V-Ray Scene (.vrscene) 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 your base DCC app and export it to V-Ray scene (.vrscene file). 

  • Scene files should be saved in .vrscene format.
  • Best practice to export a .vrscene file with all assets is to have all the textures, caches and other kinds of assets next to the exported scene. 
  • Scene should be free of missing assets when submitting to render farm.

3. Use the plugin - startup & available modes

 Once your base app is done with exporting the vrscene, you can use our plugin directly from your operating system’s file explorer. To do that just browse to the .vrscene file and right mouse click on the scene file.

V-Ray scene plugin startup. Just use RMB on the exported .vrscene file to start the plugin.

Once the plugin has started, you will see the main plugin panel. 

V-Ray scene plugin main window

In the plugin GUI you’ll need to finalize the scene setup using one of the available render modes (Render as is, Full animation, Camera animation, Still image). Each render mode is specifically designed for a different kind of scene setup, so please make sure that you select a mode suitable for the type of scene you’re going to render. This is crucial because each mode uses different GI and render settings and so selecting an inadequate mode will result in incorrect rendering.

V-Ray scene plugin mode selection dropdown

Available Render Modes are as follows:

  • Render as is - In this mode your scene renders "as it is". It's useful for scenes with already pre-cached GI or for shots which do not need GI caching. Also, it can be used for scene testing purposes or for atypical GI setups like Brute Force with Brute Force, or Brute Force with Light Cache. We do not provide any GI caching options in this mode. Render as is doesn't have any additional settings either. In most cases “render as is” is the mode that you should use. It will work “out of the box” in most rendering scenarios.
  • Full Animation - This mode should be used only for fully animated scenes which include objects animations, materials changes, camera or light movement. Generally, if your scene contains more than an animated camera, you should use Full Animation mode. Our plugin creates two jobs in this mode. The first one for the GI caching - called the "bake" scene. The second job is the rendering scene. The rendering scene uses pre-cached GI maps from the first job. With full animation mode, GI is cached for each frame in the selected render range so if your scene is starting at 0 and ending at frame 100, you will receive 101 GI map files. Each GI map is calculated on a separate node, so the process is very fast and stable. Full animation mode works only with Irradiance map & Light Cache. Before using Full Animation mode please make sure that your GI setup is set to Irradiance Map & Light cache! Otherwise please use the Render as is mode.

    With Full Animation mode you have some additional setting you can use - turn on/off Store direct light. By default, Store direct light is always on. This kind of setup is recommended by Chaos Group. Turning it off will force V-Ray to save separate files for Irradiance map and Light cache.
  • Camera Animation - bake and render - This mode should be used for scenes where the camera is the only animated object. Camera Animation mode works only with Irradiance map & Light Cache. This mode will create 2 jobs - GI cache, and a render job. The first job is for the GI caching - called the "bake" scene. The GI cache is calculated using the selected "bake step" parameter. For the GI cache job, we switch your current Irradiance map mode type to “add to current map” and Light cache mode type to “flythrough”. For render jobs, we use both GI engines in the “from file” mode. GI caching is done using the bake step and bake jobs parameters. The default baking step value is 10, so if your scene is starting at 0 and ending at frame 100, you will receive 11 frames cached (including the first and last frame) into one .vrmap (Irradiance Map cache) file. Before using Camera Animation please make sure that your GI setup is set to Irradiance Map & Light cache! Otherwise please use the “Render as is” mode.
Additional settings for Camera Animation mode
  • Still Image - render / bake and render - This is our custom distributed rendering system. It’s designed especially for high-resolution still shots. It works with all kinds of GI setups. Depending on which settings you choose, submitting your scene with this mode creates two or three jobs - GI cache, render and merge. If you already have pre-cached GI, you can turn off the bake switch, and connect your GI maps via the “from file” modes. They will be uploaded with your scene and used for rendering. Turning off bake will force our plugin to forward 2 jobs to the farm render queue - render and merge. When the bake switch is on you will receive 3 jobs - GI cache, render and merge. Rendering scenes with “bake” switch on, is the default setup. Still Image mode renders your scene with “strips” (horizontal or vertical render regions). After the strip render jobs are completed, strips are then stitched to one final resolution frame in a merge job. With Still Image mode, GI can be cached with all kinds of Irradiance maps and Light Cache combinations (like IR+LC, IR only, LC+LC, LC only and so on). GI setups like Brute Force + Brute Force cannot be cached. Please keep in mind that the usage of non-cacheable GI settings sometimes can cause issues with GI rendering. For example, with BR+BR setup you can receive visible seams where the strips connect as each of the render nodes will be calculating GI from scratch when rendering the strip.
Additional settings for Still image mode

Note

You should always run a test job first prior to rendering a full range animation or full resolution still image to check for potential issues and to get an estimated job cost. For animations, try to render a shorter range or use step. For still images, you should render a smaller resolution job (i.e. ⅕ res). This is a very important step to follow which will help you fully test the service without potentially overspending your credits. To get a preliminary cost estimation, use our Cost Calculator. While this is only a rough number and it shouldn’t replace the actual testing, it’s a quick way to get a cost and render time estimate for animations (it doesn’t work for stills). 

You can read more about the importance of testing and ways to estimate the render cost and time in our FAQ.

4. Use the plugin - common settings for all modes

Once you selected the plugin render mode, you can now check other settings which are common for all available modes.

Common settings for all modes

Upload original scene - This option will forward your original .vrscene file (unprocessed by our plugin) and upload it along with the project. It can be used by our support for troubleshooting procedures. By default, it's turned off.

Settings - These are standard settings used for rendering. Here you can set a resolution, output format and render range. Please keep in mind that the values you see here are automatically loaded from your .vrscene file but can be adjusted.

5. Asset tracker

Our V-Ray scene plugin automatically checks scenes for missing assets, and if there are any - you can use our integrated asset tracker tool to relink or remove them from the scene. To start the asset tracker, just click the “Assets” menu at the top and select “Tracker” option.

Main asset tracker window

In the asset tracker panel you can review your asset list. If assets paths and names are correct, all of them should have the green status with “OK” info. Otherwise, you can relink missing assets using a global search path, or relink them one-by-one.

6. Upload the project

Once our plugin completes the scene export, your project will be redirected to renderBeamer to be uploaded. In a nutshell, 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 use the 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 any time (more on that in the next step). You can also copy the link to clipboard and manually paste it into your web browser.

renderBeamer window with options to add job to render farm

7. 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 a home to all your projects and render jobs. 

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 about priorities on Pricing page and FAQ page). You will also see information about the queue length for each priority, which should help you decide which priority to use.

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 (the panel on the right side of the screen) 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

8. 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 syncs the files in 15 minute cycles and it is currently in between the cycles. You can click refresh to force the check without waiting for the next sync cycle. 

9. 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

10. 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.

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