renderchan-mascot

Goodbye Remake, hello RenderChan!

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 mascot by Anastasia Majzhegisheva.

RenderChan mascot by Anastasia Majzhegisheva.

Source code repository at GitHub

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!

2014-06-12-renderchan-2

RenderChan wallpaper by Anastasia Majzhegisheva.

 

Posted in RenderChan, Software and tagged , .

13 Comments

  1. That’s awesome! 😀
    But i would like to ask some questions, though :

    First, is there any tutorial coming soon about how to start and use RenderChan ?
    I’m using windows 7, and as far as i know from Synfig forum, its possible to start Remake in Windows through Cygwin.
    The problem is, i literally didn’t understand how to do it, at all. T_T
    And also, is RenderChan a software or a tool (like plugins, etc.)? Because that might give me some more ideas of how it works.

    Regards 🙂

    • I am terribly sorry for the late reply (got a terrific flu last days ^__^”).

      Yes, I am planning to make a basic tutorial, similar to the one we had for Remake (https://github.com/morevnaproject/remake/wiki/tutorial).

      About the Windows support the things are not that smooth. Of course the situation should be better than for Remake, but I haven’t tested RenderChan in Windows environment yet. And yes, at the moment the RenderChan is a commandline tool, which makes it harder to use for Windows users. So I’m not sure if the Windows users will benefit from the first release.

      On the other hand, the migration to Python opens a perspective for implementing a GUI for RenderChan. But this is a direction for the further development and I can’t promise this to be done in a short time within our current resources, sorry.

      • Ah, i see. Thanks for replying by the way. I though you didn’t see my question. It’s okay though 🙂

        So, since it’s quite unavailable for windows yet (let’s just assume) is there a kind of alternative that i can use for now, such as free or open source softwares (because i don’t want to buy things), or any other alternatives ?

        I know this question seems pointless since your team using open source OS (Linux) for the animation project but i would like to know your opinions and suggestions.

        Thanks again for replying 😀

        • Hello! Unfortunately, I am not aware about any tool, that offers the same functionality.
          On the other hand, I am really appreciate your interest to our developments. That encourages me to make a few test and try to run RenderChan on Windows. Let’s see what I will be able to come up with. I can’t give any promises, but I will try to get it running. Please feel free to ping me within one week if you won’t hear anything from me. ^__^

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