Argh. Last night I launched a 600 frame render job on the Mac Pro and in the morning I saw that 3 frames had finished. A frame about every 2.5 hours. It’s a pretty big render, obviously, with Cycles, at about 1000 iterations to minimize noise (even that’s not quite perfect, but it’s as good as I can get). 600 frames at 2.5 hours a frame is… a pretty long time. Months.
So the first thing I thought was that this is a job for Renderfarm.fi. But when I went to check, the site was down! I haven’t talked to the admins there yet, but come to think of it, something had seemed fishy the last time I submitted a test there. It seemed to get stuck on the queue for an unusually long time, and I don’t know what wound up happening to it. It’s possible the memory/hard drive demands of the Multilayer EXR output files are too much (In which case, I’ll have to break the renders into individual layers and render them to less huge files, but it will mean having to reassemble them in compositing, which is another PITA). But it’s moot now because they’re completely down.
So with Renderfarm.fi down I went to check on my old standby from bygone years, Respower.com. They used to have an awesome (read: way too good to last) deal for Blender users. Their subscription rates were in the neighborhood of one or two thousand dollars a month for other 3D software users, but a mere $20 to $50 a month for Blender users (with some easy-to-work-around restrictions). Well, that ship has sailed. I guess it’s probably good news for Blender that they now regard Blender as an equal with the others, but the special treatment for rank amateurs is gone. Now they’ve got a $700-something for 14 days subscription, but that’s way out of my budget.
Well, so now I’ve got a while to wait for that sequence. Plan A will simply be to put some other machines to work on the same sequence (my Windows machine is currently rendering a less demanding sequence, but should be done by tomorrow, and there’s an iMac at work that’s not doing anything at the moment). That should help get this sequence done within some more reasonable time frame. Then I’ve just got to keep my fingers crossed that Renderfarm.fi will be back up and running soon. There’s still plenty for me to be working on so that I’m not too worried yet that rendering will be the biggest bottleneck, but I can’t be spending 2 months rendering too many shots.