Manual

SubmitToDeadline is a rop node that submits Houdini jobs to Deadline managed renderfarms.

SubmitToDeadline is self contained in a tidy python houdini digital asset, quite powerful and handles all sort of dependencies automatically. It basically has the same features and functionality of proprietary solutions seen at big vfx studios.

Link to the video overview of submitToDeadline

Requirements:

It requires Thinkbox’s Deadline 6.1 or onwards and Houdini 12 or onwards. Either deadlineClient should be installed or the environment variable DEADLINE_PATH set up on the user’s machine. Please note Thinkbox’s Deadline is a commercial software which comes with a free-license mode up to two slaves.

How to use:

Put down a submitToDeadline rop, plug rops to it, press submit. Done.

Each rop node plugged to submitToDeadline is submitted as a deadline job. Complex job dependencies are created by recursively navigating all input connections to a given rop and building deadline job dependencies accordingly. Bypassing of rop nodes is supported. All most common rop nodes are supported (currently excluding the fetch rop).

Initial configuration:

Setting the configuration tab is a one-off operation. Usually all is required are the mantra and houdini pools names of your Deadline installation. In some studios custom environment variables are expected to be set on the renderslave. In such case add any required variable to the extraVar section in the form of $UPPERCASEVAR i.e. $JOB Once completed save a preset and create permanent defaults. This way parameters set will be preserved everytime a submitToDeadline rop is created.

Link to the initial configuration video

General Features:

  • Matches features of in-house houdini submitters seen at big visual effects facilities
  • it’s been designed to solve real production needs by a veteran with 15+years of highend production experience
  • Proven to increase productivity
  • Successfully proven production experience at an award winning vfx studio

Specific Features:

  • Self contained Houdini Digital Asset
  • Automatic handle of all sort of dependencies
  • Solid algorythm to traverse networks and build accurate dependencies
  • All common rops are supported (currently excluding ‘fetch’)
  • Dependencies on a per-job basis
  • Mantra rops are submitted as two jobs (ifd and mantra)
  • Mantra sub-job dependencies on a per-frame basis
  • Ability to specify custom deadline plugins

Please note Simultools and submitToDeadline are not affiliated to Thinkbox.

simultools@gmail.com

Inputs

Rops you want to submit to the farm

Parameters

Main

Houdini Batch Priority Priority assigned in Deadline to all submitted Houdini Batch jobs
Chunk size Number of frames to be grouped in a single task
Concurrent Tasks Number of tasks to run on a single renderslave at the same time
Use Machine List Enables whitelisting or blacklisting or renderslaves

Type Choose between using the List attribute to blacklist or whitelist nodes
List list of names of renderslaves separated by comma
Mantra Priority Priority assigned in Deadline to all submitted Mantra jobs
Chunk size Number of frames to be grouped in a single task
Concurrent Tasks Number of tasks to run on a single renderslave at the same time
Use Machine List Enables whitelisting or blacklisting or renderslaves

Type Choose between using the List attribute to blacklist or whitelist nodes
List list of names of renderslaves separated by comma

Configuration

Pools Groups Limits

Houdini Batch

Pool Pool assigned in Deadline to all submitted Houdini Batch jobs. Usually this is the most important parameter to set. Generally speaking there should be two pools setup by your administrator/IT/you, a Houdini Batch and a Mantra pool, but your mileage may vary.
Group Group assigned in Deadline to all submitted Houdini Batch jobs. For more informations check the Deadline documentation.
Limits Limits assigned in Deadline to all submitted Houdini Batch Jobs. For more informations check the Deadline documentation.

Mantra

Pool Pool assigned in Deadline to all submitted Mantra jobs. Usually this is the most important parameter to set. Generally speaking there should be two pools setup by your administrator/IT/you, a Houdini Batch and a Mantra pool, but your mileage may vary.
Group Group assigned in Deadline to all submitted Mantra jobs. For more informations check the Deadline documentation.
Limits Limits assigned in Deadline to all submitted Mantra Jobs. For more informations check the Deadline documentation.

Extra Variables

extraVar1..5 Extra environment variables passed to the renderslave running all submitted jobs, at execution time. Check with your administrator/IT/You which enviroment variables you may need to forward to your renderslave. Usual values might be $HOME $USER $HOUDINIVER $JOB etc.

Extra Infos

extraInfo1..5 Extra values passed to job. For more informations check the Deadline documentation / your administrator/IT/You. Values could be job name.

Advanced

Temp Env Var Usually set to $TEMP, it points to the environment variable pointing to the temp folder. It is used to store .log and temp submission files.
Render Hip Folder The parameter lets you change the relative path to the render hip location, the location where submitToDeadline stores render hip files (the hip files which are executed on the farm).

Very important, the default behaviour is for submitToDeadline to create a folder one level up and next to your current $HIP folder called renderhip. It is recommended to store render hipfiles in this manner to ensure that relative paths in your scene beginning with $HIP will evaluate correctly. A common example is when having in your scene relative paths such as $HIP/../geo/blablabla.

Verbose Output Prints more detailed informations
Custom Plugins Names Toggle to override the name of the deadline Houdini Batch and Mantra plugins. This is quite advanced and usually required when your administrator/IT/You uses custom deadline plugins.

Mantra Plugin Name name of the used Mantra deadline plugin
Houdini Plugin Name name of the used Houdini batch deadline plugin