Blender Guide

1. Download and install

Log in to Web Manager (web dashboard) at https://app.garagefarm.net and download our renderBeamer app for you operating system. 

Web Manager downloads panel

Install the renderBeamer app and start it. Once renderBeamer is done with the installation process, you need to choose the default download directory. This path will be used as the main output place for all your renders. Next, just log in using the account ID you received or your account email. Please keep in mind that the app should always be running in the background whenever uploading a project or downloading rendered frames.

renderBeamer startup windows - default download directory on the left, and login panel on the right

Once renderBeamer is installed and you’re logged in, you’ll see the Plugins panel. Plugins installation panel should automatically open after the first renderBeamer startup. You can also open it anytime you need to install additional plugins for your 3D apps.

renderBeamer 3D app plugins installation panel

Here in the plugins panel, you can install plugins that allow you to work with our farm. Once you installed the plugin for your 3D app, you can proceed to the next step.

Note

Please keep in mind that each 3D app (DCC) you use needs to have a plugin installed to properly connect to and render on our farm. 

2. Prepare the scene

Open your scene in Blender and prepare it for rendering on a render farm.

  • Scene files should be saved in .blend format – version 2.68 and above.
  • All assets used by the scene should be accessible for Blender and properly linked. We recommend using relative paths (Assets\Asset.png) instead of absolute paths (like C:\Project1\Assets\Assets.png), but both should work fine.
  • Scene should be free of missing assets when submitting to render farm
  • Please always remember to check the % bar under the resolution setting. It has to be set to 100% unless you are sure other settings are appropriate.
  • Please set the Threads option to Auto-detect to use 100% of CPU power.
  • If there are dynamics features / physics simulations used in the scene, you should create a cache file for them and properly link it in the scene. Some physics types can work without external cache, meaning the cache can be saved directly in the scene. Here are general guidelines https://docs.blender.org/manual/en/latest/physics/baking.html
  • Plugins – we support a lot of Blender plugins & addons, however, if you are using some extra add ons – please send us the info. We will check for the plugin availability and purchase options.
  • V-Ray for Blender – GI setup should be prepared for multiple machines rendering. If you are not sure about the GI setup – please contact us
  • Cycles – Please set the tiles size to 16×16 or 32×32 for CPU rendering. A value that is too high will increase the render time.
  • Output – Please set a proper file format for rendered frames and set the output path as relative.
  • Please check the Metadata setting, so that a stamp will not be added to frames unless it should be there.
  • We do not support the “Auto Run Python Scripts” option. If you need this enabled, please contact our wranglers before launching your job

3. Use the plugin

First, go to Preferences > Add-ons, search for renderBeamer and activate our plugin.

Once your project is prepared, please locate the renderBeamer menu and hit Beam it up to open the plugin window. Our Blender plugin is a “one button” solution. You don’t need any additional setup to render your scene on the farm. Everything – including frame range, resolution, quality settings and output format will be rendered just like the settings you have in the scene.

Forwarding scene to renderBeamer – one button solution

4. Upload the project

Once our plugin completes the scene export, your project will be redirected to renderBeamer to be uploaded. renderBeamer is a standalone uploader/downloader application that works in conjunction with our plugins. Simply put, it takes care of the file transfers.

After the scene has been fully uploaded, the app will show you a window with a direct link to your scene on Web Manager (web dashboard). To continue just use click here to submit job button. If for some reason you closed the window with the link or it didn’t work, don’t worry, you can locate your project in the web dashboard and submit your scene by clicking on the scene file later (more on that in the next step). You can also copy link to clipboard and manually paste it into your web browser.

renderBeamer window with options to add job to render farm

5. Submit the job & monitor render progress

Now that your project is uploaded you will need to follow the final step - creating and submitting a job to render farm. Web Manager is where all your projects and render jobs reside.

