3ds Command

Job Submission

You can submit jobs from within 3ds Max by installing the integrated submission script, or you can submit them from the Monitor. The instructions for installing the integrated submission script can be found further down this page.

To submit from within 3ds Max, select the Deadline (3dsCmd) menu item that you created during the integrated submission script setup.

integrated monitor

Submission Options

The general Deadline options are explained in the Job Submission documentation, and the Draft/Integration options are explained in the Draft and Integration documentation. The 3ds Command specific options are:

  • Force Build: You can force 32 bit or 64 bit rendering.
  • Path Config: Allows you to specify an alternate path file in the MXP format that the slaves can use to find bitmaps that are not found on the primary map paths.
  • Show Virtual Frame Buffer: Enable the virtual frame buffer during rendering.
  • Apply VideoPost To Scene: Whether or not to use VideoPost during rendering.
  • Continue On Errors: Enable to have the 3ds command line renderer ignore errors during rendering.
  • Enable Local Rendering: If enabled, the frames will be rendered locally, and then copied to their final network location.
  • Gamma Correction: Enable to apply gamma correction during rendering.
  • Split Rendering: Enable split rendering. Specify the number of strips to split the frame into, as well as the overlap you want to use.
  • VRay/Mental Ray DBR: Enable this option to offload a VRay or Mental Ray DBR render to Deadline. See the VRay/Mental Ray DBR section for more information.
  • Run Sanity Check On Submission: Check for scene problems during submission.

VRay/Mental Ray off-load DBR

You can offload a VRay or Mental Ray DBR job to Deadline by enabling the Distributed Rendering option in your VRay or Mental Ray settings, and by enabling the VRay/Mental Ray DBR checkbox in the submission dialog. With this option enabled, a job will be submitted with its task count equal to the number of Slaves you specify, and it will render the current frame in the scene file.

The slave that picks up task 0 will be the “master”, and will wait until all other tasks are picked up by other slaves. Once the other tasks have been picked up, the “master” will update its local VRay or Mental Ray config file with the names of the machines that are rendering the other tasks. It will then start the distributed render by connecting to the other machines. Note that the render will not start until ALL tasks have been picked up by a slave.

It is recommended to setup VRay DBR or Mental Ray DBR for 3ds Max and verify it is working correctly prior to submitting a DBR off-load job to Deadline. RTT (Render To Texture) is not supported with distributed bucket rendering. If running multiple Deadline slaves on one machine, having these 2 or more slaves both pick up a different DBR job concurrently as either master or slave is not supported.

Notes for VRay DBR:

  • Ensure VRay is the currently assigned renderer in the 3ds Max scene file prior to submission.
  • You must have the Distributed Rendering option enabled in your VRay settings under the Settings tab.
  • Ensure “Save servers in the scene” (“Save hosts in the scene” in VRay v2) option in VRay distributed rendering settings is DISABLED as otherwise it will ignore the vray_dr.cfg file list!
  • Ensure “Max servers” value is set to 0. When set to 0 all listed servers will be used.
  • It is recommended to disable “Use local host” checkbox to reduce network traffic on the “master” machine, when using a large number of slaves (5+). If disabled, the “master” machine only organises the DBR process, sending rendering tasks to the Deadline slaves. This is particularly important if you intend to use the VRay v3+ “Transfer missing assets” feature. Note that Windows 7 OS has a limitation of a maximum of 20 other machines concurrently ‘connecting’ to the “master” machine.
  • VRay v3.00.0x has a bug in DBR when the “Use local host” is unchecked, it still demands a render node license. This is resolved in a newer version of VRay. Please contact Chaos Group for more information.
  • The slaves will launch the VRay Spawner executable found in the 3ds Max root directory. Do NOT install the VRay Spawner as a service on the master or slave machines. Additionally, Drive Mappings are unsupported when running as a service.
  • The vray_dr.cfg file in the 3ds Max’s plugcfg directory must be writeable so that the “master” machine can update it. This is typically located in the user profile directory, in which case it will be writeable already.
  • Chaos Group recommend that each machine to be used for DBR has previously rendered at least one other 3ds Max job prior to trying DBR on the same machine.
  • Ensure all slaves can correctly access any mapped drives or resolve all UNC paths to obtain any assets required by the 3ds Max scene file to render successfully. Use the Deadline Mapped Drives feature to ensure the necessary drive mappings are in place.
  • Default lights are not supported by Chaos Group in DBR mode and will not render.
  • Ensure you have sufficient VRay DR licenses if processing multiple VRay DBR jobs through Deadline concurrently. Use the Deadline Limits feature to limit the number of licenses being used at any time.
  • Ensure the necessary VRay executables & TCP/UDP ports have been allowed to pass-through the Windows Firewall. Please consult the VRay user manual for specific information.
  • VRay does NOT currently support in 3ds Max the ability to dynamically add or remove DBR slaves to the currently processing DBR render once started on the “master” slave.

