Positive thoughts about RenderPal

RenderPal 2.14

Renderpal Server console

Moving from the robustly equipped* Autodesk 3ds max to the pioneering state of Blender, I was looking for a proper studio render management solution.

Blender doesn’t come with a batch rendering / render management solution.
Some notable solutions to that are RenderPilot which is a free and very effective batch render utility for Blender I used extensively (RenderPilot is developed by Wigglyframes),
And Flamenco which is a Cloud/Net rendering management solution for Blender currently in beta development stage.

Flamenco is the formal solution that will be offered by the Blender Institute, along with a cloud service for Blender cloud members.
I’m really interested in Flamenco, not only because I’m a Blender cloud member and can use the Flamenco cloud service, but also because to my understanding Flamenco is capable of sophisticated control of Blender render settings, like the samples range and seed, combining renders with different sample ranges and such.
However Flameco is currently at Beta stage of development, and it’s components don’t yet have friendly installer packages, so you have to install and configure all the components, and their prerequisites manually through command-line using parameters specified in configuration files etc’, a task that’s just too complicated for me especially being in an urgent need to get things running to deliver animations to customers.
That being said, Flamenco and it’s Blender cloud service look very promising and I will definitely give it another try when the package gets proper installers.

So after a quick web search for render management software I came across RenderPal, which is a render management solutions that supports a wide variety of video/animation software systems, and has a fully functional free version.

I registered at the RenderPal website for the free license, installed the software components, and after some learning and trouble shooting I started using the software, eventually purchasing a commercial version.

I find RenderPal to be very efficient render management solution, it’s easy to install, it has good monitoring capabilities, it’s flexible, and can interface with a wide variety of animation / post production software.
I find it’s SMPT mail notifications feature very convenient, and the company also provides responsive tech support when needed.

* Autodek 3ds max ships bundled with Back Burner Net render management software.

Setting up RenderPal with Blender

RenderPal 2.14 | Blender 2.78

When attempting to set up render management for Blender using the free version of RenderPal render farm software,
After dealing with the basic technical stuff of installing and configuring all the components,
I came upon a bizarre problem while testing render jobs:
The system would not recognize that a chunk (part of the job) was successfully finished, and went on to render the same chunk again and again, over-writing the files that were created the previous time.
After some frustrations and endless checks,
I wrote a message to the RenderPal support and it appears the ‘Blender renderer” that is the RenderPal module that interfaces with blender, was outdated,
They sent me a new version of the module with instructions how to update it (very simple), so I did and the problem was solved.