The RANCH renderfarm now supports Indigo!

General News and accouncements regarding the Indigo render engine
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Bosseye
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Re: The RANCH renderfarm now supports Indigo!

Post by Bosseye » Tue Feb 15, 2011 10:40 pm

Hmmm, tried a couple of renders - a fairly simple one which is beautifully smooth in 6 minutes :D and a more complex one which has been terminated as the igi file size has gone over the 300mb Blitz limit (didn't realise there was one!).

Shame theres a limit here really, to my mind I wanted to see how quickly the Ranch copes with more detailed renders, ie those which would take us 30 hours or more to get smooth, but which as a side effect have a larger igi file size.

Nevermind, its still a good service and assuming the more simple renders running on a Sapphire code, we're only talking 10 minutes max which would only be $70. Bargain!

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Re: The RANCH renderfarm now supports Indigo!

Post by SaphireS » Thu Feb 17, 2011 2:56 am

Tested the farm using Blitz!, works like a charm!
Impressive performance. :D
Your ad here!

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CTZn
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Re: The RANCH renderfarm now supports Indigo!

Post by CTZn » Thu Feb 17, 2011 3:05 am

Bosseye wrote: Shame theres a limit here really, to my mind I wanted to see how quickly the Ranch copes with more detailed renders, ie those which would take us 30 hours or more to get smooth, but which as a side effect have a larger igi file size.
Hi Bosseye, off what I know the IGI weight does not relate with the geometric complexity of the scene, only with the output resolution factored by the amount of layers. Flattening layers into the default one should help.
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Bosseye
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Re: The RANCH renderfarm now supports Indigo!

Post by Bosseye » Thu Feb 17, 2011 3:52 am

Seem to have hit an issue with The Ranch - had a render stopped the other day as the igi file went over the 300mb limit for Blitz - fair enough, but its still showing as 'in progress' in my projects section and there doesn;t appear to be a way to delete it. Not a big issue, but this next bit is (or would be if I wasn't just testing the system) - Uploaded another, simpler, project last night, had the automated email to say render started, it dropped out of the waiting list this morning and has been replaced by other renders, but is still showing as 'in progress' in my projects and I've I had nothing to say if its finished or not. I assume not hence the lack of notification, but then why is it not in the waiting list? There was nothing in the waiting list this morning other than my render, and as Blitz is only 5 minutes, it should be done by now, even allowing for paid work taking priority in the waiting list.

Have emailed The Ranch team and awaiting a reply - if renders are randomly going to get stuck and take a day or so to sort out, then it pretty much defeats the object of the ranch for me.

We'll see if I get a reply and what they say.

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Re: The RANCH renderfarm now supports Indigo!

Post by PureSpider » Thu Feb 17, 2011 4:14 am

CTZn wrote:Hi Bosseye, off what I know the IGI weight does not relate with the geometric complexity of the scene, only with the output resolution factored by the amount of layers. Flattening layers into the default one should help.
And super sampling, of course, as super sampling is internally multiplying resolution.

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CTZn
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Re: The RANCH renderfarm now supports Indigo!

Post by CTZn » Thu Feb 17, 2011 10:49 am

PureSpider wrote:
CTZn wrote:Hi Bosseye, off what I know the IGI weight does not relate with the geometric complexity of the scene, only with the output resolution factored by the amount of layers. Flattening layers into the default one should help.
And super sampling, of course, as super sampling is internally multiplying resolution.
Absolutely correct, PureSpider, thank you.
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Re: The RANCH renderfarm now supports Indigo!

Post by Zom-B » Thu Feb 17, 2011 10:55 am

Light Layers also double igi size with each new Layer, so take care!
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Bosseye
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Re: The RANCH renderfarm now supports Indigo!

Post by Bosseye » Thu Feb 17, 2011 8:40 pm

Yeah I have a few light layers in the igi that was terminated - I like the flexibility of being able to tweak on a whim.

