Rendering > 
Network Rendering

Network rendering is a means of mass-processing multiple rendering tasks or jobs. In order to facilitate network rendering, Autodesk BackburnerTM is installed with 3ds Max. The Backburner software is responsible for coordinating how job assignments are processed.

You can perform network rendering with both the default scanline and mental ray renderers. In its most efficient form, network rendering uses multiple computers, connected over a network, to perform rendering tasks; typically the rendering of animations with hundreds or thousands of frames. Even a small network of three or four PCs can save substantial rendering time and help you meet deadlines.

However, network rendering can be equally useful if you have only a single PC and need to render a number of images. You can assign the jobs that need to be rendered and Backburner can manage the rendering of each job while you're away from the computer. Commonly, jobs are assigned submitted just before you leave the office. when you arrive the next morning, all your rendering are waiting for you to review.

Network rendering is designed to render whatever is set up in your scene; that is, it will render the viewport, part of a viewport, camera view, and so on, as saved in the scene file. You can also pass batch-rendering tasks to Backburner from the Batch Render tool. You can queue up tasks from any number of cameras in a scene. Each task can load a save scene state or use a particular rendering preset.

The requirements and procedures presented here assume you are the administrator of a closed network set up exclusively for network rendering. In practice, you can use the network for file sharing and other purposes, but if conflicts arise, you might need to cancel those uses. The easiest network to set up, operate, and maintain is one dedicated to rendering.

NoteFor specific information about setting up network rendering on a single system, refer to Basic Procedure 1: Single-System Network Rendering.

If you're a system administrator for a more complex network, you can use the information in this file as a guideline. The basic approach is the same for any network.

ImportantIt is strongly recommended that you follow these procedures for setting up and running network rendering. Do not attempt network rendering without reading the instructions that follow.

The links on this page are ordered like chapters in a manual: a sequence of major topics containing more specific nested topics. Links marked Next Step indicate the next topic in the sequence. Moving from one topic to the next takes you through the necessary steps to set up your network for rendering.

NoteNetwork rendering functions are also available from MAXScript. See “Network Render Interface” and “Interface: NetRender” in the MAXScript Help.

About Backburner

Network rendering is performed by software named Backburner. Functionality is primarily the same as in previous versions of 3ds Max with the addition of the following:

Backburner Documentation

The following table summarizes the Backburner Documentation set.

For Information About:

Using Autodesk Backburner with 3ds Max This Network Rendering section.
Autodesk Backburner User Interface (Manager, Server, and Monitor), Troubleshooting, and Administering Autodesk Backburner Autodesk Backburner User’s Guide (In 3ds Max go to Help Additional Help Backburner User's Guide)
Autodesk Backburner Configuration Autodesk Backburner Installation Guide (In 3ds Max go to Help Additional Help Backburner Installation Guide)
Installing Autodesk Backburner with 3ds Max 3ds Max Install Guide (Click the Documentation link on the Autodesk Autodesk 3ds Max 2011 Install DVD 1.)

About Mental Ray

Network rendering with the mental ray Renderer

The mental ray renderer supports network rendering via Backburner and the command line. The steps for setting up and submitting jobs are exactly the same as those you'd use for the scanline renderer. No additional licensing or fees are necessary.

Next Step

How Network Rendering Works