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Using a Mac as a Fusion Render Node with PC Master

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Joe Laude

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Using a Mac as a Fusion Render Node with PC Master

PostWed Jun 12, 2019 7:10 pm

Hi everyone,

I'm trying to use every computer I have at my disposal to create a mini render farm for work I'm now doing from home. Right now, the machines I have set up are my main workstation, a little dinky PC I have for the family, and two laptops, one a PC and the other a Mac. The Mac however is having a problem with, at least from what I can tell, simply the slash vs. backslash conventions.

Network drives are all set up and everything, every machine is running the Fusion 9 Studio Render Node, I have Studio on the main workstation, the other nodes render fine. I have user Path Maps set on the Mac to remap, for example, D:\ to /Volumes/data/ but this doesn't seem to be enough.The Mac kept erroring out and would stop doing work. I ended up installing 9 Studio on it, and moved the dongle over, just so I could load up the comp there and see what wasn't working. Sure enough, the loaders wouldn't work. Interestingly, when I'd dragged the plate into the comp to see what it wanted the path to look like, the loader would contain the exact PC path E:/blah/blah/blah/... but with slashes instead of backslashes.

This is really making me scratch my head, because the test comp I used at first did not have any loaders in it, but the saver obviously had to point to a file location, and that would have been all backslashes, right? I don't know why the Mac would seemingly be able to find a location with backslashes in a saver, but not in a loader.

Anyway, it would be awesome if someone knew the trick to get this to work, or was able to point out what I'm forgetting, as I have an old Mac Pro I'd love to also get working on my little farm as well if it's possible.

Thanks in advance!
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bentheanimator

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Re: Using a Mac as a Fusion Render Node with PC Master

PostFri Jun 14, 2019 3:54 pm

Here are a couple of screen shots of my set up that can do what you are asking. You need to add user paths that remap to the correct volume that is shared from your PC over the network. This also has it working with Reactor as well. Make sure that you have everything on your Mac working under Studio.

There's a thread at Steak Under Water that covers this as well when trying to get Cryptomatte to work across a network. I posted this info there too.

Just to reiterate. This is for the Fusion Render Node Preferences as well as the Studio Preferences. The screen grabs are from the Render Node Preference windows.
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Fusion Render Node - Mac Reactor Configuration.png
Fusion Render Node - Mac Reactor Configuration.png (183.06 KiB) Viewed 199 times
Fusion Render Node - Windows Reactor Configuration.png
Fusion Render Node - Windows Reactor Configuration.png (40.98 KiB) Viewed 199 times
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Joe Laude

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Re: Using a Mac as a Fusion Render Node with PC Master

PostMon Jun 17, 2019 7:25 am

Thanks for the reply, but I ended up getting it to work, though it turns out it was perhaps a combination of two problems (or rather one problem was initially preventing me from determining the real problem).

So the first problem was getting Fusion Studio to work right. I found suggestions elsewhere to try deleting preferences, restarting, uninstalling/reinstalling. None of those worked. When I saw your reply, I went in to double-check that my path maps were written in correctly, and they were. However, when I started Fusion, I got some plug-in errors that I had forgotten from the first time around. See, Fusion had appeared to start up fine so I ignored them, and subsequently forgot I even saw them in the rush of frustration (I mean, the render node could render the test comp as long as it had no loaders, so I erroneously assumed the errors weren't the problem, and then just plumb forgot they came up when I started Studio).

So reinstalling/trashing prefs/etc didn't work, and I'd been meaning to do a format/reinstall of macOS on that machine anyway, so I went ahead and did that. After the OS reinstall, I installed Fusion again, set everything up exactly the same again (double checked against your screenshots), and everything seemed to be working fine without errors. Best I could figure it was either a previous installation of 9 (non-studio, perhaps) or a leftover installation of 8 that left some broken or incompatible .plugin files somewhere that a uninstall/reinstall wasn't fixing.

So that was the initial problem, and then after I got Fusion Studio working on that machine, I ran another test on the render farm, but still was getting errors. I pulled up the comp (loaders working) and lo and behold, the issue was actually a quick and dirty Lua expression I was using to burn-in the date on the frames I was rendering. Apparently if you simply use os.date() on Windows, you get "mm/dd/yy hh:mm:ss" but on macOS, the same code returns "Day Month dd hh:mm:ss YYYY" which totally broke the expression on the Mac, caused that particular Text+ tool to fail, and consequently the whole comp. I looked up more info on os.date() and figured out how to write the code in a more universal way for both OSes. Works fine now.