Anyway - definately having issues with the Ranch now. Had another email to say the 'in progress' render had started (again! apparently it started yesterday morning for the first time), but as before it just sits in the waiting list stuck on the .igs file at parrallex merging or whatever its called at 2% and then I presume hits some kind of error, drops out of the list and back into this limbo of 'in progress'

So for some reason its refusing to run (can't think why, I followed the same format as the previous project that rendered fine) - the problem for me is I can't get hold of anyone at Ranch to confirm what the issue is. Now, this is just a test project so ultimately doesn't matter really, but if I was paying for this, then its not good enough. 2 days for a 5 minute render is obviously wrong, but contacting Ranch under 'support' doesn't seem to illicit a response so I have no idea if the issue is with my file or the ranch.

Essentially, this isn't great customer service from a provider who we may well have been able to make use of. Doesn't fill me with confidence really.

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CTZn
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Re: The RANCH renderfarm now supports Indigo!

Post by CTZn » Thu Feb 17, 2011 9:41 pm

Hi Bosseye, ultymately I can not justify for the lack of responsiveness you are currently facing :( The FAQ specifies two other ways to contact support:
You can either:
- send an e-mail to contact@ranchcomputing.com or support@ranchcomputing.com
- send a message from our web form (see Contact us page)
- call us at phone number +33 (0)182 50 7008 from 09:00 to 19:00 (GMT+1)
Why not try both emails at once :) ?

Above that is the question How do I avoid bad surprises?. It is essential that new customers of the Ranch take this game seriously. Beside, they should gather all informations they can into this thread (see link below).
Read the guides. Really.
In the guide they are referring to we can read "important" in big, red letters, and in the next sentence it is following the "very" word, in big, bold and underlined caracters.

As in every automated process preparation is extremely important, that said it would certainly have been less hassle for you Bosseye if the case had been managed more gracefully by the system I recon. And for your defense I don't see where the Blitz formula has its documentation on the sitemap. However it was introduced by RenderFred on the previous page.

Hoping that you will get in touch any soon... and may your experience serve others :?
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RenderFred
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Re: The RANCH renderfarm now supports Indigo!

Post by RenderFred » Thu Feb 17, 2011 11:10 pm

Hi everyone,

I was away for a few days, for urgent matters, and my colleagues were more than busy with important projects, so sorry for the inconvenience some of you (a small minority I may say) may have experienced these last few days.

To address some questions, it is clearly said in the Blitz! info page that the IGI limit for Blitz! project is 300 MB, no surprised there. Merging IGIs can take a while, and we cannot authorize a free project to use, say, a 5-minute render time + a 15 minutes merging time... Limiting the size to 300 MB ensures that the merging won't take more than a few minutes. And it is easy to respect this size limit by reducing the resolution and/or the number of layers, without having to change the complexity of the scene itself.

As you have noticed, Blitz! projects are free, and I don't think it would be reasonable to expect priority support for them. The Blitz! is not mentioned is the guide because it is not a permanent formula. It will work until February 28 only. Blitz! projects are there to help people discover what the RANCH can do for them without paying anything, but this is not something that we can do on a permanent basis, as they cost us time and money, and we can't afford to lose too much in the process.

All the current invalid "inprogress" projects have been marked invalid. This is not an automated procedure as there are many many ways a project can be invalid and we prefer to check things out before marking them.

I am glad to see that a lot of projects went well. Complete automatisation of the renderfarming process is difficult to achieve, particularly when dealing simultaneously with many different software packages, each with their own particularities, needs, bugs, etc :wink: There are also a lot of ways to break a project, and users tend to find them all :lol: it means that we must find automated ways to catch them all (or most of them), and it is a very complex and time-consuming process.

Cheers,

Fred

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Bosseye
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Re: The RANCH renderfarm now supports Indigo!

Post by Bosseye » Thu Feb 17, 2011 11:34 pm

CTZn wrote:Hi Bosseye, ultymately I can not justify for the lack of responsiveness you are currently facing :( The FAQ specifies two other ways to contact support:
You can either:
- send an e-mail to contact@ranchcomputing.com or support@ranchcomputing.com
- send a message from our web form (see Contact us page)
- call us at phone number +33 (0)182 50 7008 from 09:00 to 19:00 (GMT+1)
Why not try both emails at once :) ?

