General FAQ

Upgrading from Deadline 5

What’s this new MongoDB Database component?

The new MongoDB Database component allows Deadline to easily manage tens of thousands of jobs and scale across thousands of nodes, while also offering asynchronous access for efficient work even over remote connections.

All frequently accessed data, like jobs, settings, and Slave configurations, are now stored in the Database. This makes accessing this data much faster and more reliable, while placing a much smaller load on your network. Note that the file-based Repository still exists, but now it only stores plugins, scripts, and render logs.

MongoDB is designed to handle thousands of connects with ease, so another benefit is that Pulse is no longer required to act as a proxy server for larger render farms.

Can I install the Deadline 6 Repository over my Deadline 5 Repository?

No. Due to the significant changes made in Deadline 6, it should be installed to a new location.

Can I import my Deadline 5 settings into Deadline 6?

Unfortunately, due to the magnitude of changes made in Deadline 6, you must reconfigure your Repository Options and Plugin Configurations. An un-supported Python script DeadlineV5Migration.py attempts to migrate Deadline v5.x customers over to Deadline v6.x. It can be found together with other useful example scripts on our Github site. Please note the disclaimer before executing this script in your Deadline queue.

What role does Pulse play in Deadline 6?

Because of MongoDB’s ability to handle thousands of concurrent connections with ease, Pulse is no longer required to act as a proxy server for large farms. Pulse is now truly optional for farms of all sizes, and is only required if you want to make use of some of the advanced features in Pulse.

Where is the Refresh button in the Monitor?

It’s gone! The Deadline 6 Monitor now refreshes automatically in a background thread, so you’re always viewing live data. The timer in the lower right corner shows you the time since the last refresh. In Deadline v7.0 onwards you can if you so wish, re-introduce the ‘refresh’ button into Deadline Monitor via configuring the Monitor Update Settings in the repository options as super-user.

Where is the log window in the Slave and Pulse applications?

The log window can now be launched in a separate window by pressing the View Log button at the bottom of the Slave, Pulse and Balancer applications. For the Slave specifically, this prevents renders with very verbose logging from having an impact on the performance of the Slave application itself.

Where is the Job Monitor application?

This application can been discontinued. The new flexible Monitor interface made the Job Monitor redundant, since the new filter system allows you to drill down to specific jobs with ease. In addition, using our flexible monitor UI layouts and visible menus/panels, which can be globally and/or locally available and list settings; the Deadline Monitor is a more flexible and comprehensive solution to cover many common requests.

On Linux and Mac OSX, the Launcher window no longer appears.

On Linux and Mac OSX, the Launcher now runs as an icon in the notification area.

Supported Software

What 3rd party software does Deadline support?

Deadline efficiently manages network processing from a variety of sources - see the complete listing of Supported Software for more information.

Do I have to install the rendering software on all the render nodes?

Strictly speaking, yes. Deadline simply controls the render applications when network rendering, so the applications must already be installed. However, in the case of Linux, many VFX studios choose to install their software to a network location. See here for more information on Network Installed Applications.

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 and scripts and we initially refer you to our SDK Scripting Overview for more information.

Do I have to license the rendering software on all the render nodes?

This depends on the rendering software. Some renderers require licenses for network rendering (VRay for Maya), while others do not (Mental Ray for 3ds Max). It is best to confirm with each application’s Support or Sales team to confirm what the licensing requirements are for network rendering.

Note that Deadline does not control the licensing for any of the applications it supports, so the licensing must be in place prior to network rendering.

Which Remoting Software is Supported By Deadline?

Deadline currently supports VNC, Radmin, Apple Remote Desktop and Remote Desktop Connection via Python scripts in the Deadline Monitor. Additionally, we have a Mobile application for remote viewing, which is available on iPhone, Android, and Windows Phone devices.


How much does Deadline cost?

If you are running two slaves or less, Deadline is free. If you are running more than two slaves, the license fee per machine [not per CPU] is $185 USD and includes 1 year of support, maintenance and upgrades. Please contact sales for a custom quote. Note, you can run multiple slaves on a physical or virtual machine and it will use a total of 1 x slave license.

Is annual renewal of Deadline Maintenance & Support required?

The Deadline Sales team encourages the purchase of an up-to-date Maintenance & Support contract which includes access to updates and upgrades. A support contract is not required for the continued use of Deadline after the first year. Note, Draft (Image Process Automation Toolkit) & Balancer applications are licensed against your active annual support contract.


LICENSE-FREE MODE allows you to run up to two Deadline Slaves without purchasing a license, and is intended for anyone that has one or two machines that they would like to utilize for rendering without purchasing a license for a whole render farm.

