Deadline FAQ


Which operating systems does Deadline support?

The Deadline Client software (which includes the tools for submitting, monitoring, and rendering jobs) is supported on Windows, Linux, and Max OSX. The Deadline Repository can be installed on any type of network share, regardless of the operating system. See the System Requirements for more information.

Does Deadline require any additional software to be installed on my machines?

This depends on the operating system.

  • On Windows, Deadline requires the .NET Framework to be installed.
  • On Linux, Deadline requires the Mono Framework to be installed.
  • On Mac OSX, Deadline requires X11 and the Mono Framework to be installed.

See the System Requirements for more information, including versions of .NET and Mono that Deadline requires.

What software does Deadline support?

Deadline supports a wide range of 2D and 3D rendering applications. See the complete listing of Supported Software for more information.

Can we create our own plug-ins for Deadline?

Yes, and the Deadline team encourages you to do so. You can create your own plug-ins using the Plug-in Scripting Guide.

All the plug-ins that are shipped with Deadline use the same plug-in API, so feel free to modify them to suit your needs.

What is the Deadline Repository?

The Deadline Repository is a collection of files and folders that stores all the Deadline information, including jobs and slave settings. It is NOT a program. See the How It Works documentation for more information.

Which Remoting Software is Supported By Deadline?

Deadline integrates with many remoting applications, such as ARD, RDC, Radmin, and VNC. This allows you to connect to remote machines easily through the Monitor application. See the Remote Access documentation for more information.


How much does Deadline cost?

If you are running two slaves or less, Deadline will run in LICENSE-FREE mode. If you need to run more than two slaves, pricing information can be found in the Sales section of the website. Note that 1 year of maintenance is included in the cost.

Note that if you’re using LICENSE-FREE mode, and you decide to purchase licenses for more machines, you must purchase a license for all the machines, including the machines you were originally using in LICENSE-FREE mode.

Is annual renewal of the Maintenance Subscription required?

While not mandatory, the Deadline Sales team encourages you to keep your maintenance subscription up to date. While on maintenance, you are entitled to all Deadline upgrades at no additional cost. If you no longer have an active maintenance subscription and you would like to upgrade to a new version of Deadline, there is an Upgrade option you can take advantage of. See the Sales section of the website for more information.


How is Deadline licensed?

Deadline uses the FLEXnet license server system to distribute floating licenses for the Deadline Slave applications. Only the Deadline Slave applications require a license, so you can submit from and monitor jobs on as many machines as you like.

How does licensing work if I’m running multiple slaves on the same machine?

Each slave instance requires a license. So if you are running 2 slaves on the same machine, you will be using 2 licenses.

What is LICENSE-FREE mode?

LICENSE-FREE mode allows you to run up to two Deadline Slaves without requiring a license, and is intended for anyone that has one or two extra machines that they would like to utilize for rendering. The only limitation in LICENSE-FREE mode is the limit on the number of slaves in your repository. Other than that, Deadline is fully functional.

Does the FLEXlm license server need to run on the same machine that the Deadline Repository is installed on?

No. While the FLEXnet license server application is installed with the Repository, you can copy it to any machine on your network and run it from there.

What is the format I should use to specify my license server when configuring the slaves?

Whenever you are prompted to specify your license server, you should use the format @SERVER, where SERVER is the host name or IP address of your license server machine. If you have configured your license server to use a specific port, you need to include the port as well using the format PORT@SERVER. For example:


Don’t forget the ‘@’ symbol!

How do I get my host name, IP address, and MAC address for the license file?

See the Licensing documentation for steps to retrieve this information for all three operating systems.

What if the host name or IP address of my license server machine changes?

The license file’s encrypted key is only based on the MAC address, so if your host name or IP address changes, you can modify your license file to make the change. The process to do this is explained in the Licensing documentation.

What if the MAC address of my license server changes?

If the MAC address changes because you swapped Ethernet cards or you are moving the license server to a different machine, you will need to send your new license server details to Deadline Sales so that a new license file can be generated (there may be a cost associated with this).

Installation and Updating

How many machines do I install the Deadline Repository on?

Just one, preferably a server.

Is it possible to install the repository share on a NAS drive?

Yes. See the Deadline Repository Installation section of the manual for more details on how to do this.

Do I have to install the Deadline Client on the Repository machine?

This is only necessary if you plan to run Pulse on the Repository machine, or if you wish for the Repository machine to participate in rendering or job submission.