It may have been the case that the comp would have worked in the Render Node in the first place if I had written those expressions correctly, but I couldn't really diagnose that issue until I could get the loaders to work in Studio (well, in all of this, I found the render manager log, which is what tipped me off to the expressions this time around. Last time I didn't realize there was a more detailed log than what's shown in the render manager window).

Oh well, problem solved, and I took care of that reinstall I'd been meaning to do anyway, and learned something new about Lua. Thanks for the help anyway!
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bentheanimator

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Re: Using a Mac as a Fusion Render Node with PC Master

PostTue Jun 18, 2019 5:58 pm

Well that was WAY more involved than setting render node paths! Glad you figured it out. Can you post the code for the universal OS translation?
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Harold Tomlinson

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Re: Using a Mac as a Fusion Render Node with PC Master

PostWed Jun 19, 2019 12:27 am

are you getting good performance? I want to use Fusion (in Resolve) but it is so slow. If I could speed it up with multiple computers then perhaps I could speed it up with VMs in my Mac. How is your experience with your render farm? Did you need separate licenses for each node?
---
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Frank Engel

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Re: Using a Mac as a Fusion Render Node with PC Master

PostWed Jun 19, 2019 1:33 pm

Harold Tomlinson wrote:are you getting good performance? I want to use Fusion (in Resolve) but it is so slow. If I could speed it up with multiple computers then perhaps I could speed it up with VMs in my Mac. How is your experience with your render farm? Did you need separate licenses for each node?


A VM uses the same physical hardware but adds overhead so no, that won't work.

Render nodes are a Fusion Studio feature (will not work with the version built-in to Resolve) and do not require additional licenses for Fusion, but you may need additional licenses for any plugins that you are using.
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Joe Laude

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Re: Using a Mac as a Fusion Render Node with PC Master

PostWed Jun 19, 2019 9:16 pm

bentheanimator wrote:Well that was WAY more involved than setting render node paths! Glad you figured it out. Can you post the code for the universal OS translation?


Sure! The quick and dirty solution I had used was "string.sub(os.date(),1,2)" which would pull up the default os.date() string and then pull characters 1 through 2 (for month, or 4,5 for day, 7,8 for year), but on the Mac, os.date() would print a much different format for the system date, resulting in nonsensical output from the expressions.

I found this page, which has a list of arguments you can give os.date() to just get back the exact values you want. So my code was changed to "os.date("%m")" for month, "os.date("%d")" for day, and "os.date("%Y")" for full year.

Harold Tomlinson wrote:are you getting good performance? I want to use Fusion (in Resolve) but it is so slow. If I could speed it up with multiple computers then perhaps I could speed it up with VMs in my Mac. How is your experience with your render farm? Did you need separate licenses for each node?


I think Frank answered your real question, but I am indeed getting good performance out of the old Macbook. I had doubled its RAM last year around the time I got a new PC laptop for working on set, and to my surprise, both machines have pretty similar render times. The new PC laptop has a 2.8GHz i7, and the almost 7-year-old MBP has a 2.3GHz i7, and they both have 16GB of RAM. The MBP renders about 8 frames for every 9 the PC laptop does. A little slower, but just having another machine takes a significant bite out of render times.

Now the next big fun challenge is hacking my Mac Pro to run at least macOS 10.10, and getting that hunk of metal to churn out some pixels for me too.
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Harold Tomlinson

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Re: Using a Mac as a Fusion Render Node with PC Master

PostThu Jun 20, 2019 12:00 am

At what fps rate does the MBP render?
---
DR16b4 - iMac Pro 2017 - 2.3GHz 18 Core 64GB
- Radeon Pro Vega 64 16GB + Radeon VII 16GB
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Joe Laude

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Re: Using a Mac as a Fusion Render Node with PC Master

PostThu Jun 20, 2019 5:04 am

Harold Tomlinson wrote:At what fps rate does the MBP render?


Well, that would largely depend on the comp, wouldn't it?

I guess to give some perspective, on this particular comp I first used when I got everything working, the resolution was 4k, and not terribly heavy on this particular version (many branches were pre-rendered). The master machine was rendering frames at around 7 seconds per frame, and the PC laptop and the MBP were averaging around 14-17 seconds per frame (just glancing at the log).

However, keep in mind the two laptops are working over wi-fi, while the master machine has all the HDDs internally and doesn't need to even access them over the network. If the laptops were on wired connections to the network, they would be a bit faster. Render times will vary wildly based on the comp, the machines you're using, and the configuration of your network.

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