In other words, this means two Deadline render nodes completely free of charge!


The two free render nodes of the License-Free Mode DO NOT COUNT towards a purchase of Deadline! In other words, if you need three licenses, you must purchase three, not one!

If you decide to run more than two Slave instances, you must purchase one or more licenses - one for each OS instance you will be running Deadline Slaves on.

License-Free Mode counts the Deadline Slave instances registered with the Repository. Starting with Deadline 7, commercial licenses are counted per physical machine, allowing you to launch multiple Deadline Slave instances on a single computer and share a single Deadline license.

However, in License-Free Mode you can connect only up to two Deadline Slave instances to the Repository before a license is required. It does not matter where these Deadline Slave instances are running. In other words, if you attempt to launch three Deadline Slave instances from a single physical machine, a license will be required. Once a license is purchased, only ONE license will be used by these three Deadline Slave instances if running on the same physical machine.

What Is Not Supported In License-Free Mode?

The following advanced features are included only with a FULL commercial license and are dependent on an active Support And Maintenance contact:

  • VMX - the Virtual Machine Extension can be used to spin up and shut down Virtual Machine instances in multiple Cloud regions depending on demand.
  • DRAFT - the command-line compositing application can be used for file format conversion, image resizing, creation of slates, templates, videos etc.
  • JIGSAW - multi-region rendering for 3ds Max, Maya, Modo and Rhino allows the splitting of a large image or animation into arbitrary regions, or the re-rendering of multiple changed regions without rendering the whole image again. This feature depends on DRAFT.

Which Deadline applications require a license?

Only the Deadline Slave application requires a license, so you can submit and monitor your render jobs from as many machines as you like without additional licenses.

In Deadline 6.x and earlier, each Deadline Slave instance running on a single physical machine (or Virtual Machine if running on a cloud) required a license. In other words, the licensing was per Deadline Slave instance.

Since Deadline 7.0, multiple Deadline Slave licenses running on the same physical or virtual machine will share a single license, making the licensing per Machine.

How many Deadline licenses do I need to purchase?

When running Deadline 6.x or earlier, the answer is easy: You need one license for each Deadline Slave instance running. If only two Deadline Slaves are registered with the Repository, no licenses would be needed thanks to the License-Free Mode. Adding a third Deadline Slave when running in License-Free mode required the purchase of three licenses.

When running Deadline 7 or higher, licensing is per render node (per Physical Machine, or per Virtual Machine if running on a Cloud). Thus, the number of licenses required depends directly on the number of Physical or Virtual Machines, not on the number of Deadline Slave instances. The License-Free Mode though is still dependent on the number of Deadline Slaves registered with the Repository. If more than two Deadline Slaves are connected to the Repository, the License-Free Mode will be turned off and the Deadline Slaves will start looking for commercial licenses. At that point, the number of Physical machines comes into play.

Here are some examples:

Physical Machines Slave Instances Per Machine Total Slave Instances Total Licenses Required
1 1 1 0 (License-Free Mode)
1 2 2 0 (License-Free Mode)
2 1 2 0 (License-Free Mode)
1 3 3 1
2 2/1 3 2
2 2 4 2
3 1 3 3
3 2 6 3
3 3 9 3
3 4 12 3
10 4 40 10

In short, whereas Deadline 6.x and earlier would have required 40 Deadline licenses for rendering on 10 physical machines with 4 Deadline Slave instances on each machine, since Deadline 7 only 10 licenses are required.

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

No. The FLEXlm license server can run on any machine in your network. For instructions on setting up the license server, please read our License Server Configuration Documentation.

What happens if the Deadline license server goes down?

In Deadline 6, the Slave will continue to run if the license server goes down. However, it will be unable to pick up render jobs until the license server comes back online. The Slave can also start up if the license server is down, but again, it will be unable to pick up render jobs until the license server comes back online.

In Deadline 5 and earlier, the Slave will close after 20 minutes if the license server goes down. In addition, a Slave cannot start up unless the license server is already running.


What are the system requirements for Deadline?

The system requirements can be found in the documentation:

On Windows, do I have to install the .NET Framework?

The Deadline 6 and onwards, installers automatically install the .NET Framework if necessary.

For Deadline 5 and earlier, you must install the .NET Framework manually if it is not already installed. See the Deadline 5 System Requirements for more information.

On Mac OSX, do I have to install the Mono Framework?

The Deadline 6 installers automatically install the Mono Framework on Mac OSX.

