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> Forum Home > Announcements > Happy 10th Birthday Smedge!

  Fri, 03/Jun/2011 1:48 AM
1136 Posts
June marks the 10 year anniversary of Smedge as a commercial product, with the public release of Smedge 2.

The first version of Maya released for Windows NT did not include the Dispatcher, which was a holdover from the Wavefront days. While we were a mixed Irix/NT environment, we could still use the Irix boxes as a farm and the NT boxes as the workstations. But we needed to be able to add the workstation boxes for rendering too.

The original Smedge (version 1, still available here: http://www.uberware.net/smedge1/old_index.shtml) was a render queue program for Maya on Windows NT. It could queue renders, but only on a single machine, and it had a simple interface, making it friendly to the less technical artists. The interface was loosely based on Dispatcher, but customized for Maya, so it could do things like estimate the time to finish a render based on frames finishing.

When we stopped using our Irix machines, we lost network rendering. To fill the gap, I put together Smedge 2. After years of work in production at our beta sites, Smedge 2 was released commercially at the beginning of June 2001.

Smedge 2 was quite successful and "to Smedge" became a verb at some shops synonymous with "to render". It included full network queuing, distribution and monitoring, and had advanced features like automatic redundancy and multiple rendering product support, while keeping a simple to use design. Though it lacked customization and cross-platform ability, it is still in production use on thousands of machines around the world to this day.

The release of Smedge 3 in August 2005, marks the commercial release of the current code base. It is a truly cross platform tool, that works identically and seamlessly on all platforms. It is in full production use at facilities that range from one to over a thousand machines. It's features rival competitors that cost several times as much. It is the back bone for commercial render farms, effects and production companies large and small, commercial aviation, research and defense, auto manufacturing, legal recreation, and many other fields, and it is used and taught at universities and art schools around the world.

The next generation of Smedge is already underway. The new database will be much simpler yet much more flexible, expanding customization options and improving performance. It will allow even greater scalability, and make it much simpler to add features like security and auditing, and to implement control features like Wake-on-LAN.

So thank you all for a great decade of Smedge. I look forward to many more to come.
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