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Network Rendering with WorldBuilder 4.

WorldBuilder can use multiple workstations to render one or more WorldBuilder animations. To perform network rendering with World Builder you have to satisfy the following requirements:

  • There should be at least one registered copy of WorldBuilder Pro.
  • All computers taking part in rendering have to be in a local network.
  • Every computer taking part in rendering must have WB installed. Note that for those copies of WB that are used for network rendering only licensing is not required.
  • Job file (see below) and all other project files (*.AWB file, textures, libraries etc.) have to be located on a network disk. IMPORTANT: This disk must be mapped by the same letter on each local machine to make it possible to refer to it from anywhere of your renderfarm.

Note: WorldBuilder Genesis does not support the network rendering. Please, upgrade to WorldBuilder Pro.

Network rendering is accomplished by creating and executing the so-called WorldBuilder job files. Job files are ASCII text files, the headline of which is the full pathname to the *.AWB file, and the other lines initially contain the frame numbers to be rendered. An example of contents of a newly created job file is shown below:

You can create a job file either manually or automatically from the registered copy of WorldBuilder. To do so, first of all, load the project file you are about to render. When the project file is loaded select Tools / Generate job file in the main menu line of WorldBuilder (see the left panel below). Just the Generate Job File dialog appears, (the right panel) which allows you to locate the file and set the required frame range.

Note that all the rendering options (output filenames, quality of rendering, etc) must be already specified in this project. All the input and output filenames must refer to existing network drives.

Click OK to generate the TestRender.job file (as shown in the figure above) and save it to the specified location (say, M:\Projects\TestRender.job).

When a job file has been created you can execute it on a local computer. Execution of job files does not require a licensed copy of World Builder. All that you need is to start WorldBuilder in the network mode. To do so:

  • Start the Command Prompt from the Windows Sart menu.
  • Change the current directory to the folder where executable files of WorldBuilder are located. In the Command Prompt type "cd <full path to wb4.exe>" and press ENTER.
  • In the Command Prompt type the following command: "wb4.exe -job". Press ENTER.

WorldBuilder starts in the network mode. The main menu line in this mode consists of the only item "File". Select File / Execute Job File as shown at the left panel below

Network mode

Full licensed mode

The standard "Open File" dialog appears. Locate the job file you have just created and click "Open". The rendering on the local machine starts.

Note that you can execute job file using a licensed copy of WorldBuilder (so that there is no need to re-start it in the network mode). To do so select Tools / Execute job file... in the main menu line (right panel above).

You can also execute job file directly from the command line. To do so append the full path to the job file to the previous command. The resulting command (for our example TestRender.job) will then look like: "wb4.exe -job M:\Projects\TestRender.job"

Execute the job file on each computer that you want to network render. You can add or remove network-rendering computers at any time. To interrupt network rendering on a single computer press the ESC key. If you stop network rendering on a computer, which is rendering a frame, another computer of the network will render the frame.

When WorldBuilder is rendering a frame, it places symbol "w" (for work) before the frame number in the job file followed by the name of the computer working on this frame. When the frame is done, “w” is replaced with "d" (for done), see the example below.

NOTE: If rendering fails because of a power, or network failure the job file will indicate that some frames are still in progress. Frames in progress are marked by "w" before the frame number. Simply edit the Job File and remove the "w" from all frames, which failed to render, and restart the job file.

TIP: You can also create a batch file for a network rendering, when you want to specify multiple job files for execution. This is useful when you want to be sure that all computers, which take part in a network rendering, are executing the same job file and thus rendering the same scene. You must also specify the entire path to the WorldBuilder program and check whether job file and WorldBuilder program are on the networked disk drive.