Troubleshooting Guide
 
 
 

This is a guide to solving common problems associated with network rendering. Solutions to these problems vary, depending on whether you are using the network rendering programs as installed Windows Services, or running them in Desktop mode. Also see “Troubleshooting Backburner” in the Autodesk Backburner User’s Guide.

PROBLEM: When I try to assign a job in the Network Job Assignment dialog, some of the servers display a gray or yellow icon.

SUGGESTION

Regardless of their state in the Network Job Assignment dialog, servers can always be assigned new jobs.

The gray icon means that the server is currently not available to render a job. This state can occur for several reasons, including:

  • The server has not been correctly started. (See “Setting Up Backburner Server” in the Autodesk Backburner Installation Guide.)
  • The server has been disallowed for the current time period in the Properties dialog of the Monitor. (See “Setting the Availability for Rendering Nodes” in the Autodesk Backburner User’s Guide.)
  • The server has experienced abnormal termination.

    If you've checked for and corrected these conditions and the servers are still unavailable, stop running Server on each of the problem machines, and restart the service after a few seconds. This "purges" the server and may solve the problem. Then click Refresh in the Network Job Assignment dialog to display the most recent information about the server.

The yellow icon means that the server is busy rendering another job. If the server should not be busy, verify that the queue is clear of jobs by opening the Queue Monitor and connecting to the Manager. If the queue is clear of rendering jobs and the server is still flagged as busy, stop running server on each of the problem machines, and restart the service after a few seconds.

PROBLEM: When I submit a job to be rendered, the server fails.

SUGGESTION

Servers can fail for a variety of reasons during a network render job. Many of these reasons are covered in “Troubleshooting” in the Autodesk Backburner User’s Guide. One reason that is specific to 3ds Max which can cause a server to fail is the presence of a scene which does not contain texture coordinates.

All errors are recorded in the appropriate log file. You can learn more about log files in “Configuring Backburner Log Files” in the Autodesk Backburner User’s Guide.

Here are some of the error messages related to 3ds Max, along with a likely cause, that you will see in the Errors tab of the Queue Monitor when a failed server is selected:

ERR: ----- Render Error:

ERR: D:\MAPS\3DS.CEL [where this is the location of a map in the submitted scene]

The Server could not find 3ds.cel in the local path specified, which means that the path to this map is not been correct for network rendering. To fix the problem, do one of the following:

  • If all maps are being shared from a single directory, make sure the directory is correctly shared with full permissions. See Sharing a Directory.
  • Make sure that you have used either the full UNC path name for the bitmaps or that the maps directory has been mounted to the same drive letter on each machine. In this case, verify that particular path has been added to the Configure User Paths dialog External Files panel of every server's local version of 3ds Max or that the particular path was used when assigning bitmaps in the scene to be rendered.
  • Verify the bitmaps still reside in the shared directory.
  • Add an Alternate Map Path on the Network Job Assignment dialog that points to the folder containing the missing map.

ERR: Object (UVW 1): Sphere01 requires texture coordinates and may not render correctly

Open the scene and make sure the errant object is assigned texture coordinates. This can be as simple as adding a UVW Map modifier to the object.

ERR: Frame error

Texture coordinates must be applied to the specified object to render it on the server.

ERR: Load Error: Missing DLL'S

Following this error, you will also receive a listing of each of the missing DLLs in the scene. Files needed by the server are not available to render the job. Make sure that all the plug-in DLLs used in a job reside on each of the servers rendering the job.

ERR: Job not found. Ok if just deleted

When you delete a job, the Manager sends out a notification to all clients (Monitors) telling that the job has changed. This is the same message sent when the job completes, gets suspended, resumed, etc. The monitors in turn request the job status from the manager. The manager doesn’t find the job (it was just deleted) and returns this error to the monitor.

ERR: Targa - The device is not ready. (0x15)

ERR: Frame error

The server could not write the output file. "Targa" represents the file output type, and will change depending on the output file type you selected. This problem can occur for several reasons:- If you are running the Backburner Server as an installed Windows service, make sure that the user account that the service is logged to has adequate permissions. Administrative permissions are recommended.

  • Check to make sure the target output directory is shared, with both read and write permissions.
  • Verify that the path for saving file output on the Render Setup dialog (or the Output Event dialog in Video Post) is set to a valid UNC path name.
  • If you are writing to a shared directory mounted locally on each server, verify that the directory is mounted to the same drive letter on each server, and that the file output path is set for that drive letter.

PROBLEM: The Server fails to render a frame and displays the following error:

Rebooting 3ds Max by force due to load timeout.

SUGGESTION

The Server has exceeded either the Wait For 3ds Max To Load or Wait For 3ds Max To Render value. This is usually caused by attempting to render large files over the network. Increase these values in the Advanced Settings dialog.

PROBLEM: I cannot assign more than one server to a job in the Network Job Assignment dialog.

If the output of a network-rendering job is an AVI or MOV file, or a single user device, the job can be assigned to a single server only. The Network Job Assignment dialog changes, depending on the file output type of a job. For example, if you are network rendering to one of the file formats above, the All and None buttons do not appear and the dialog title bar contains the word "Single."

If a job that has an AVI or MOV file output type is stopped for any reason (to deactivate it, or because a machine goes down), re-rendering the file restarts at the first frame. Frames cannot be appended later to these file types.

SUGGESTION

To take advantage of the distributed power of network rendering we suggest you first render to a series of Targa files. Then use the Targa files as either an animated background in an empty 3ds Max scene, or as an image input event in Video Post and render the sequence out to the desired output type (for example, AVI).

PROBLEM: When I click the Render button on the Render Setup dialog, I get an error dialog stating:

Error Retrieving Configuration File

This error usually is the result of a corrupt installation of the Backburner applications which caused an errant registry setting.

SUGGESTION

Try reinstalling the Backburner components of 3ds Max or manually edit the system registry.

Editing the registry:

  1. Choose Start Run.
  2. Enter RegEdit and click OK
  3. Browse to HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE SOFTWARE Autodesk Backburner 2008.1
  4. Check the CfgPath entry. Make sure the value is set to c:\Program Files\Autodesk\Backburner\Network\nrapi.conf.
  5. Close the Registry Editor.

PROBLEM: Backburner not found message when clicking Render button:

Cannot network render. Backburner not found or not installed.

This error dialog appears because the path to Backburner is either not set properly in the Path environment variable or Backburner is missing altogether.

SUGGESTION

Verify that the Path variable is set properly and make sure you've installed the latest version of Backburner.

PROBLEM: Clicking Render button results in Backburner plugin error:

Error creating 3ds Max plugin instance for Backburner.

The path to 3ds Max is not set in the PlugPath section of the \Backburner\Network\nrapi.conf file.

SUGGESTION

Verify the presence of the \Backburner\Network\nrapi.conf file and check the PlugPath. It should look like this:

PlugPath=C:/Program Files/Autodesk/Backburner/

PROBLEM: The manager and server windows display strange, garbled text:

Your error message includes @#$$#@.

This error occurs if the nrres.dat file is missing or damaged. This file is located in: C:\Program Files\Autodesk\Backburner\Network

SUGGESTION

Copy the nrres.dat file from another system that is not exhibiting the problem, or reinstall Backburner.