All posts related to V2
User avatar
By RenderFred
UPDATE October 23, 2007:

The RANCH V2 is now online!

More details on page 5 of this thread.


UPDATE August 27, 2007:

The RANCH for Maxwell is now officially in production!

Thanks to all who participated to the public beta-test phase.


Hi everyone,

I am Frederic Louguet, co-creator and developer of the RANCH Renderfarm ( I am pleased to announce that, from September 2007 onward (the exact day is not yet known but it will be in the first half of the month), we will be offering an efficient and easy to use commercial rendering service for cooperative Maxwell Render projects.

We are a very focused renderfarm, our main goal is not to support a lot of 3D applications, but to support the ones we like very well! As of now, we are Vue Infinite specialists, and we are now very happy to extend our activity by supporting the wonderful renderer that is Maxwell Render.

Our rather unique approach to renderfarming allows us to do rather unique things :) For instance, our system is entirely automated: from the submission of your project directly on the RANCH web site, to the download of your MXI and bitmap files on our secure ftp server, there is no human intervention (except for customer support of course). You can send projects 24/24, they will automatically enter the queue and be processed without you having to wait for a human operator. We also have an automatic filtering phase at the end of the project - at no extra cost - which will help to remove some of the digital noise from the final picture (don't expect miracles though :). At the end of the project you will get the merged MXI, a final TIF image of the project and its filtered version, plus the bitmap layers you checked, like IDmaterial, alpha, etc.

We will begin our Maxwell activity by dedicating à 160 GHz guaranteed rendering power to each Maxwell project (all our nodes are Core 2 Quad / Extreme computers). If the demand is high, we will increase this capacity accordingly. Here are some benchmarks, so you'll have a better idea of the performance you can expect. The following times represent the total time for the project, including network overhead and gathering / merging of the MXIs.

- BENCHWELL scene, 960 x 768, SL = 20.4, done in 15 mn 32 s
- 8BALL scene, 1024 x 576, SL = 20.4, done in 25 mn 09 s
- CUPS SKYDOME scene, 1024 x 768, SL = 20.4, done in 55 mn 27 s

Plus, I have good news for the Maxwell community: in the second half of August, before entering production, we will conduct a public beta testing phase. During this - possibly two weeks - period, every registered Maxwell User will be able to try the RANCH for free, with the following limitations: each project will have a time limit of half an hour for the render phase, and the resolution will be capped to 1600 pixels (height and/or width), to let as many users as possible try the system in this time frame.

I will notify you in this thread when we are able to accept Maxwell users registrations (probably around August 15th). At this time, you will be able to download our comprehensive RUG (Renderfarm User Guide) for Maxwell in PDF format, which will answer many questions in details.

Our regular price will be $0.50 per GHz per Hour (~0.36 euro per GHz per hour) for Maxwell projects, with 10 to 30% discounts for pre-paid subscriptions. $0.50 translates to $80 per hour (~58 euros) with our current 160 GHz model.

One last thing: we have a 100 mbits/s Fiber Optics internet symmetrical bandwidth. It means you will be able to send and download your files at very high speed if you have yourself a fast internet connection (useful for those heavy multilight MXIs :).

Thank you for your attention, and we hope to see you soon on the RANCH!


RANCH Computing
Last edited by RenderFred on Tue Oct 23, 2007 1:08 pm, edited 4 times in total.
User avatar
By RenderFred
Hi everyone,

as promised, I am happy to announce that we are beginning the public beta-test of the RANCH renderfarm for Maxwell today, August 14. This phase will last for one or two weeks. For Maxwell users, it is more like a free trial period than a regular beta-test. We won't ask you to sign an NDA and submit detailed reports or anything :) However, if you find issues or problems, by all means we will be happy to have your feedback.

If you want to try the RANCH for free, here are the steps you must follow:

1) Connect to the RANCH for Maxwell website with this direct link:
2) Explore the site and download the preliminary RUG (Renderfarm User Guide) for Maxwell Render. English and french versions are available.
3) Read the RUG thoroughly. Most of the questions you can ask are answered in the guide.
4) Register on the HomePage to open an account. When this is done, please wait for an e-mail from us which will confirm your status as beta-tester for the duration of the beta-test phase.

When you have read the RUG, registered and received the beta status confirmation e-mail, feel free to send projects. As the goal of this beta-test is to let a lot of users try the RANCH for free - and not render full production projects - the following limitations are implemented (these will be removed when the RANCH enters production):

- the render phase time limit is capped at 30 minutes.
- the maximum resolution is capped at 1600 pixels (X/Y).
- for animation projects, only the first ten frames will be rendered.