Are there any known issues with running the Deadline Client applications on the Repository machine?

Permission problems can occur on Linux and Mac OSX if the Client applications are connecting to the repository via a local path. To avoid these problems, you should mount the network path on the Repository machine and have the Client applications use that instead.

Do I have to uninstall the Deadline Client or Repository to upgrade the software?

This depends on if you’re doing a major or minor upgrade. See the Upgrading documentation for more information.

When installing or upgrading the Deadline Repository, do I have to run the installer on the Repository machine itself?

While it’s recommended that you run the installer from the Repository machine, it is possible to run the installer from a remote machine providing that the destination path is network accessible. In the case of installing to a NAS drive, the latter is your only option.


In previous version of Deadline, the scene file would get submitted with the job, but in Deadline 5, this is no longer the case. How do I revert back to the old behavior?

In Deadline 5, we decided to change the default behavior for all of our submitters to not submit the scene file with the job. The only exception was the 3dsmax submitter, since we wanted Deadline to behave like backburner out of the box. However, there has always been an option in each submitter to submit the scene file with the job. So to revert back to the old behavior, just enable this option before submitting the job.


Can Deadline split up a sequence of frames across multiple machines?

Yes. In most cases, individual frames are independent of each other. So multiple machines can render frames concurrently, which reduces the overall render time of the sequence.

Can Deadline split up a single frame across multiple machines? In other words, can Deadline do distributed rendering?

While Deadline doesn’t directly support distributed rendering of a single frame, it supports a feature called Tile Rendering, which splits up the frame into regions and sends them off to multiple machines. Tile Rendering is currently supported by the 3ds Max, Maya, Modo, Rendition, and Softimage plug-ins, and automated image re-assembly is only supported for certain formats. Other formats will have to be re-assembled manually using an application like Photoshop.

Deadline keeps rendering the same tasks over and over and never moves on. What’s wrong?

When Deadline repeats a task, it means that the task reported an error. When an error is reported, the task is requeued so that it can be attempted again. You can view the errors for a job from the Deadline Monitor by right-clicking on the job in the job list and selecting Job Reports -> View Error Reports.

You can configure Deadline to limit the number of attempts it makes on a task before moving on. This is helpful because it prevents a bad job from affecting the rest of the queue. See the Jobs: Failure Detection section of the Repository Options documentation for more information.


On Mac OSX, I have Mono installed, but the Deadline applications don’t run.

Check if you have X11 installed. If you don’t have X11 installed, you should be able to grab it from your Mac install CD.

On Mac OSX, the Deadline applications are no longer connecting to the Repository, and are instead complaining that the ‘bin’ folder cannot be found.

In versions of Deadline prior to 5.0, a ghost repository folder is created in the Volumes folder when it becomes disconnected. This would result in an a ‘-1’ being appended to the actual repository folder the next time you connect to it. For example, instead of being mounted to /Volumes/DeadlineRepository, it will be mounted to /Volumes/DeadlineRepository-1. This bug was fixed in Deadline 5.0.

When this problem occurs, you need to unmount the repository, get rid of the ghost folder that was created in /Volumes and then remount it. Volumes can be found in Finder by selecting Go -> Go To Folder (shift, apple, g) and typing in /Volumes. You can do this in terminal as well.

On Windows, all of the Deadline applications crash, giving me a generic error message and the option to debug. What can I do to fix this?

This problem is often caused by a corrupt .NET Framework Run-Time installation. Reinstalling .NET will fix the problem in most cases.

In versions of Deadline prior to 3.0, this problem could be due to a missing Tahoma font (regular, not bold). Simply installing this font should fix the problem. Note that this problem doesn’t seem to occur if both Tahoma regular and bold are missing, just when Tahoma regular is missing.

After changing screen resolution, or moving from a dual monitor to single monitor display, the Deadline applications appear offscreen.

In the local Deadline settings folder, open up the corresponding options xml file (monitorOptions.xml, slaveOptions.xml, etc) in a text editor and change the MainWindowLocation setting to (0,0), like so:





The Deadline seettings folder can be found in the following locations:

  • Windows: In the local user profile folder (ie: C:\Documents and Settings\[user]\Local Settings\Application Data\Thinkbox\Deadline\settings).
  • Linux: In the local user home folder (ie: ~/Deadline/settings).
  • Mac OSX: In the local user home folder (ie: /Users/[user]/Deadline/settings)

Deadline Application FAQs