5 Replies Latest reply on Nov 13, 2009 7:30 AM by T27

    Butterfly Net Render and AE CS4

    T27 Level 1



      Is anyone using Butterfly Net Render with CS4, Win XP Pro 64?


      So far, we've only used it for Lightwave rendering, which seems primarily what it is for, but the Pro version can also render several other apps, including AE.


      I am reading through the Adobe docs for Watch Folder, etc., but you'll have to forgive me for not being completely fluent with this and networks ..... what would also help is if the developer had bothered to include some docs on how to set up each app in detail - some FAQs about some, but not a word about AE.


      I've been rendering Lightwave files with it for years, but I'm new to network rendering for AE.  BNR made LW network rendering a breeze, so naturally I've gone straight for it for AE.


      If anyone can offer some guidance, I'd be very grateful.





        • 1. Re: Butterfly Net Render and AE CS4
          Mylenium Most Valuable Participant

          I doubt you need to set up anything outside BNR. From my experience with Muster and Deadline, those render managers always render in local mode by creating little chunks of e.g. 4 frames and then creating a respective batch line command which the use to call the rendering app, where the output is set to the render manager's own watch folder. Short of telling it the paths to AErender.exe on each local machine (which, given Adobe uses a default path for everything, should be identical), I don't think you'll have to do anything. It may require some sort of dedicated folder to store the assets, so you will probably have to run a Collect Files from AE to create a "portable" project that can be placed there. In AE you merely add whatever comps you want rendered to the render queue and set its options....



          • 2. Re: Butterfly Net Render and AE CS4
            T27 Level 1

            Thanks.  Well, I'd thought through those general lines as well, but still couldn't get it to work - complete absence of docs is a bit of a stumbling block.  I had also posted on the BNR mailing list, and last night, Paul Lord, the developer, posted this:


            1.  Install CS3/CS4 After Effects locally on all the Rendernode  machines (in the same location on all machines)
            2.  Configure the After Effects in BNR to that installed path  (Options->Configure Platforms - After Effects
            3.  Make sure the command line is  (Options->Configure  Platforms After Effects - Settings button -  Command Tab)
            "%exe%" -project "%loadscn%" -s %sf% -e %ef% -output %prefix%[####].psd  -reuse -comp "%v1%" %addlog%
            4.  In the AE project - select single frame output (not avi) and  select skip existing files - which allows multi-machine rendering
            5.  Check the output logs for any errors  (Right click on the  Scene and select - Trace logs)
            6.  Make sure you enter the comp name

            I haven't tried this yet, partly because I am inclined to have a go at AE's native method - I assume it works ..... though don't yet know how straightforward it is to setup and use!!!

            • 3. Re: Butterfly Net Render and AE CS4
              T27 Level 1

              Just as a follow-up - I have this working now, though it took a new config file from the developer, over and above the previous post with the instructions.


              In light of this same discussion on the BNR mailing list, a wiki has been started:




              Not much to see yet, but this will be the place to go eventually to get the detail of setting up BNR with AE.


              Despite having the farm working now, it's taking alot longer to render some comps with farm than it does with a single quad-core - all production machines and render nodes are quad-cores by the way, and pretty much the same spec.  An HD comp on my production machine with the working version of AE rendered in 25mins - two quad-cores on the farm reported 1hr 16mins for the same comp.  The frame render time for the production machine was about 11secs , whereas it was 19secs on each node, though I guess hurling assets across the network accounts for much of the slowdown.


              And don't even get me started on Trapcode's plugins rendering with the watermark from the nodes, despite being registered ..... ..... there's always something



              • 4. Re: Butterfly Net Render and AE CS4
                ChrisProsser Adobe Employee

                Depending on the speed of your file server and network, and the type of footage this performance change isn't unheard of.


                If that main node (the fast one) is the one doing the file serving, and you have many frames the need a lot of footage, you can get this. Increasing the chunk size in Butterfly may help as AE will cache the file info locally, but only during a chunk. Each chunk will get the footage fresh from the server.



                • 5. Re: Butterfly Net Render and AE CS4
                  T27 Level 1

                  Hello Chris - thanks.  The main machine is doing the file serving, although all four boxes are equally specced.


                  This one shot is a 500 frames HD comp, using 5,000x5,000 pixel stills, about 8 of those.  We have a gigabit network, cabled, which is consistent and efficient, though as you suggest this is not unheard of, I guess we're simply seeing normal behaviour for AE network rendering in this circumstance.


                  I might see if I can Collect the AE comp into a shared folder on one of the render nodes and have it served from there - don't know if BNR will allow that as the controller is on the main machine, supporting my Lightwave install, but I'll try - can't harm.