Using Backburner for Batch Rendering

Using Backburner for batch rendering is a simple matter of starting 3ds Max Design, running the Backburner Manager and Server programs, specifying the scenes you want rendered, and then proceeding with the rendering. In this case, Backburner coordinates a series of rendering tasks that are network rendered on a single computer.

The process is very similar to rendering over a network. With network rendering, the scenes you submit to the rendering queue are called 'jobs'. The following steps show how to submit multiple jobs to the rendering queue.

Your system has to be properly configured in the TCP/IP protocol (see “TCP/IP Settings” in the Autodesk Backburner Installation Guide) to perform Backburner batch rendering. If you do not have a network card or if you are not connected to the internet, then you may need to configure TCP/IP with the Microsoft Loop Back Adapter.

NoteBatch rendering by means of Backburner differs from batch rendering with the Batch Render tool. However, you can use the Batch Render tool to create a queue of rendering tasks and then pass the tasks to Backburner to coordinate the rendering process.

Network Files

When Backburner Manager begins a job, a series of files are created in the \network\jobs folder of your Backburner folder. Among other things, this means that you can shut down your computer completely (either on purpose or by accidental power failure), and when you next start Backburner Manager and Server, they’ll pick up where they left off and continue with your rendering queue.

NoteThe exception to the above rule is when rendering multiframe file formats, such as AVI and MOV. Due to limitations in these file formats, if you stop in the middle of rendering one of these files, when you begin rendering again, the entire file will have to be rendered from the beginning.


To batch render several jobs:

  1. Start 3ds Max Design.
  2. Start Backburner Manager.

    The Backburner Manager window appears. Its window displays the words: “Starting Network Manager.”

  3. Start Backburner Server.

    The Backburner Server window appears. Its window displays the words: “Starting Backburner Server,” followed by additional startup messages.

  4. In 3ds Max Design, load the first scene you want rendered.
  5. Activate the viewport you want rendered, and click the Render Setup button on the toolbar.
  6. Set up the various rendering parameters as you would if you were rendering only this scene.
  7. In the Render Output group, turn on Net Render.
  8. Click Render.

To assign network jobs:

At this point, the Network Job Assignment dialog appears. Its main purpose is submit the current job to the Backburner Manager with all its render settings, including job name and net rendering specifics. The Backburner Manager then takes over and begins the rendering process.

  1. In the Job Name field, either accept the default name (the name of the scene), or specify a new one.
  2. Click the Connect button to connect 3ds Max Design to the Manager. After a moment, your TCP/IP address appears in the field over the window, and the Server appears in the window.
  3. Click the server in the window so that its icon displays a green circle with an arrow through it.
  4. Click the Submit button.
    NoteEach job should have a unique output file name and/or path to avoid overwriting output files. If you get an alert dialog that says, "Another job is using the same output name…," you can click the No button, click Cancel to exit the Network Job Assignment dialog, and then change the output name and/or path. Otherwise, you can click the Yes button and let the job overwrite the frames from the other job in the queue.
  5. The Job Assignment dialog goes away, and the rendering begins. The Manager reports: “Job (job name) submitted.” The Server reports that it has received the job, and then begins reporting each frame it’s completed.
  6. At this point, you can open the next scene to be rendered, and then repeat the steps, beginning with step 4 in the previous procedure.

Once you’ve submitted the jobs you want rendered, you can exit 3ds Max Design (do not shut down the Backburner Manager or Server), or you can begin working on a new scene, or editing an old scene. Keep in mind, however, that your processor is spending most of its time working on rendering, so your computer will slower than usual.

If you need to monitor the batch render processes, you can use the Backburner monitor for that purpose. (See “Understanding the Backburner Monitor” in the Autodesk Backburner User’s Guide.)