Overnight Batch Render Manual

Index

    1. Version Requirements / License / Installation
    2. Overview
    3. Render Queue
    4. Settings Rollout
    5. Other Considerations
    6. Help/About
    7. Contact/Support

1. Version Requirements

3dsMax 2015 and higher.
Overinight Batch Render has been tested succesfully on 3dsMax 2015 to 2020. It should also work properly on future versions. However, if you experience any issue, please report it to contact@splinedynamics.com

1.1 License

With every purchase you get a lifetime license. It’s a node-locked license.
The Regular License lets you use the product in 2 different workstations. It comes with 2 license keys (1 domain per key).
The Corporate License allows you to activate the plugin on up to 10 workstations. It comes with 2 license keys (5 domains per key).
You have the right to get customer support for 1 year (+ access to the online user forums)
You will get free upgrades for the same major version of the product.

1.2 Installation

  1. Unzip the content of the .zip file and then drag the “.mzp” file onto one of your viewports in 3ds Max . The plugin automatically installs itself.
  2. A dialog called “Software Activation” pops-up. Enter your license key in the text field. (You received 2 license keys by email when you purchased the product).
  3. If the license key is correct, the plugin will start.
  4. To add the plugin’s icon to a toolbar, go to the Menu > Customize > Customize user interface…
  5. Go to the “Toolbars” tab and pick the category “Spline Dynamics”.
  6. The plugin’s name (“Overnight Batch Render”) must be listed there. Just drag it onto a toolbar and you’re done!

2. Overview

Overnight Batch Render is an easy-to-use batch rendering tool for 3dsMax, capable to process multiple scene files sequentially on a single computer.

This tool was designed to act as a little local render farm running on your machine, with a very simple and user-friendly interface. It frees you from staying in front of the computer all the time, supervising the rendering.

You just set up the render queue, fire the render and leave. The plugin will have completed all the work by the time you return.

Its main features are:

– Can handle multiple scene files, multiple cameras per scene (with 3dsMax built-in Batch Render tool) and different scene states / state sets.

– Ability to suppress warning messages, that usually show up when opening or rendering new scenes, preventing interruptions during the rendering process.

– Option to override the render output size, filename and frame range for all your renders from a single place. Very useful to make low resolution previews, thumbnails or quickly test small changes.

Note: This tool was not intended to be used with network rendering. That may cause unexpected issues. Please use it only to render on a single computer.

How it works?

Set up your 3dsMax scenes, including all the necessary render settings, so they are ready to just hit ‘Render’. Then:

  1. Add the desired scene files to the Render Queue, either during the working day or at the end of it.
  2. Configure the settings according to your needs.
  3. Start the render.

The render queue is always preserved. So if you want to make some changes and re-render the whole queue, it’s very easy.

3. Render Queue

The Render Queue is the list of 3dsMax scene files to render.
The plugin saves this list in an external text file, so it is preserved even if you close 3dsMax.

To manipulate this list there’s the Render Queue Dialog. At the top of the main UI, there are 2 buttons to call it:

Show Render Queue: opens the Render Queue dialog.
(+): Add Current Scene to Queue. Adds the filename of the currently open 3dsmax scene to the render queue.
Make sure to save the last changes of your scene before adding it to the render queue.

The Render Queue Dialog (see image below) lets you add, change or remove 3dsMax scene filenames from the Render Queue.

In this dialog you set up which files to render in the desired order.
There are controls to set the total number fields (files to render), pick files individually or from a folder,  and remove files from queue.

The plugin will prevent you to add the same file twice. It will also warn you if any of the files in queue was not found, by showing the symbol [E!] after the filename.

Empty fields will be ignored for rendering.

4. Settings Rollout

Render multi cameras / states (area)

The plugin can handle the render of multiple cameras per scene and different 3dsMax scene states or state sets.

It will use the options in this area, if they are set in scene, to perform the rendering.
The order of priority is this:

1. 3dsMax Batch Render tool (can handle different cameras, scene states and render presets)
2. State Sets (using cameras already set in the states or otherwise the active viewport)
3. Scene States (using active viewport)
4. If none of the previous options is set, it will render the active viewport/camera

You can turn off the options you don’t want the plugin to use in any scene.

Override Render Settings (area)

In this section you can override the render settings for all renders, changing the output size, frame range or output filename. Very useful to make thumbnails, previews or quickly test changes.
Each of the three overriding options has a checkbox to activate it.

Override Output Size 

Normally, you configure the size of the output images for each scene or camera, either from 3dsMax Render Settings dialog or from the built-in Batch Render tool. But suppose you want to test the whole redering process before shooting the final renders. Or maybe you want to make some low resolution render previews for the client (or for yourself) before rendering in high resolution. Or maybe you want to render thumbnails for a group of max files.

For that purpose, the plugin lets you temporary change the render output size for all your scenes from this place.

Width/Height | Percent (radiobuttons): Define whether to express the resolution as fixed width and height values or as a percentage of every output size already set. These options alternatively toggle between the spinner controls for the width/height and the one for percentage.

Pixel Aspect (spinner): set up the pixel aspect of the image.

Override Frame Rate

Lets you set a new Start frame and End frame for your renders.
Very useful if you are working with animations, to render only a small range or a single frame of the total sequence for testing purposes.

Override Output Filename

Here you can set a destination folder, filename and image format for all the output renders.
If enabled, the plugin will take the filename as a template name and save all renders at the specified location.
If you leave the special code [scene_filename] as the template name, each output file will get the name of its max file. Otherwise, if you set a custom filename, the output files wil get that name plus a numbering.
This option is useful to make thumbnails of your max files or redirect all output images to a single folder.

Store Unsaved Outputs

In the case there’s a scene in wich the render output filename is not set or invalid, the plugin will save the image/s to the path specified in this field.
This way, you make sure you don’t lose any render.
If Override Output Filename is on, then this option is disabled and discarded.

Suppress warnigs / Shutdown computer

Ignore warnings (checkbox): Suppress all warning messages that may show up during the rendering job (missing textures, missing plugins, scene units convertion, etc.), adopting the default action.

Overwrite existing files (checkbox): Set whether to overwrite existing files with the same name or to create new ones and rename them.

Shutdown computer when finished (checkbox): turn off the computer when all the rendering tasks are done.

5. Other Considerations

Prevent File Overwriting
If the plugin finds duplicated output filenames within the files in queue, it will rename them to avoid overwriting files.

Conflicts with Render Engines
Overnight Batch Render does not resolve existing issues or conflicts between 3dsMax and third-party renderers related to the redering process or file output.
If you have any particular problem with a render engine and this plugin, please report it through the Contact form and we’ll assist you.

Aborting the rendering process
To abort the rendering of a specific file, just press ESC one time, and the plugin will continue with the next file.
To abort the whole rendering job, hold the ESC key for a while until it is cancelled.

6. Help / About section

This section includes a link to this manual, a button to activate your license and the credits for this script.

Activate your License (button)
Lets you enter you license key to activate the product. (You got it by email when purchased the plugin).

7. Contact / Support

For customer support or making suggestions or business proposals, please don’t hesitate to contact us through this Contact Form.

You can also write us directly to contact@splinedynamics.com.

All feedback is greatly appreciated. We will try to answer all your inquiries as soon as possible.

 

Enjoy Overnight Batch Render!

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