For Deadline 5 and earlier, you must install the Mono Framework manually, and you must install Mono 2.6.7. See the Deadline 5 System Requirements for more information.

On Linux, do I have to install the Mono Framework?

Starting with Deadline 7, Mono is now installed with Deadline on Linux. You only need to install Mono manually on Linux for Deadline 6 and earlier.

See the System Requirement pages below for information on installing Mono on your Linux system for Deadline 6 or earlier:

What is the Deadline Repository?

The Deadline Repository is a collection of files and folders that stores various Deadline information which is accessed via a shared network path. It is NOT a program.

In Deadline 6, the Repository stores the plugins, scripts, logs, and any auxiliary files (like scene files) that are submitted with the jobs. The jobs, settings, and slave configurations are all stored in the Database.

In Deadline 5, the Repository stores ALL Deadline information.

How many machines do I install the Deadline Repository and Database on?

The Repository and Database only need to be installed on one machine, preferably running a server operating system. Note that they are separate components though, and can be installed on separate machines if desired.

If you choose to have the Repository installer install the Database for you, then they will be placed on the same machine. If preferred, you can manually install the MongoDB Database on a separate machine, and then point the Repository installer to it during the installation.

Note that for Deadline 5 and earlier, there is only a Repository component, but again, it only needs to be installed on one machine.

How many machines do I install the Deadline Client on?

The Deadline Client includes all the applications required for submitting, monitoring, and rendering jobs. So it should be installed on all of your workstations and render nodes.

If you decide to run Pulse or Balancer, you need to install the Client on the chosen machine as well. If you choose to run Pulse or Balancer on the Repository machine, you’ll need to install the client on the Repository machine.

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

This is only necessary if you plan to run Pulse or Balancer on the Repository machine, or if you wish for the Repository machine to participate in rendering or job submission. It is never recommended to render on the repository/database machine as this machine should be dedicated to controlling your queue.

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

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

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.

For Deadline 6, if you choose to have the Repository installer install the Database, be aware that it will install the Database to the machine that you are running the installer on (even if you are pointing to a network share for the Repository installation).

Do I have to reinstall the Deadline Client, Repository, or Database to upgrade the software?

This depends on if you’re installing a major or minor upgrade. Major upgrades (Deadline 6 to Deadline 7) require reinstallations of the Repository and Clients. Minor upgrades (Deadline 7.0 to 7.1) can be performed by simply upgrading the Repository. See the Upgrading documentation for more information.

Is there any benefit to running more than one instance of Pulse or Balancer?

Note that Deadline 7 supports the ability to run multiple Pulses or Balancers for redundancy. The answer below only applies to Deadline 6 and earlier.

In short, you should only ever use one.

In Deadline 5.2 and previous, Pulse is a caching layer between all of the Slaves and the Repository. Specifically what it does is aggregate all of the requests for jobs that would normally take a full scan of the Repository and group them into a single scan.

So, if there are 200 nodes that needs jobs at the same time, instead of 200 individual scans, Pulse will perform one. The more Slaves connecting to the single instance of Pulse, the fewer total scans must be done. For that reason, Deadline was not designed to support multiple instances of Pulse. They can run, but only one can act as the single point Slaves connect to, while all others will be doing nothing except performing unnecessary scans. Many additional features of Pulse (power management, auto-configuration) also were designed with the assumption that there would be only one copy at one time.

That said, it’s been our experience that when using Pulse, it’s best to keep the number of jobs in the farm to a minimum. Once the total job count (including archived) reaches about 4000 to 9000 or so, the scans begin to take a very long time. If the scans are too long, Slaves will give up on waiting to receive the scans, and go back to attempting to scan the Repository manually (This is to prevent a broken Pulse machine from deadlocking the farm). Every machine scanning on their own puts a large amount of undue strain on a system which is already heavily utilized.

So, in summary, more than one would be redundant.

This caching functionality will be unnecessary in Deadline 6.0 and onwards as the MongoDB database we use performs incredible caching on its own.

I have Mono installed on Mac OSX, but the Deadline 5 applications don’t run.

Note that this only applies to Deadline 5. Deadline 6 and onwards has a native Qt interface, and no longer requires X11.

This problem can happen for a few reasons:

  • Mono isn’t installed.
  • The wrong version of Mono is installed.
  • X11 isn’t installed.

First, check that Mono 2.6.7 is installed. If you have different version of Mono installed, you should uninstall it using this script, and then install Mono 2.6.7.

Second, check that X11 is installed. If you don’t have X11 installed, you should be able to grab it from your Mac install CD. If you’re running a newer version of Mac OSX that doesn’t ship with X11, you can install XQuartz.

