Batch Rendering

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This tutorial introduces a technique of batch rendering a sequence of frames with the the stand-alone (external) version of PRMan without using either Tractor or the batch render menu. It is assumed the reader has followed the suggestions in the tutorial RfM: Customizing and has downloaded and installed its scripts.

Custom Batch Render Workflow

1    Set the Maya project directory.
2    Save the Maya scene.
3    In Render Setting:
      - set the start and end frames,
      - set name.#.ext (Frame/Animation ext:),
      - set 4 digits of padding,
      - set "Image Format" to an appropriate type (probably OpenEXR).
4    In the script editor (MEL) execute the following command,
          batchRenderRI("", 1,1);

About the batchRenderRI Mel Command

Unless a python rif is being used the first arg must be an empty string. For information about using python filters (Rifs) refer to "RfM: Batch Filtering".

The second arg determines if a fresh sequence of ribs will be generated. Generally, it's value will be "1" unless the user wishes to re-render an existing set of ribs.

The last arg determines whether rendering will be begin immediately or will be postponed.

When the batchRenderRI() mel command is executed it saves a batch rendering file with the name "batchrender" plus the name of the scene. For example, if the scene is called "butterfly" the output file would be named,

    "batchrender_butterfly.bat" (Windows), or
    "batchrender_butterfly" (Linux and MacOSX)

The file is saved in the current Maya project directory. A typical (MacOSX) batch render file is shown below.

export RMANTREE=/Applications/Pixar/RenderManProServer-21.0
PATH_TO_PROSERVER/bin/prman -cwd "PATH_TO_MAYA_PROJECT_DIR" -t:all PATH_TO_MAYA_PROJECT_DIR/renderman/untitled/rib/0001/0001.rib
PATH_TO_PROSERVER/bin/prman -cwd "PATH_TO_MAYA_PROJECT_DIR" -t:all PATH_TO_MAYA_PROJECT_DIR/renderman/untitled/rib/0002/0002.rib
PATH_TO_PROSERVER/bin/prman -cwd "PATH_TO_MAYA_PROJECT_DIR" -t:all PATH_TO_MAYA_PROJECT_DIR/renderman/untitled/rib/0003/0003.rib

In essence, batch rendering the frames of an animation consists of,
    - using rman genrib to generate rib files,
    - writing a batch render file,
    - running the batch render file.
A tedious process that is automatically handled by the following scripts that can be downloaded from the tutorial RfM: Customizing:
    batchrender.py and

© 2002- Malcolm Kesson. All rights reserved.