Above that is the question How do I avoid bad surprises?. It is essential that new customers of the Ranch take this game seriously. Beside, they should gather all informations they can into this thread (see link below).
Read the guides. Really.
In the guide they are referring to we can read "important" in big, red letters, and in the next sentence it is following the "very" word, in big, bold and underlined caracters.

As in every automated process preparation is extremely important, that said it would certainly have been less hassle for you Bosseye if the case had been managed more gracefully by the system I recon. And for your defense I don't see where the Blitz formula has its documentation on the sitemap. However it was introduced by RenderFred on the previous page.

Hoping that you will get in touch any soon... and may your experience serve others :?
Got a response from Fred on my email (and above!)

And yes, I did take the time to read all the guides (although I missed the Blitz igi limit of 300mb :oops: ) and as I say, my first render project went through the ranch lightening fast and without a hitch so followed the same process for the next two renders, which are both now marked as invalid. The first one, fair enough, its exceeded the limit, my fault for missing the limit notice and apologies for that -however I have queried with Fred why the second one is invalid as the igi file on this one should be around 121mb so I'm not sure what the issue is.

I think in my case its a need for transparency in the process - if something goes wrong I like to know what and why. Simply marking a project is 'invalid' doesn't help with this unless there is an explanatory email to follow this up. Its like certain error messages in Indigo which give no clue as to the nature of the issue and therefore do not help to find a resolution quickly.

And just to confirm to Fred - thanks for the response, much appreciated. I understand people are busy and that Blitz makes no money for the Ranch. Therefore I don't expect a high priority within the system for anything and I've never expected my free renders to take priority over paying renders. I'm sure you have other support queries from paying customers to attend to first, so I do appreciate the reply.

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Bosseye
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Re: The RANCH renderfarm now supports Indigo!

Post by Bosseye » Thu Feb 17, 2011 11:55 pm

And we seem to be up and running thanks to Fred :D

The issue? I had a comma in the file name :roll: idiot eh? Although in my defence, it doesn't specifically say commas in the guide...... :wink: :oops: :oops: So, ultimately my fault 100%, the lesson here kids is read the guides. Then read them again. Them go over them once once more to get the crucial points you missed.

Thanks to all for the responses, and thanks to Fred for resolving.

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CTZn
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Re: The RANCH renderfarm now supports Indigo!

Post by CTZn » Fri Feb 18, 2011 3:05 am

hey Bosseye, thanks to you for the follow up, it sure will be helpfull for newcomers. Glad you got it all fixed and... oh, missed your message Fred 8)

Cheers !
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Lemo
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Re: The RANCH renderfarm now supports Indigo!

Post by Lemo » Fri Feb 18, 2011 7:03 am

I had that "In progress" thing on a project too, as I re-uploaded a file with the same name, but a different resolution. Same name is only for resuming apparently, and now it's marked "invalid" indeed.

One little thing I find strange though is the necessity to rename the .pigs file into .vui ... isn't it possible to have some server-side renamer script to make it more simple for the user?

Anyway the Blitz! is quite amazing, I never had renders that smooth ! Too bad it has to end...
As "free to play" models on MMOs, wish you could attract more customers this way, and let the Blitz last forever, as a simple low-priority "hole-filler" to keep the farm warm and ready between paying projects :mrgreen:

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Re: The RANCH renderfarm now supports Indigo!

Post by RenderFred » Tue Feb 22, 2011 11:35 pm

I have added some new detection methods to catch various kind of errors and output an attached log with the automated error message you get back by e-mail. Some errors that I see frequently concern non standard characters in scenes/textures/etc. This is clearly stated in the guide but here it is again: DO NOT use characters other than [a..z] [A..Z] [0..9] or '_' (underscore) in your files. That is: no spaces/commas/dots... and country-specific characters like accents/cedillas that have no equivalent in other languages.

Thanks!

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