" in the next step.

Image 7: Choosing how to connect to the license server.

On the next screen make sure both options are ticked: "Install WIBU key drivers" and also "Register the V-Ray license service". We install the WIBU drivers since the dongle will be connected to this computer and we register the license so it automatically runs in the background every time the computer is started. This is useful as this will be our main computer and we don't want to manually start the V-Ray license server every time. After V-Ray installation, the WIBU-Key setup will automatically run. Since we only want the WIBU drivers installed, un-tick all options when you get to this screen. You don't need any of these components.

Image 8: Dongle driver setup.

Click "Next >" and continue installation. After installation is done, you can connect the dongle. In some rare cases you may have to restart the computer before connecting the dongle. After you connect the dongle, Windows will install your new hardware. Start-up 3ds Max and load a scene. Press "F10" on your keyboard to bring up the "Render Setup" window. At the bottom of this window in the "Common" tab, go to the "Assign Renderer" rollout. Next to "Production", click on the 3 little dots and choose V-Ray as your renderer. (Your V-Ray version number may be different to the screenshot)

Image 9: Assigning the renderer.

Click "OK". You do the previous step if for some reason V-Ray is not your default renderer like for example you opened a scene that was last saved with Mental Ray as the renderer. Since we always want to use V-Ray as default, we will use the "Defaults Switcher" of 3ds Max. On the menubar select "Customise" and then "Custom UI and Defaults Switcher…". In the "Initial settings for tool options:" select "MAX.vray" and at the bottom of the window click "Set". This option sets V-Ray as the default renderer and also sets "VRayMtl" to be the default in the Material Editor.

Image 10: Applying the MAX.vray default settings.

You will notice now that the tabs on top have changed in the "Render Setup" window. On top click on the "V-Ray" tab. Here you will see a whole bunch of rollouts and the details of them are beyond the scope of this tutorial. If here you see some error about your license it could mean several things, the most likely in this case is that either you failed to tick "Register the V-Ray license service" during installation, or that the license server did not start because it tried to start before Windows installed the dongle, in which case you can just restart the computer. If you don't want to restart the computer and you are sure that you did register the V-Ray license server during installation, you can manually start the V-Ray license server. You do this by once again going to the "Computer Management" window as per "image3" on "page1" of this tutorial. This time however, instead of expanding "Local Users and Groups", you expand "Services and Applications" in the left pane and click on "Services" underneath it also in the left pane. On the right scroll down till you find "VRLService". Now right-click on "VRLService" and select "Start" from the menu that comes up.

Image 11: V-Ray license service.

Congratulations, you now have a working computer with V-Ray installed.

Now we will install V-Ray on all the slaves. Make sure you are logged in with administrator privileges. The "SlaveUser" doesn't necessarily have to be the user with administrator rights, it can be any other user, but remember the "SlaveUser" will be the eventual main user of the slaves. Run the installation, but this time choose "Render Slave (plugins + DR files only)" during the installation options.

Image 12: V-Ray Render Slave installation

The WIBU drivers won't be installed this time, as it isn't needed on the slaves, as you plugged in the dongle in the main computer remember. After installation, this window will come up:

Image 13: License server settings.

In the "License server:" textbox type "MainPC1". This is the name of your main computer and also the location where you plugged in the dongle. Click on "OK". There are various options to ensure V-Ray will run on your slaves when they start-up. Each option has its advantages, but this tutorial will cover only one of those options very similar to the license service that was registered during installation of our main computer. Still on the slave computer navigate to "Start" > "Programs" > "Chaos Group" > "V-Ray Adv for 3dsmax XXXXversion" > "Distributed Rendering" > "Administration" > "Register V-Ray spawner Service". This tells V-Ray on your slave computer to run the "Spawner", which is V-Ray's render slave program, during start-up of the computer. This program will run in the background. There are various scripts out there that will let you start and stop the "Spawner" during some troublesome renders, but since it isn't something you would normally do, we won't go into it here. Restart your slave computer and login as "SlaveUser".

Continue to Part 3 - Distributed Rendering

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Morné is a self-taught 3D artist who started fiddling with 3ds Max in the days of MS-DOS when it was just called 3D Studio. Before "falling" into 3D as a profession, Morné was an IT Manager for 4 years. He has 12 years professional working experience in Max of which the last 5 years is running his own studio in Johannesburg, South Africa.


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