How to render a Modo file on RenderStreet

How to render a Modo file on RenderStreet

Starting a new render from your Modo file

On RenderStreet, a render is called a 'job'. The name applies to both still images and animations, and this article will show you how you can create jobs on our farm.

There are several ways to launch a job:
- With the RenderStreet Modo plug-in
- From a file uploaded on FTP or transferred from a cloud account (Dropbox/OneDrive/Google Drive),
- By uploading a file directly on our site
- By cloning an existing job.

Let's take them one at a time:

1. Using the RenderStreet Modo plug-in

The Modo plug-in allows launching a render on RenderStreet from your computer, with a single click.

The plug-in can be downloaded from this page in your RenderStreet account. Please see the dedicated knowledge base article for details about using the plug-in.

Once the process has been completed, the uploader window will auto-close. You can then follow up the progress of the render in your RenderStreet account interface.

For all the other upload methods except the plug-in, the project needs to be prepared for upload, as described below.

If not using the plug-in, prepare the project for upload
If all the assets used in your project are contained in a single folder (with or without subfolders), you can upload that folder directly to our farm, by one of the means described below.

If the assets are not contained in a single folder, the project needs to be consolidated prior to uploading it. Follow these steps to do it:
a. In Modo, in the File menu, select "Consolidate Scene". This will create a new lxo file and a folder in the same folder with your original lxo file
b. Upload the file ending in "_bundled.lxo" and the "imported_images" folder by one of the means described below. You don't have to upload your original lxo file
c. When launching the render (see below) select the file ending in "_bundled.lxo"

Important: both the lxo file and the imported_images folder need to be placed inside a folder created in your RenderStreet account FTP root.

Note: If your project uses Alembic or MDD files, please see this article for more information

2. Upload a project using FTP or transfer it from a cloud account (Dropbox/OneDrive/Google Drive)

FTP uploads are recommended for larger productions, as they have a few advantages over regular (HTTP) uploads:
  • you can replicate your local folder structure in your RenderStreet FTP account. Please note that this requires that your entire project is located in a master folder and that all dependencies are located in that folder. The 'main' folder can contain any number of subfolders
  • you can use an FTP client with 'resume' support to upload the files. This helps if you have a slower or unreliable internet connection
  • if you change a resource file (library, texture, etc), you can reupload only that file
Instructions for FTP upload can be found here.  If you use the consolidate option on the file before uploading, you need to upload the _bundled file and the "imported_images" folder too there. You can also upload your entire project folder without consolidating the scene, provided that all the files you use are located in the uploaded directory structure.  

Transferring files from Dropbox/Google Drive/Microsoft OneDrive. If your project is already uploaded to your cloud account, you can transfer it directly from there to our server. As this is a server-to-server transfer, it's significantly faster compared to a regular upload. The procedure for connecting your account and transferring the files is described in this article. Once the files are transferred, they will be available in the FTP files list on our server and you can continue the job creation process.

After uploading your files, log in to your RenderStreet account on our site. Then click the 'New job' button in the top left corner of your dashboard. In the new page, look for the box with the title 'File from RenderStreet FTP or Cloud'

The list will contain all folders in your FTP account. Click on the folder containing your file (in this case 'modoped-animation'). The list will expand to show its contents. Select the .lxo file you need to render (in this case 'ModoPed_Animated_bundled.lxo'). The selected file will be highlighted in dark blue. All the files and folders that will be sent to the rendering machines will be highlighted in light blue. Make sure all your dependencies are there, then click on 'Select file'.

A new page containing several sections will open. 
The first box contains the job properties. You can change the job name check the detected software and rendering engine for the project.

The second box on this page contains the rendering parameters. 

You can alter all the parameters in this box. The settings from this page will override the existing settings in your file. Please see this article for how the irradiance support work.

Once you are satisfied with all the settings on this page, you can press the 'Launch job' to start rendering. If you wish to only save the job for rendering at a later time, you can press 'Save for later'. In this case, you will have to manually start the render as desired.

3. Upload a file on HTTP

This method is similar to the one described at point 2, except that the file is uploaded directly on our website. Please remember that the file needs to be packed (File->Consolidate scene) before uploading. 

Important: If the consolidation process has generated an 'imported_images' folder, you need to upload both the project file and the 'imported_images' folder. In order to do this on HTTP, you need to zip both the file and the folder and upload the zip file. When creating the zip archive, zip the contents of the project folder so that the project file (.lxo) and "imported_images" should be in the root of the zip file .

From the 'New job' page, use the 'Select a file' button from the first section, or drag and drop the file into that section.

Select the file from your local disk, and the file will be uploaded. After that, you will be redirected to the settings page, as described at point 2. 

4. Cloning an existing job

Once a file has been uploaded, through any of the above methods, you can render several jobs from the same file. This is especially useful if you want to render a low-res preview before the final render, or if you need to render several frame ranges separately. 
To start another job from an uploaded file, use the 'clone an existing job' box. Select the job that you need to clone and press the 'Clone job' button. 

Modo quirks you should consider before starting the render

Normally, all features in Modo are supported on the farm and any project should render on the farm identically with the way it renders on your computer. However, in certain situations, there are features in Modo that work differently on the farm.

This happens either because we render from the command line and the functionality is slightly different from full Modo, or because rendering on Linux (which we use on the farm) is sometimes different from rendering on your computer (Mac or Windows).

Below are the situations we identified so far where you need to pay particular attention and run some tests before launching a big render.

Surface particle generator and Density vertex map may render inconsistently 

When using particles from a Surface particle generator combined with a vertex map for density, the particle spread you get from the farm may be different from what you see on your computer. If you use such a feature, it would be best to test first and see how it renders with us. 

In case the render is not the same as on your computer, just use the command in Modo to freeze the particles to a point cloud. Then use the particles from the point cloud instead of the original setup. This will provide a consistent setup that will render the same on RenderStreet.

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