We can process cooperative still image projects and multi-MXS projects for animations (one MXS scene per frame generated by the Maxwell plugin in a host application).

Please note that at the end of your first project, your name, company and e-mail address will be sent to Next Limit to confirm that you are a legitimate user of a valid Maxwell Render License. You will be able to download your files as soon as the validation is done. Of course, this procedure will only be needed once - for your first project.

Don't hesitate to send us an e-mail or to add comments in this thread if you still have questions after reading the RUG, or if you want to provide general feedback to other users after trying the farm.

We hope to see you soon on the RANCH!

By Ringas
Sorry for posting here, but it seems that currrently the service is NOT free: I still have to pay 10$ at PayPal in order to continue uploading the vum file.

Is this a bug?
User avatar
By RenderFred
4) Register on the HomePage to open an account. When this is done, please wait for an e-mail from us which will confirm your status as beta-tester for the duration of the beta-test phase

By Ringas

Thank you for this service.

A couple of thoughts:

1. It would be nice to be able to see the current SL in the Waiting List page, along with a thumbnail of the scene, like in Maxwell Render.

2. Display estimated remaining time.

3. Use FTP to upload the scene.

4. The date of the emails you are sending is 1/1/1970.

5. I'll think of something else. :D
User avatar
By RenderFred
Thanks Ringas,

1) It would be nice yes, however it is not possible with our entirely automated system. We do not use the Maxwell network interface as there is no automation possibilities right now. And the current command-line Maxwell renderer cannot launch an automatic network cooperative render, so we had to develop the thing ourselves.

2) Well, as the user enters the maximum render phase time limit, and as we display the elapsed time, it is easy to deduce the remaining time, is it not?

3) Again, in order for everything to be automated, tradeoffs must be made. The RANCH functions differently from most renderfarms. The automated system has the advantage that there are no delays, no need for an operator, basically the renderfarm runs without any human assistance. The only way to do this at the moment is to send the project by the Java Applet. Our security system is also based on temporary ftp accounts generated on the fly when the project is finished. So there are no ftp accounts per customer (for upload), only per project (for download).

4) Now this is interesting, probably our positronic processor making some unexpected time travels :) I'll look into it!

User avatar
By deadalvs
wow... i've been waiting for such a service for a long time ... !!!

nicey... very nicey...

i'll give it a try as soon i have some spare time !
User avatar
By mashium123
Very nice service indeed.
I tried it, but I made a mistake, I fear.
I followed the instructions. After my pack-and-go folder had been created, i zipped the whole folder and then renamed the zip file.
Instead that, I fear, i should have zipped the files within the folder, right?
User avatar
By RenderFred
In theory either method should work. The important thing is to check the size of the archive before submitting the project, just to be sure _something_ has been packed.
User avatar
By mouse
Hy Frederic, just a stupid question...I've put a time of 30min, as "beta-tester", but in the mail receveid I've found
Total project time : 00 h 48 mn 47 s.
Total cost : $ 65.04
My fault? :roll:
Edit: It is possible to split the the .vum file sended? (I've upload a 270mb and I've had some trouble with my connection)
User avatar
By RenderFred
The .vum archive cannot be split, as the project has to be sent in one pass / one file. The render time was indeed 30 mn, and the extra time was spent in file operations. By looking at the log it seems that the server had to retry several times before it could send the 270 MB compressed archive successfully to all the nodes. We did not encounter this behavior with other projects, so I'll look into what makes your project different :wink:
User avatar
By mouse
RenderFred wrote:so I'll look into what makes your project different :wink:
Thanks Fred feel free to use my files for testing!

Edit: Did you think to use for Maxwell some Blitz formula like for Vue?
User avatar
By bakbek
Hi Fred,

I've started testing the service 2 days ago... i've sent one file and nothing was sent back yet - i can't see any entrys in the waiting list too. did i do something wrong, or is it really taking that long to get the job on the list?


I Got a mail stating the VUM file is invalid, as far as i can tell i did all by the guide.. i'll re-check

User avatar
By RenderFred
Hi Ronen,
it seems your file was identified as an invalid archive by the RANCH. The file you just sent a few minutes ago was also identified as invalid. Normally as soon as a job has been identified and accepted it appears nearly instantly in the waiting list. I will look into it and keep you up to date.

EDIT: your current project is rendering fine, so I believe the problem with your previous project of the same name was related to the compression software you used to encode the archive. I guess you changed it between the two files?
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