Thinkbox Software Unveils Deadline 6.1 and VMX Extension at SIGGRAPH 2013
July 24, 2013

Thinkbox Software Unveils Deadline 6.1 and VMX Extension at SIGGRAPH 2013

ANAHEIM, CA — Thinkbox Software is announcing Deadline 6.1, the latest version of its cross-platform render farm management solution, and VMX for Deadline, an extension that enhances rendering in the cloud.

"Deadline provides a rendering backbone to studios of all sizes, and we're excited to offer new virtual machine and cloud-based rendering options with the VMX extension. By incorporating local, remote, public and private clouds into one seamless render farm, we are pushing the boundaries of traditional render-farming, while giving users maximum flexibility," says Chris Bond, founder, Thinkbox Software. "Our latest Deadline technology developments continue to allow studios to boost their rendering productivity and output without making significant new hardware investments."

Key features of Deadline 6.1 include:

Screenshot of the Multi-Region submitter in 3ds Max, of the full Monitor and of the dependency view

  • Job Dependency View - View and modify a job's dependencies (including asset and script dependencies) using the new node-based display in the Deadline Monitor.
  • Asset and Script Dependencies - Set up dependencies on assets (textures, cache files, etc.) or Python scripts so that a job only starts when all assets are available and the Python script/s return success.
  • Native Python API - Communicate with Deadline from external Python scripts without having to explicitly call the Deadline command application and parse its output.
  • New Maintenance Job Mode - Once a slave completes a task for a maintenance job, it will no longer pick up any additional tasks for that job.
  • Popup Message Notification System - Akin to NetSend Notification in Deadline 5, the system sends popup messages to workstations indicating if a job has completed or failed.

For Autodesk 3ds Max and Maya users, Deadline 6.1 adds support for distributed bucket rendering (DBR) with Chaos Group V-Ray. A new interface automatically updates to show which nodes are running the V-Ray Spawner and instructs V-Ray to use the available nodes. Deadline 6.1 also features multi-region rendering for 3ds Max users, which replaces the single frame tile rendering with a more advanced workflow by enabling users to define one or more arbitrary regions to render instead of only rendering a fixed grid of equally sized tiles. Additionally, Maya users of Deadline 6.1 now have tile rendering support for Solid Angle's Arnold renderer.

With functionality across Windows, Linux, and Mac OSX-based render farms, VMX for Deadline offers:

  • Comprehensive Compatibility - Pluggable cloud support ensures interaction with nearly any cloud solution, allowing users to leverage their preferred private and/or public clouds.
  • Additive Cloud Support - Cloud support can be seamlessly mixed into existing render farm. Add public and private cloud rendering to an existing farm and/or migrate existing render nodes over to private cloud compute nodes as needed.
  • Balance and Auto-scale - Balance virtual machine instances when resources are fixed and auto-scale instances when demand spikes. Prevent over-utilization of compute nodes on private clouds and excessive costs on public clouds using budget controls.
  • Granular Control - Assign which groups can render on each cloud region and set the preferred order of region usage such as directing private cloud spill over into public cloud/s during demand peaks.
  • Maximize Resources - Tune the virtual hardware settings (VCPUs, VRAM, etc.) for each group to maximize the utilization of compute nodes on private clouds and minimize costs on public clouds.
  • Flexible Balancing Algorithm - A pluggable balancing algorithm enables customization beyond the default if additional functionality is needed.
  • Asset Verification - Avoid wasted cycles on the cloud by ensuring that the needed assets are present before rendering a job.

    Deadline 6.1 and VMX is featured in Thinkbox Software Booth #601.

    Images courtesy of Thinkbox Software, except where noted otherwise.