Render Farm Instructions for Maya

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A render farm is a group of networked computers that work together to speed up rendering. This is achieved by parcelling out the frames to be rendered amongst the networked computers. The networked computers that do the rendering are called “workers”.

CalArts has a render farm that works with Maya, Cinema4D, and After Effects. For render farm support, send an email to

Preparing and Submitting your Maya Job

  1. In order for the render farm workers to render your shot, the project file and all assets (including textures) used by that project file need to be in your Renderfarm folder on the server. Copy your Maya project directory and all assets for that project to your Renderfarm folder if they are not already there.
  1. Now that your Maya project directory is in your Renderfarm folder, launch Maya and go to File > Set Project.
  1. This will bring up the Set Project window. In this window, select your scene’s Maya project directory in your Renderfarm folder and click Set.
  1. Go to File > Open and open your scene file from your Maya project directory in your Renderfarm folder on the server. Check that all your assets are loading correctly. The paths to your assets (such as texture files) in your Maya scene should all point to locations in your Renderfarm folder on the server.

If your Maya scene is referencing other Maya scene files, those referenced scene files will also need to be in your Renderfarm folder on the server along with their textures. You may need to reconnect your references using Maya’s Reference Editor if their location has changed. Alternatively, you could import your referenced scene files into your Maya scene using the “Import Objects from Reference” command from the Reference Editor. However, before importing references you should save your Maya scene as a new version. This new version of the scene will only be used for rendering.

  1. The render farm can only render out image sequences. Make sure that your scene’s Render Settings are set to render out an image sequence (for example, a PNG sequence).
  1. Now that you’ve confirmed your render settings are correct, save your scene file.
  2. Navigate to the Deadline Shelf in Maya and Click on the green icon in that shelf.
  1. The Submit Job To Deadline pop-up window will appear. In the Output Path field, select a location in your Renderfarm folder on the server where you want your images to get rendered out to. Make sure the Group field is set to mac. If your project requires an NVIDA GPU to render (i.e. projects using RedShift), select the windows group. Click Submit Job.

The render farm can only render images to a location in your Renderfarm folder on the server.

  1. A pop-up window will appear confirming that your job was submitted successfully. Click OK.
  1. Close the Submit Job to Deadline Window.
  1. Close your Maya scene file without saving changes.

To view your project in the render queue, see Render Wrangling with Deadline.

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