Why Render Farms?¶
In some cases, rendering on your local machine is not performant or economic. For example if you are working on a complex scene and need a high resolution render or even an animation, it would take several days or even weeks to get the render of the quality you need.
Paying for compute on a render farm makes perfect sense in these cases. You will get the render quicker and in a lot of cases cheaper than if you rendered on a local machine. It does pose additional challenges in scene management.
If you sent the
.blend file as is your render might come back with missing textures, meshes and
other problems. We need to send not just the
.blend file but also all other files it depends on.
This is often called a "dependency closure", we send the file and all its dependencies together.
There are two main ways to achieve this.
Packing Everything into One Big .blend (recommended)¶
This is the approach we recommend. You make all datablocks local, pack all external files into the
blend (textures, sounds, fonts, ...). Then you send just the big
.blend file to the render farm.
This sidesteps problems with paths, case-sensitive filesystems and makes sending to the render farm
Unfortunately you may need to run through several steps of making everything local. You have to make the "container" datablock local before making anything inside it local. That's why just one step of making datablocks local may still leave some linked datablocks. Check out renderset's Save Packed feature to automate this.
Packing libraries is not a silver bullet
Blender 3.0 and newer support packing libraries into the .blend but that only works for libraries with relative paths. Your mileage may wary but we recommend making datablocks local instead. It should also be slightly more efficient in cases where you don't use the entire library.
Pack to a separate file
We heavily recommend packing everything to a separate file, called e.g.
working on your "non-packed"
.blend. It is not efficient to work on a huge file, saving and
loading times will be slow and it will take a lot of space on your hard-drive.
Relative Paths and Multiple Files¶
We can make all file paths in the
.blend relative and then send all the files in such a way that
relative paths hold even after transfer. We need to make sure that nothing in the directory we are
sending depends on anything outside the directory.
Relative paths make sense mainly for custom farms
This is overcomplicated for rendering on external commercial render farms but might make sense if you run your own rendering solution. Especially if you are using different operating systems - e.g. Windows for your workstations and Linux for the render workers.
Splitting up Scenes¶
Consider splitting up huge scenes into multiple files. This is especially helpful when rendering
animations. You can render each "camera take" from a different
.blend file and cut the final
video in a video editing application.