Some our readers might remember, that during the production of Morevna Project Demo we have developed a special tool for automatic management of rendering process. The tool was called Remake, you can watch its basic concepts explained here. This tool saved us a lot of time and efforts and we have used it in many other our projects.
But after the Demo was finished, it become obvious that the implementation of Remake have critical issues. First and main problem is that it was initially born as a shell script and thus the whole program end up written in Bash. As a consequence, we’ve got performance bottlenecks and overall hard-for-understanding code.
So, the task of rewriting Remake have become one of our goals. This work was started almost a year ago (in March 2014) and since then the tool was completely rewritten from scratch in Python. It was decided to give it a new name and we even got cute mascot for it!
Meet our new tool for automatic rendering — RenderChan.
RenderChan is going to replace Remake in our production chain. Here are the list of advantages, delivered in current implementations of RenderChan comparing to Remake:
- Renderfarm support. Currently we have implemented support for CGRU/Afanasy opensource renderfarm. Instead of executing tasks locally, RenderChan can generate a job list and send it to Afanasy server.
- Resume rendering. Aborting rendering for a long file is not a problem anymore! RenderChan splits every rendering job into chunks, so if you abort the rendering and start it again, then it will start from the last chunk, not from the beginning of the file.
- Support for profiles. The resolution and other quality settings for the project are grouped into profiles now. You can easily switch from one profile to another, without loosing already rendered data.
- Freezing content. Any part of project tree can be frozen — that means RenderChan will ignore changed files in this area and no re-rendering will be triggered.
- Better performance. Thanks to rewriting to Python language RenderChan got significant performance boost, comparing to Remake.
- Support for Cycles. The features of Blender’s Cycles rendering engine are natively supported by RenderChan. You can specify specify samples count for the whole project/profile or for individual files.
- Support for Lossless H264. Instead of storing the rendered footage as PNG sequences, now it is possible to use Lossless H264 format, which dramatically decreases the disk space usage.
By now the tool considered as basically usable – during the period of development we have already managed to test it with one of our commercial projects. Still, there are some things to complete until the official release. For example, RenderChan can already render most of old Remake projects, but there are still few cases when it will fail. So we have to implement some tweaks to make it 100% compatible. Also, there is a work on documentation and packaging have to be done.
In any case, I am pretty much happy with the current state of things and I hope you will be able to enjoy our new tool for automatic rendering.
And yeah, if you already excited about the new features like me, then we have a nice wallpaper for you!