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Successful Scene File Preparation for ScreamerNet,
Mastering LightWave ScreamerNet (lwsn) for Mac OS X

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DLI_SuperBalls Content Folder

To successfully render a scene using ScreamerNet lwsn you must first prepare the scene correctly, before submitting it to be rendered. The first thing to verify is that your scene files are properly structured in a self-contained Content Directory as explained previously, to be sure that all content such as images and objects will be located properly. You will then need to open the scene in LightWave Layout to set a few settings in the Render Globals and resave the scene before submitting the scene for rendering as outlined below.

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Frame Range to Render


When rendering scenes with LightWave Layout or with ScreamerNet lwsn in batch or network mode (-2), you must set the range of frames to render directly within the scene itself. When rendering scenes with ScreamerNet lwsn in standalone mode (-3) or when using a third party network controller you may override the scene’s render range setting at the time of submitting the scene for rendering.

Follow these steps to set the frame range to render for a scene:s

  1. Launch LightWave Layout.
  2. Load the desired scene with: File->Load->Load Scene...
  3. Open the Render Globals panel with: Render->Options->Render Globals
  4. Set the following fields:
    Render Options: Frame Range to Render
    • Range Type: Single (ScreamerNet doesn’t work with other range types.)
    • First: The first frame number to render.
    • Last: The last frame number to render.
    • Step: Frame increment to render.
      Frame Step examples:
      1 renders every frame starting with the first frame, up to the last frame.
      2 renders every other frame starting with the first frame, up to the last frame.
      5 renders every fifth frame from the first frame to the last frame.
      A negative step will render the frames in reverse, for instance -1 renders every frame in reverse order, from the first frame down to the last frame, in this case the first frame should be set higher than the last frame.
  5. Save the scene file.

Render Output Destination


You must set the scene’s render output destination within the scene file itself, or none of the rendered frames will be saved anywhere. You must set the render output prefix file name, file format and destination path in the scene file itself within LightWave Layout, before rendering the scene with ScreamerNet. Also beware that the output destination path is stored in the scene file as an absolute path, not a relative path, even if the destination is within the current Content Directory. This means that if you move the scene to a different Mac you will need to reset the output path in the scene file before rendering on that Mac.

Also note that LightWave Layout does not record the volume information in the output path if the output directory is on the host Mac’s internal system drive and LightWave Layout’s built-in network controller does not remap paths for the host vs. remote nodes (Though most 3rd party render controllers do). This means you must manually edit the output path in the scene file with a text editor to add the volume information if you wish to have the output directory on the main system drive of the host machine. Otherwise the path will not be valid for the scene to render on a remote node. If the output path is on an external hard drive, then the volume information will be recorded in the output path and should render fine for nodes on the local Mac as well as remote Macs.

ScreamerNet lwsn only renders individual frames, not animations in formats such as QuickTime. Instead, you render your animations to still frames and then use QuickTime Player, After Effects, Final Cut Pro or another program to load the image sequence, and save it as a QuickTime movie. So if you wish to render an animation with ScreamerNet lwsn, don’t set the Save Animation area on the Render Globals panel but rather set the Save RGB section as outlined below.

Follow these steps to set the render output settings for a scene:

  1. Launch LightWave Layout
  2. Load the desired scene with: File->Load->Load Scene...
  3. Open the Render Globals panel with: Render->Options->Render Globals
  4. Click the Output tab.
  5. Locate the Save RGB section (NOT the Save Animation section) of the Output area.
  6. Click the RGB Files button.
    Render Options: Output Files Tab
  7. Type a file name prefix in the Save As field of the RGB File Prefix file dialog. This can be any name you wish. LightWave will add a frame number and file extension to each rendered image file. In this example we’ll use the word DLI_SuperBalls as the RGB prefix.
  8. Navigate to the directory you wish to use to save the rendered frames. LightWave defaults to use the Images directory inside the Content directory. I prefer to create a Renders folder inside the Content Directory and save my renders there.
    NOTE: All users running ScreamerNet must have read/right access to this output directory.
  9. Click the Save button to dismiss the RGB File Prefix dialog and accept the changes.
  10. Set the RGB Type pop-up field to any desired file type, such as LW_TGA32(.tga)
  11. Set the output’s filename Format pop up to any naming format you wish. This tells ScreamerNet how to name each frame image file. The names are built from the RGB Prefix you typed followed by a frame number and optional filename extension. In the above example we’ve selected Name_001.xxx.
  12. You should now see DLI_SuperBalls_001.tga, ... in the readout next to the RGB Files button. This is how the rendered image files will be named inside the specified output directory.
  13. Save the scene file.
  14. If the output directory is on the host Mac’s internal hard drive and you’ll be network rendering with LightWave Layout’s built-in Network Render panel, then you must manually edit the output path to add the volume information as follows because the path won’t work on remote nodes. Third party render controllers usually have separate path remapping for local vs. remote paths.
    1. Open the scene file with /Applications/TextEdit.
    2. Type Command-F to open the find dialog.
    3. Type or paste SaveRGBImagesPrefix into the find field and click on the Next button.
    4. This will bring you to a line in the scene file that looks similar to this showing your actual output path (all on one line): SaveRGBImagesPrefix /Users/UserName/Documents/DLI_SuperBalls/Renders/DLI_SuperBalls
    5. Click immediately in front of the first forward slash /Users, after the space.
    6. Type or paste the following (replacing HostHD with the real name of your host Mac’s HD) onto the front of the path immediately before /Users:
    7. Save the scene file being sure to retain the ".lws" file extension.
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