SolidWorks 2013 adds new functionality when it comes to processing those renders you always dreamed of. New for 2013 is the capability to network render. In short, this give you the capability to utilize the processing power of up to ten computers from your network to complete a render job. This exciting new feature cuts your rendering time down to an efficient and manageable level. So say good bye to waiting for your machines core to do the job on their own. I’m going to walk you through how to set it up and before you know it, you will own your very own “render farm”!
In order to get this to work you need accomplish two simple tasks. First, ensure that you have SolidWorks 2013 Professional or Premium with the PhotoView 360 add-in turned on. Second, for all of your machine that will be used in the farm, they will need to be branded with the PhotoView 360 Network Render Client. This utility will allow your machine to access their processing power during the render stage. This will effect their performance but chances are, they aren’t using those extra cores anyway.
To install the render client on the farm machines, simply insert your 2013 SolidWorks DVD or use the downloaded SolidWorks install files from the customer portal and start the installation manager.
When you start the install process you will NOT be installing SolidWorks on the farm machines, just the client. You will click through to the product selection window and only select the PhotoView 360 Network Render Client to install.
Continue the install process until complete then repeat on all machines that you wish to add to your farm. Once complete, the farm machines will have a program called PhotoView 360 Network Render Client in the start menu. It will look like this:
This client will have to be up and running on the desired farm machines in order to be used by the machine running SolidWorks 2013. Once you start the client on the farm machines, an interface will open. You have to “enter client mode” for the machine to be active in your farm. This is done by selecting “Enter Client Mode Now” as indicated below. You can also set up a schedule as to when the farm machines are available and when they are not.
Once you enter client mode, you will see a dialog box in front of the client letting you know that it is waiting for a job. This will remain up until you exit client mode. It will also change once the machine receives the task of rendering.
Now that have your render farm awaiting your command, all you have left is to set up your machine to call out for help from the farm. Navigate to your PhotoView 360 menu and select options. From here, you can adjust your PhotoView Network Render options.
Now you are ready to render your heart out. Activate your final render inside of SolidWorks. You will see the normal render window with orange colored squares for each of your cores and blue squares for each of the farms cores. Check out this screen capture from a our small render farm. The 8 orange are my cores while the blue ones are the farms cores. Meanwhile the farm machines will show rendering data in the client.
Congratulations, you are now the proud owner of a PhotoView 360 render farm. Happy Rendering!