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Shawn Kearney avatar image
Shawn Kearney asked ·

Search Paths with Team Render

Our workflow consists of mac workstations with windows-based render nodes. We are relying heavily on arnold scene source files to manage assets and streamline layout.

I'd like to provide the render nodes with local search paths so that hundreds of assets don't have to be needlessly copied. Since the render nodes have access to the assets, I'd like to keep our network traffic as low as possible.

I tried testing by replacing the procedural path local to the workstation (i.e. /Volumes/3d_assets/arnold_ass_files/ass) to the same path as it is on the nodes (i.e. V:\3d_assets\arnold_ass_files\ass) in the c4d render settings. However, when I render using Team Render, arnold provides a list of unfound assets. I have not looked into the render queue nor third party managers yet. I am looking into configuring Flamenco to kick ass, along with some commercially available options, but that's something for later down the road.

If I provide both search paths, there is no error, but I cannot tell if assets are being referenced to the search path, or being copied to the node.

Is what I am trying to do possible with Team Render? And if so how can I confirm that the search paths are set up properly? Would there be a temporary directory where c4d stashes assets for me to review?

c4dtoarender farmrender machines
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Peter Horvath avatar image
Peter Horvath answered ·

You can see in the Team Render Client console if the asset is copied. If there is an entry, Created asset 'myasset.ass', then it is.

The assets are copied to the client machine on demand. The problem is that when the path is resolved first a C4D function is called which triggers the copy and the procedural search path is check only after that. I can change the order in the next release.

There's a workaround at the moment. You can use environment variables in the Arnold Procedural path. So if you define an env var called MYENV on the client machines as V:\3d_assets\arnold_ass_files\ass\ and set the path to ${MYENV}myasset.ass, it should work.You'll get a warning from C4D that the asset does not exist because it does not understand this format, but Arnold does.Setting the env vars on all machines and updating all paths could be a bit complicated though.

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Stephen Blair avatar image
Stephen Blair answered ·

For ass files (procedurals), only shaders, shapes, and lights are used. Everything else is ignored. Search paths have to be set in the containing scene

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So then to confirm, the search paths in options{} have no impact?

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When a procedural loads an ASS file, the options are ignored.

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Shawn Kearney avatar image
Shawn Kearney answered ·

Oh. And I've also considered packaging everything up into a single ass file and final rendering that instead. If we use Flamenco, this would likely be the workflow, anyway.

If I did this, could I set the PC search paths in the ass file's options{}?

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Shawn Kearney avatar image
Shawn Kearney answered ·

Yes. Having something in the search paths to address this would be super helpful. IT is pretty strict about the render nodes, but I'll see about using the workaround. I'm not wild about it throwing an error though.

I've also noted that in the asset manager files that are locally referenced to the search path always return missing, even if they render properly. Another asset-related issue is that missing textures throw a console error that cannot be tracked back to the offending .ass, it only says that the texture is missing, but not from where. This is problematic when multiple ass files share assets.

It would be nice if it in the least arnold could return which .ass file is missing which asset. An option to expand and update ass files directly in the asset manager would be pretty slick.

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I've also noted that in the asset manager files that are locally referenced to the search path always return missing, even if they render properly.

That's a bug indeed, it will be fixed in a next release. Thanks for reporting.

It would be nice if it in the least arnold could return which .ass file is missing which asset.

That's a nice feature, I'm going to add it to my todo list.

An option to expand and update ass files directly in the asset manager would be pretty slick.

I'll have to take a look how complex is to implement that, but could be a nice feature for the future release.

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