Client Connection Issues

The Deadline applications are unable to connect to the Database.

Check that the MongoDB database is running, and that a firewall isn’t blocking communication.

Also, check the host name or IP address that the Client is using to connect, and check to make sure it can access the Database machine using that host name or IP address.

Note that this only applies to Deadline 6, since Deadline 5 doesn’t have a Database component.

On Mac OSX, the Deadline applications can’t connect to the Repository, and are instead complaining that the ‘bin’ folder cannot be found.

If the repository volume isn’t unmounted properly, it will stay listed in your /Volumes folder. Then the next time you mount the repository, it will append a ‘-1’ to the volume name. For example, instead of being mounted to /Volumes/DeadlineRepository, it will be mounted to /Volumes/DeadlineRepository-1. When this problem occurs, you need to unmount the volume, get rid of the folder it 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.

My Slave shows it’s MAC address as FF:FF:FF:FF:FF:FF. What’s wrong?

The issue here has to do with which physical adapter the Slave choses to use as its default at startup. Traditionally, it should make use of the first network adapter that has a usable IP address.

If that address in this case belongs to an adapter with a physical address that has more than six bytes, our parsing mechanism fails and we default to FF:FF:FF:FF:FF:FF. A prime example of this is on Windows, when the Slave chooses the Teredo interface or some other tunnel.

The fix, at least for Teredo, is to disable it. Toredo is used to tunnel IPv4 traffic over an IPv6 address, so if your network is currently IPv4 only, disabling it will have no negative effect. You can do so with the following command:

c:\> netsh interface teredo set state

and re-enable it with:

c:\> netsh interface teredo set state client teredo.ipv6.microsoft.com 60 34567

A restart of the Slave application will be needed for these changes to take effect.


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

Yes. For a render job, image sequences can be split up into one or more frames per task, and each task can be rendered concurrently by one or more Slaves.

Can Deadline create movies from rendered frame sequences?

Yes. Movies can be generated using Deadline’s Quicktime plugin, or through Draft, which is a compositing and video processing tool designed to automate typical post-render tasks.

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

Deadline 6.2 introduced Jigsaw for 3dsmax and later versions, introduced Jigsaw Standalone as a flexible multi-region rendering system for Deadline for 3ds Max, Maya, modo, and Rhino. It can be used to render regions of various sizes for a single frame, and in 3ds Max and Maya, it can be used to track and render specific objects over an animation.

Draft can then be used to automatically assemble the regions into the final frame or frames. It can also be used to automatically composite re-rendered regions onto the original frame.

Jigsaw is built into the 3ds Max, Maya, modo, and Rhino submitters, and with the exception of 3ds Max, Jigsaw viewport will be displayed in a separate window.

Original ‘Tile Rendering’ support is still present in Deadline and for applications which are unable to utilize the advanced functionality of Jigsaw. The ‘Tile Assembler’ plugin is now considered a legacy [EOL] feature but remains present in Deadline for the foreseeable future.

The answer below only applies to Deadline 6.1 and earlier.

While Deadline doesn’t directly support distributed rendering of a single image, it supports a feature called Tile Rendering, which splits up the image into regions and sends them off to multiple machines. Tile Rendering is only supported by certain application plugins so please consult the individual application plugin documentation. Automated image re-assembly is supported for a limited number of certain file formats via ‘Tile Assembler’. Other formats will have to be re-assembled manually using an application like Photoshop.

My job gets picked up, but the job is turning red and no frames are being saved.

When your job starts to turn red, it’s a sign that errors are accumulating for the job. You can take a look at the job’s errors from the right-click menu in the Job List in the Deadline Monitor. Usually, the error reports will contain useful information explaining what the error is.

If you aren’t sure what an error report means, you can email it to our support team and we’ll be more than happy to take a look!

Why isn’t my job getting picked up at all?

There can be many reasons for this:

  • The job has a lower priority than other jobs in the queue.
  • The job has been assigned to a Pool or Group that no Slaves are assigned to.
  • The job has a Whitelist or a Blacklist that prevents it from rendering on available Slaves.
  • The job has been assigned to one or more Limits, and a Limit is either maxed out, or a Limit has a Whitelist or a Blacklist that prevents it from rendering on available Slaves.

To determine which Slaves a job can render on (based on Pools, Groups, Limits, etc), you can enable the Job Candidate Filter (Deadline 6 and onwards) or the Slave Availability Filter (Deadline 5) in the Slave List in the Monitor. When enabled, the Slave list will automatically be filtered to show which Slaves can render the selected job.