Notes for Mental Ray DBR:

  • Ensure Mental Ray is the currently assigned renderer in the 3ds Max scene file prior to submission.
  • You must have the Distributed Render option enabled in your Mental Ray settings under the Processing tab.
  • The Mental Ray Satellite service must be running on your slave machines. It is installed by default during the 3ds Max installation.
  • The max.rayhosts file must be writeable so that the “master” machine can update it. It’s location is different for different versions of 3ds Max:
  • 2010 and earlier: It will be in the “mentalray” folder in the 3ds Max root directory.
  • 2011 and 2012: It will be in the “mentalimages” folder in the 3ds Max root directory.
  • 2013 and later: It will be in the “NVIDIA” folder in the 3ds Max root directory.
  • Ensure the “Use Placeholder Objects” checkbox is enabled in the “Translator Options” rollout of the “Processing” tab. When placeholder objects are enabled, geometry is sent to the renderer only on demand.
  • Ensure “Bucket Order” is set to “Hilbert” in the “Options” section of the “Sampling Quality” rollout of the “Renderer” tab. With Hilbert order, the sequence of buckets to render uses the fewest number of data transfers.
  • Contour shading is not supported with distributed bucket rendering.
  • Autodesk Mental Ray licensing in 3ds Max is restricted. Autodesk says “Satellite processors allow any owner of a 3ds Max license to freely use up to four slave machines (with up to four processors each and an unlimited number of cores) to render an image using distributed bucket rendering, not counting the one, two, or four processors on the master system that runs 3ds Max.” Mental Ray Standalone licensing can be used to go beyond this license limit. Use the Deadline Limits feature to limit the number of licenses being used at any time if required.
  • Ensure the necessary Mental Ray executables & TCP/UDP ports have been allowed to pass-through the Windows Firewall. Please consult the Autodesk 3ds Max user manual for specific information.

Sanity Check

The 3ds Command Sanity Check script defines a set of functions to be called to ensure that the scene submission does not contain typical errors like wrong render view and frame range settings, incorrect output path, etc.

The Sanity Check is enabled by the Run Sanity Check Automatically Before Submission checkbox in the User Options group of controls in the Submit To Deadline (3dsmaxCmd) dialog. You can also run the Sanity Check automatically by clicking the Run Now! button.

../_images/sanity_checker.png

The dialog contains the following elements:

  • The upper area (Error Report) lists the problems found in the current scene.
  • The lower area (Feedback Messages) lists the actions the Sanity Check performs and gives feedback to the user. The latest message is always on top.
  • Between the two areas, there is a summary text line listing the total number of errors and a color indicator of the current Sanity Check state. When red, the Sanity Check will not allow a job submission to be performed.

The Error Report

The left column of the Error Report displays a checkbox and the type of the error. The checkbox determines whether the error will be taken into account by the final result of the check. Currently, there are 3 types of errors:

  • FATAL: The error cannot be fixed automatically and requires manual changes to the scene itself. A job submission with such error would be pointless. The state of the checkbox is ignored and assumed always checked.
  • Can Be Fixed: The error can be fixed automatically or manually. If the checkbox is active, the error contributes to the final result. If unchecked, the error is ignored and handled as a warning.
  • Warning: The problem might not require fixing, but could be of importance to the user. It is not taken into account by the final result (the state of the checkbox is ignored and assumed always unchecked).

