Deadline For Nuke

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Contents

What is Deadline?

Deadline is a render farm management program. It allows a single scene file to be efficiently processed over multiple computers via the local area network. For this reason, Deadline requires all project files be organized and accessible on our network storage space, the R:\ render drive. For our farm we have a number of dedicated render machines and the lab computers. The lab computers are set up to render only when they are idle, so when someone starts using the computer, the frame that the computer is currently rendering will cancel so that person may properly use the computer. When a computer is not active for 15 minutes, Deadline will detect that computer and it will start rendering again.

Render Farm Preparation

Before you go about submitting your project to the render farm, consider these points:

  • IMPORTANT: Organize your files. Keep yours assets (movie files, image sequences, etc) all in one spot, with your nuke project file in the topmost folder(.nk), with comprehensive names and an organized folder structure. All your files must in folders located under the Nuke project file.
  • Remove spaces from folder and files names. Make sure there are no spaces in your folder or file names.
  • Keep file names under 256 characters.
  • Make all the changes you wish to make to your comp file before *committing them to render*.
  • Ensure ALL project media, referenced files, textures, and other files needed for rendering are placed on the R drive.
  • Consider converting any .psd textures to an efficient flattened file format like png, jpg, tif, tga etc.

Submitting a Job

Render R;\ location
Step One - Login to your personal account or PCoIP
  • Make sure that you are logged out of the Student user account (Start Menu>User Icon>Log Out).
  • Click on "Other User" and login to your personal account, using your myEC credentials (first initial lastname, myEC password).
  • The Student account no longer has access to the Render Drive. In order to use the Render Farm, you must use your personal account.
  • You can submit to the Render Farm over PCoIP. See How to access the Remote PC's (PCoIP) for instructions.


Step Two - Prepare Project for the render farm.
  • Make sure all of your files are in one location. Create a folder structure with a topmost project folder with your nuke project file (.nk) and a folder for your footage.
  • Once your footage is organized and in a location under your nuke project file, open your project and go to the project settings ("s" hotkey). Once there, press the Script Directory button next to the project directory field. This changes your asset references from absolute paths to relative paths and allows you to move your project without breaking your references. All assets will be relative to your nuke project file.


Step Three - Copy All Project Materials To Render Drive.
  • Make a folder for your project on Render (R:). (no spaces)
  • Copy your project file and all necessary asset files into your folder on the Render Drive.
  • Refer to the images on the right of the page for clarification.


Step Four - Open Project From Render Drive to Verify References, Paths & Render Settings
Example Render Settings
  • Once your files have successfully copied to R:\, open your comp from this location.
  • Verify that all project files and textures are pointing to the proper, relative locations on R:\ & that all referenced files have indeed been copied to the render drive. Any project files on C:\ or S:\ will cause your render to error.
  • In your write node, ensure that your output is also set relative to your root folder on R:\.
  • In your write node, ensure that you have selected an image sequence output, rather than a video file like .mov or .avi (the latter are not supported by network rendering).
  • Check that your file padding is appropriate (filename_####.png).


Step Five - After making any changes ensure that you re-save the file to the Render (R) drive.


Step Six - Submit Job from Nuke using Thinkbox dropdown.
  • With your project open, click on the Thinkbox menu at the top of the screen and select Submit Nuke to Deadline. This will launch a separate Deadline submission dialogue that contains your job details auto-filled based on project settings & best practice defaults.
Deadline Submission Form
  • Rename your job with your first initial and last name, course mnemonic, and scene/shot number (e.g. "Cstrickler_ANIM001_SC01_SH01")
  • Enter your frame list.
  • Double check that your scene file & project directories are correct & relative to R:\.
  • Hit the "Submit" button.
Successful Submission


Step Seven - Manage your job
Deadline Monitor
Once the job has been submitted, you can open the Deadline application "Monitor" to keep track of your job and about other activity on the farm. To open monitor, Type "monitor" in the start menu. It is a green icon with a TV. Render farm and job information can be viewed from any non-cintiq computer.
At this point you can close Nuke and let the computer idle, after 15 minutes the render farm will detect the unused computer and use it for rendering.
  • From here you can keep track of your render. The left panel is a list of all the jobs currently rendering and completed. If you click on your job, the panel on the right will let you know information about each frame.
  • Within 30 seconds your job should change from ‘queued’ to ‘rendering’.
  • Your job may gather (many) errors, but it is most likely a computer that tried to pick up your job but was unable to render because it was missing a plugin, or was interrupted by someone needing to use that computer.
  • If your job does not begin after a few minutes or if it changes to ‘failed’ status you will need to troubleshoot & resubmit. Please see a technician for assistance.
  • Do not delete jobs, we can use the error reports to troubleshoot what may be wrong with your render.


Failed Jobs
If your render is slow or producing undesirable results, you can halt your process in one of a couple ways:
Right click:
  • Suspend - This will pause the current job, but allow frames that are currently rendering to finish.
  • Fail Job - This will pause the current job, dropping everything.
Please only manage/modify your own jobs.
Do not delete jobs, we can use the error reports to troubleshoot what may be wrong with your render.

Main Reasons Render Jobs Fail

The 5 most common network rendering errors in order of frequency
  • 1. Files and folders located on the local scratch drive rather than on the render drive. This is by far the most common error. Please check your textures to make sure they are in the right location.
  • 2. Incorrect project paths; you have your files on the R: drive, but Nuke is still looking on C: or S: for the files (e.g. C:\ instead of R:\).
  • 3. Missing project files, especially textures.
  • 4. Missing plugins/scripts. Emily Carr must own all the plugins you are using , or be able to download them for free! Cracked plugins will not work!
  • 5. Inefficiently or bizarrely constructed scene files.

If the job keeps failing after you’ve ruled out all these things, please email animtech@ecuad.ca