Catching a few lobsters...
/ Beta Renderfest 2017, the Week 09 Ian Hartman PPJ
March 7, 2017

Oh me, oh my, has this past week been fun! Most of the animations got locked on Tuesday (with a couple of noted exceptions that were pushed through ASAP) and that means I can finally deal with properly rendering effects! On top of all that I get to tweak my effects to match changes with animation and layout, while also keeping a close eye on the render farm to keep those machines happy.

Currently, there are two teams using the farm simultaneously, with minimal disrupt between the two. Priorities might need some tweaking on a couple of the shots, I’ll have to sit down the the other teams to make sure we have a plan going forward on how we are going to split up the farm. What surprises me (and maybe not so much) is that there haven’t been any Juniors putting jobs on the farm as of late. I’m hoping they aren’t waiting until the days before their project is due to tackle the beast that is the render farm…. It’s acting a bit more like a tamed beast these days, figured out a couple quirks with render man that helped smooth out the renders and add a bit more stability. There are still the few odd cases of a computer just not having it for a frame or two… even digm_share deciding it wants to go offline for a spell. All-in-all, I think this iteration of the farm has provided better results than in the past and I’m moderately happy with it so far.

On to the effects!

For most of the effects, I’ve been finalizing the caching and render setups. A number of effects have already been rendered and there are plenty more to come. I’m optimistic that I’ll have it all rendered for compositing by the end of this week but only time will tell. COR got a render (with an added little flicker) and there was a last minute development of me adding in static, volumetric ion thrusters. I also setup a Houdini file that my team can use to setup any type of thruster they may need, larger atmospheric engines, wing engines, or ion engines (with added bonus heat distortion!).

The file is completely documented so that even if you were new to Houdini, there is a path to follow to tweak values and setup the renders.

Oh, and we are talking with the past teams to get their old data off the servers… You know, so we can use that for simulations.

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