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> Forum Home > Announcements > Smedge 2011 Beta ready for download

  Tue, 18/Jan/2011 8:26 PM
1136 Posts
The next version of Smedge is almost ready. There are a few last features I'm trying to get running (like support for rendering RIBs with Pixar's RenderMan Pro Server) before the final release.

In the mean time, you can find the downloads for all platforms here:




A partial list of changes:

+ Memory based Engine loading (instead of or in addition to CPU counting)
+ Enable/disable individual Herald actions
+ New Restrictions to hide advanced functionality
+ PoolManager can create/rename/delete Pools
+ CheckFileSequence can customize the list of frame format specifiers and the frame range to scan
+ CheckFileSequence scans files in the background for improved responsiveness
+ VNC to the Engine from the Job History list context menu
+ GUI shows Engine error counts in the Engine list
+ Search functionality in Output window
+ New Work command "Stop and Divide" changes the Job packet size to 1 and then requeues any currently running work
+ New parameter -InitImageFormat to initialize the image format list when creating jobs
+ Windows that load their position completely off screen reset their position automatically
+ VNC to offline Engines
+ ProcessJob removes all spaces from captured output file path
+ AfterEffects catches missing layer dependencies as an error and handles Unix paths from CS5 on Mac
+ Optimized Engine startup speed checking for shared output files

- View Engine History.log missing from Engine menu
- mental ray standalone finds "fatal" errors
- Improved functionality for debugging failed component process startup
- Possible Master hang accessing Engine information
- Master and Engine fail to start if the machine folder is missing on Linux
- Job list sorting by status was inconsistent
- CheckFileSequence could fail to start correctly
- Maxwell render failures are not handled correctly
- Possible Master crash when an Engine connects
- Possible GUI crash removing work
- Selection does not always update correctly in GUI
- CheckFileSequence can't be quit through the menu on OS-X
- "Delete Finished Jobs" command was not hidden for non-administrators in Job list context menu
- Job Shell shows wrong Job status during a Maxwell merge operation
- Possible crashes during data transfer between nodes
- Smedge shows wrong number of cores on 64 bit Windows with 32+ cores

As noted, there are still some pending changes and improvements before the final release. When the full release is available, the complete list of changes will be updated in the normal What's New document, with more information about what each change is and how it affects operation.

Please let me know if you have any questions. Thank you!
  Fri, 21/Jan/2011 5:08 PM
177 Posts
vnc to offline engines is pretty helpfull aswell the search function in process
could the search highlight the found strings ?
  Fri, 21/Jan/2011 5:47 PM
1136 Posts
Yes, highlighting the strings would be good, but turns out to be a big deal. I will see if I can get that in there by the final release, as well as making the search optionally case sensitive or case insensitive. But highlighting may not make it....
  Wed, 09/Feb/2011 9:05 AM
12 Posts
Nice list of added features indeed!

Look forward to test driving this some time in March if poss, pretty jammed farm atm and I tell you the last 2010 build is so solid for us here. Still got a couple of workarounds being carried out here (ahem, the generic script module ignoring error counts etc), but as far as reliability and efficiency I'm loving it.

Just want to ask if this is as reliable as the current build and/or is there potential for crashing (outside of the remaining todo list) if we put this into testing on our farm. (in you own personal opinion) :)

Many thanks for the updates & hard work Robin.

  Wed, 09/Feb/2011 3:44 PM
1136 Posts
Hi Jamie

Smedge 2011 should actually be even more stable than Smedge 2010. There are about 4 or 5 possible points where 2010 could crash that have been fixed in this version, and most of the changes and feature additions have been little tweaks that generally don't affect system stability.

There are two last issues I want to try to work in at this point (the Pixar RenderMan support is now done). One is that with the new memory distribution system it would be nice to actually set a hard limit on the memory available to the work process. This change should be pretty easy actually.

The other is that I want to get a first step at a Maya single-frame rendering product. This would divide up a single frame into slices and send the slices to multiple machines to render it faster. This is actually kind of difficult, and is compounded by the complication of what to do about re-assembling the pieces. As such, this may not make it into the official Smedge 2011 release, and may come out as an update a little later on.

By the way, highlighting the search result in the Output window is done now, and there is also a new Engine info tab in the Info Pane that lists all of the failures that an engine has encountered so you can find the problem scenes. Also, I have fixed the CPU and memory information streams that sometimes get locked up, and made a few other small fixes and improvements.

  Thu, 10/Feb/2011 5:28 PM
177 Posts
>> divide up a single frame into slices and send the slices to multiple machines to render it faster

how about final gather ? you cant simply divide the image or FG not fit together
you need to render FG to file each pc and combine the maps to one final map for reuse afterwards
it is possible but you need to use a mel scripts constuction and job dependencies
i have a DR solution for Maya aswell vray but it was a pain to get a propper workflow

it still have some glitches if it comes to Image Magik and reassamble the images
exr is and tif 32bit are fun - IM not understand each format correctly and miss gamma or alpha in the images
exr storetype "tiled" or color depth "integer" are not working in IM
if you know a realy "magic" tool let me know
  Fri, 11/Feb/2011 10:52 AM
12 Posts
Ta for the response, entirely understood, progress is indeed being made and can't wait to get a chance to fire it up here. Even more nice features!! :)

We've got Modo & Mantra rendering as slices/tiles here. With modo though, like QM pointed out for Maya, we have to write out an irradiance cache and Modo uses that rather than have a weird join where the gathering incidence breaks because it's a tile... Mantra, that still loads everything but works well 'cept some resolutions don't stitch too cleverly for me, need to spend time on that tho.

I feel your pain trying to stitch em all back, we wound up using fusion & python to autocomp all the AOVs, save a tile for each and remove the tiles if all were present.

One thing I did find out there which was handy, was the Python CGkit that had a cool stitching routine in there which we've implemented here, be it heavily modified, but trying to find openExr python tools and libs for windows is a proper pain for us at the moment, uber-frustrating. ;)

Cheers again for the update!


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