Repairing Errors

Right-clicking an Error Message in the Error Report window will cause an associated repair function to be executed and/or a Report Message to be output in the Feedback Messages window. This difference was caused by the switch to DotNet controls which handle double-clicks as checked events, changing the checkbox state in front of the error instead.

Updating the Error Report

You can rerun/update the Sanity Check in one of the following ways:

  • Clicking the dialog anywhere outside of the two message areas will rerun the Sanity Check and update all messages.
  • Double-clicking any Message in the Feedback Messages window will rerun the Sanity Check and update all messages.
  • Reparing an error by double-clicking will also automatically rerun the Sanity Check
  • Pressing the Run Now! button in the Submit To Deadline dialog will update the Sanity Check.

The following Sanity Checks are FATAL. These are errors that must be fixed manually before the job can be submitted.

Message Description Fix
The scene does not contain ANY objects! The scene is empty and should not be sent to Deadline. Load a valid scene or create/ merge objects, then try again.
Maxwell is the renderer and the current view is NOT a Camera. Maxwell renderer must render through an actual camera and will fail through a viewport. Double-click the error message to open a Select By Name dialog to pick a camera for the current viewport.
The scene contains objects or groups with the same name as a camera! The scene contains objects or groups with a duplicate name to a camera which could result in an incorrect object being used as the camera. Ensure you remove any duplicate named objects from your scene.

The following Sanity Checks can be automatically fixed before the job is submitted.

Message Description Fix
The current Scene Name is Untitled.

The scene has never been saved to a MAX file.

While it is possible to submit an untitled scene to Deadline, it is not a good practice.

Double-click the error message to open a Save As dialog and save to disk.
The current view is NOT a camera. The active viewport is not a camera viewport. Double-click the error message to open a Select By Name dialog to pick a camera for the current viewport.
The Render Time Output is set to SINGLE FRAME! While it is ok to send a single frame to Deadline, users are sending animations 99% of the cases. Double-click the error message to set the Render Time Output to “Active Time Segment:. The Render Dialog will open so you can check the options and set to Range or Frames instead.
The Render Output Path appears to point at a LOCAL DRIVE! While it is technically possible to save locally on each Slave, this is a bad idea - all Slaves should write their output to a central location on the network. Currently, disks C:, D: and E: are considered local and will be tested agains the output path. Double-click the error message to open the Render Dialog and select a valid path, then double-click again to retest.
The Render Output File Name ends with a DIGIT - trailing numbers might fail. The Name to be saved to ends with one, two or three digits. Rendering to this file name will append 4 more digits and make loading sequential files in other applications hard or impossible. This check is performed only when the type is not AVI or MOV and will ignore 4 trailing digits which will be replaced by 3dsmax correctly when rendering to sequential files. Double-click the error message to add an underscore _ to the end of the file name, for example z:\temp\test123.tga will be changed to z:\temp\test123_.tga
The Render Output will not be saved to a file. No renders will be saved as Render Scene Dialog checkbox is currently disabled. Double-click the error message to open the Render Dialog and to enable the Save File checkbox.
The Distributed Rendering option is enabled for this renderer. Check if Distributed Rendering is enabled for MR or V-Ray renderer. Double-click the error message to disable Distributed rendering.

The following Sanity Checks are simply warnings.

Message Description Fix
The Render Output Path is NOT DEFINED! No frames will be saved to disk. This is allowed if you want to output render elements only. Double-click the error message to open the Render Dialog and select a valid path, then double-click again to retest.
The Render Output is set to a MOVIE format.

The file extension is set to an AVI or MOV format.

In the current version of Deadline, this would result in a sequence of single frame MOV files rendered by separate slaves. In the future, the behaviour might be changed to render a single MOV or AVI file on a single slave as one Task.

