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With the increasing requirements of users for the fineness of the picture and the performance of visual effects, the post-production team of the film and television has is constantly improving the performance of visualization, which also increases the requirements for rendering, a step that requires powerful computing capabilities.

Houdini, as one of the most popular 3d creation software that is known as the "magician of VFX" is therefore more widely used. XRender has sorted out the solutions for some frequently asked questions about Houdini rendering, hoping to smooth your rendering workflow in some way!

| Error when analyze with XRender

One of the most common problems encountered by users is that when submitting to XRender for cloud rendering, there will be an error message, says "Illegal render nodes are contained or no render node missing in the scene", pops up when task is analyzing.

Houdini analysis error

This is usually caused by a problem with the out node attribute setting in the hip file. Possible reasons include the new path not being corrected after the camera path is changed, some parameter settings in the out node are problematic or there is indeed no render node, etc. In general, just be careful and make sure there's no parameter setting error in the render node due to mistakes might greatly reduce the possibility of analysis errors mentioned above. Let's take problem of the camera change for example, as shown in the following figure:

Camera for Mantra (corrected) >>> Camera for Mantra (corrected)

Camera for Arnold >>> Camera for Arnold  (corrected)

Whether you're using Mantra or Arnold as renderer, as long as the camera path is correct, the analysis error are less likely to happning.

Analysis error may also caused by following reason:

Missing out node:please remember to add out node to your file.

Missing out node

Missing camera cache: camera node need to be connected while using the USD in Karma render, and the node will connect to a camera cache. If the camera cache is missing or connected incorrectly, error may also happening.

Missing camera cache

Incorrect camera path: when choose obj/Alembic Archive node as camera, the camera need to be pointed accurately to the path to avoid error.

Incorrect camera path

| Choose the right engine for mantra

As a highly advanced renderer integrated in Houdini, Mantra is a multi-paradigm renderer that supports various render engines.

Mantra render engine

Here's a list of features for different render engine for your reference:

Rendering Engine
Micropolygon Rendering

Each primitive is cut into independently colored and sampled micropolygons.

Scenes involving a lot of hair and smoke (using deep shadow maps) or sprites can be rendered more efficiently with this render engine.

Ray Tracing (Chosen by default)

By sending light from the camera to sample the scene, each surface hit by the light will trigger the surface shader to execute.

PBR simulates real-world light, you can easily get shadows, reflections, secondary bounces, etc., without having to use workarounds or writing Complex shaders.

Micropolygon Physically Based RenderSampling is performed on micro-polygons, but all shading and lighting are performed using physically-based rendering.
Physically Based RenderingThe sampling of the scene is performed using ray tracing, and the shading is calculated using physically-based rendering, which is basically the same as the result produced by the "ray tracing" setting.
Photon Map GenerationInstead of rendering the image, the photon map is generated by sending photons from the light source to the scene. The photon map file to be generated is specified on the PBR tab.

Before choosing a suitable engine and submitting it to the render farm for cloud rendering, there is still one more place need to be checked: please make sure you have chosen the Create Intermediate Directories (checked by default). If you close it accidentally, the render results might fail to be saved.

Create Intermediate Directories

| Smoother render workflow with XRender

XRender client is developed independently by XRender TD team and upgraded periodically based on user needs. Parameter such as resolution, frame range, and render nodes, can be easily modified in the XRender client to avoid the distress of re-modifying files.

XRender parameter setting

In addition, the tiled rendering option can provide users with up to 16 nodes to render one frame to speed up rendering.

XRender tiled rendering

What’s more, a large amount of solution buffer data for subsequent production use is often needed for VFX simulation while creating with Houdini. These files are not only time-consuming to solve and take up the machine, but also greatly increase the time for uploading to the cloud. In response to this situation, the XCloud Disk allows users to put the analysis steps in the cloud, thereby reducing the storage and calculation requirements of the customer's machine, and saving a lot of data upload time. To upload assets such as caches, textures and lights to the cloud, you may click theXCloud Disk icon.png cloud icon at XRender client interface to launch your XCloud Disk, and then drag and drop your files for synchronization.

Launch XCloud Disk

You may also follow the tutorial below to upload your assets and submit for cloud rendering with XRender Disk.

If you have some tips or tricks that you felt really helpful and would like to share with more artists, whatever software you use, whichever creation process is about, please feel free to contact us or share it directly with the XRender community!

XRender dedicates to providing efficient, safe and all-round cloud rendering service for enterprises and individuals.

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