If you followed the link generated earlier by renderBeamer, you will now see the job submission window with several fields and settings. If you didn’t follow the link or it didn’t work, you can do it manually by locating your project in the Projects panel, finding the scene file within the project folder (in your folder structure look for the folder called “data”, i.e. Project_name/data/SceneName.max), and clicking on it to open the job window.

adding a scene to rendering directly from Web Manager file browser

You can choose between three priorities when submitting a job: High, Medium, and Low (more info on Pricing page and FAQ page). You can also view the current queue on the farm, which should help you inform your decision about selecting the priority.

After giving your render settings a final check and choosing your preferred priority hit Submit to add your job to the render queue. If you’re a first time user, you will have received $25 worth of credit to test out our service. The credits should be enough to run a few test jobs and get you familiar with the service.

TIP

You can right click on the job to get additional options: change priority, pause job, kill job, and archive job.

Note

The estimate is based on the currently finished frames, and is an approximation at that point. Rendering a test as prompted in the plugin (using a step i.e. 1to100s10) is highly recommended for more accurate estimates and for detecting potential errors.

jobs added to render queue and options available under right mouse button

When the job has started rendering, you can check the real-time progress of currently processed frames. To do that, just select the render job from the main project list and then click the arrow on the top right side to open the progress panel.

Web Manager progress panel showing currently rendering frames

The progress panel will show its content only when any of the jobs is selected. The panel is divided into 3 sections.

Active frames - it shows currently rendering frames. When a frame finishes, it is moved to the second section Done frames. If you select any frame in the Done frames list, you can then access the render output process log in the bottom section called Process results.

TIP

When you’re in the Progress Panel and right-click on any of the currently rendering frames in the “Active frames” section, you can access the real-time render log from our nodes.

Note

Please keep in mind that if a job has finished rendering, the frames list in the “Active frames” section will be empty because all frames are already rendered and the list is moved to “Done frames”.

real-time render log from our node accessible in the “Active frames” section under RMB

6. Download and review frames

Each frame that has completed rendering is downloaded automatically to your local drive to a directory you selected in the renderBeamer application. If you’re not sure where your download folder is located, you can double check it or change it in renderBeamer’s settings (click on the cogwheel). Also, make sure you have auto download turned on to get the frames downloaded as soon as they are available. If this box is unchecked, you will have to click on each job in Beamer's "downloads" tab, and manually download the frames. 

renderBeamer default settings with auto download ON

If you prefer more control over what to download and when, you can also download your frames manually. To do that, just turn off auto download switch in renderBeamer settings and go to the “downloads” tab. Next, select the desired render output using a checkbox, and click the download button. 

renderBeamer downloading frames for a selected render job

This kind of workflow will download all rendered frames for the selected job or jobs. However, renderBeamer also gives you an option to download individual frames. To do that, you need to use the list files function under RMB. 

renderBeamer listing files option for selected render job

Once files for the selected job are listed, just roll down the list and select the files you’d like to download using checkboxes. Next, use the same download button.

renderBeamer downloading only selected frames from a render job

Once your frames are downloaded, you can use open directory option under RMB to open the folder where frames are saved. 

Note

Please make sure you keep renderBeamer running whenever you have jobs rendering to get the frames downloaded right away. It may happen, however, that your frames aren’t downloading in the given moment, and most likely that’s because our application checks for the files on the server in 15 minute cycles and it is currently in between the cycles. You can click refresh list to force the check without waiting for the next cycle.

7. Purchase credits

When you use up all your trial credits, you’ll need to charge your account to continue using the service. Please note that when your balance goes below $0, you won’t be able to download rendered frames or start new render jobs. You can make payments in the Billing panel in Web Manager. We accept debit cards, credit cards, PayPal and DotPay payments.

If your rendering needs are high or you plan to render regularly, please make sure to check out our volume discounts.

billing panel where you can buy credits, view cost & payment history, and view discounts

8. Contact us anytime

You can talk to the GarageFarm.NET’s tech team any time of the day, any day of the week. We’re here to help you get started, answer your questions, and assist you in any way. Don’t hesitate to give us a shout.

You can contact us through our live chat accessible in the web dashboard or our desktop app when you log in to your account or message us here through the guest chat.

We also recommend checking out our FAQ page which answers most of the questions new users have.

Chat