Double-click the error message to open the Render Dialog and select a single frame output format, then double-click again to retest.

This list will be extended to include future checks and can be edited by 3rd parties by adding new definitions and functions to the original script. Documentation on extending the script will be published later. Please email suggestions for enhancements and additional test cases to Deadline Support.

Plug-in Configuration

You can configure the 3ds Command plug-in settings from the Monitor. While in super user mode, select Tools -> Configure Plugins and select the 3ds Command plug-in from the list on the left.

../_images/cp_3dsCmd.png

Render Executables

  • 3ds Max Cmd Executable: The path to the 3dsmaxcmd.exe executable file used for rendering. Enter alternative paths on separate lines. Different executable paths can be configured for each version installed on your render nodes.

Render Options

  • 3ds Cmd Verbosity Level: The verbose level (0-5).

VRay DBR and Mental Ray Satellite Rendering

  • Use IP Addresses: If offloading a VRay DBR or Mental Ray Satellite render to Deadline, Deadline will update the appropriate config file with the host names of the machines that are running the VRay Spawner or Satellite service. If this is enabled, the IP addresses of the machines will be used instead.

Integrated Submission Script Setup

The following procedure describes how to install the integrated Autodesk 3ds Command submission script. The integrated submission script allows for submitting 3ds Command Line render jobs to Deadline directly from within the Max editing GUI. The integrated render job submission script and the following installation procedure has been tested with Max versions 2010 and later (including Design editions).

Note: Due to a maxscript bug in the initial release of 3ds Max 2012, the integrated submission scripts will not work. However, this bug has been addressed in 3ds Max 2012 Hotfix 1. If you cannot apply this patch, it means that you must submit your 3ds Max 2012 jobs from the Monitor.

You can either run the Submitter installer or manually install the submission script

Submitter Installer

Manual Installation of the Submission Script

  • Copy [Repository]/submission/3dsCmd/Client/Deadline3dsCmdClient.mcr to [3ds Install Directory]/MacroScripts. If you don’t have a MacroScripts folder in your 3ds Max install directory, check to see if you have a UI/Macroscripts folder instead, and copy the Deadline3dsCmdClient.mcr file there if you do.

  • Copy [Repository]/submission/3dsmax/Client/SMTDSetup.ms to [3ds Max Install Directory]/scripts/Startup/SMTDSetup.ms

  • Launch 3ds Max, and find the new Deadline menu.

    ../_images/3dsmax_submission_button_3dscmd.png

FAQ

Which versions of Max are supported?

The 3dsCommand plugin has been tested with 3ds Max 2010 and later (including Design editions).

Note: Due to a maxscript bug in the initial release of 3ds Max 2012, the integrated submission scripts will not work. However, this bug has been addressed in 3ds Max 2012 Hotfix 1. If you cannot apply this patch, it means that you must submit your 3ds Max 2012 jobs from the Monitor.

When should I use the 3dsCommand plugin to render Max jobs instead of the original?

This plugin should only be used when a particular feature doesn’t work with our normal 3dsmax plugin. For example, there was a time when using the 3dsCommand plugin was the only way to render scenes that made use of Vray’s Frame Buffer features.

Note that the 3dsCommand plugin has less features in the submission dialog, and the error handling isn’t as robust. In addition, using 3dsCommand causes Max to take extra time to start up because 3dsmaxcmd.exe needs to be launched for each task, so renders might take a little extra time to complete.

Is PSoft’s Pencil+ render effects plugin supported?

Yes. Ensure the render output and render element output directory paths all exist on the file server before rendering commences. Please note at least Pencil+ v3.1 is required if you are using the alternative 3dsmax(Lightning) plugin in Deadline. Note, you will require the correct network render license from PSoft for each Deadline Slave, which is not the same as the full, workstation license of Pencil+.

Error Messages And Meanings

This is a collection of known 3ds Command error messages and their meanings, as well as possible solutions. We want to keep this list as up to date as possible, so if you run into an error message that isn’t listed here, please email Deadline Support and let us know.

Currently, no error messages have been reported for this plug-in.