Both Thea Render standalone and floating licenses are provisioned with two Node licenses which can be used for setting up a network render cluster. Essentially a single license of Thea Render Studio allows you to have three systems contributing to a render project. It should be noted however that your potential network cluster may not be homogeneous as each system can run a different operating system (Thea Render licenses are fully cross platform). Therefore depending on your available computing hardware you may be able to start Thea Render Studio on a Windows system and have Mac/Linux systems as Nodes for example.
In relation to network render issues one of the most frequent question our support team receives is: Why does my Thea Client node not commit even though it is in running state?
Let us consider a scenario where we have three Windows systems with Thea Studio installed on all three systems. Note that to enable a system as a network Node you need to execute Thea Client application which is available after completion of the install of Thea Studio. The shortcut is available in the Quick mode folder (under Windows 7 – Start > Programs > Thea Render > Quick Mode) and directly available in the Program folder in Windows 8/10.
Therefore the first step is to check if we have an activated Node license. If you have not activated a Node license on a desired Node system, the process is exactly the same as with Thea Render Studio except that in License Form – Main you will need to select from the bottom left drop-down box the option for Node. Once you have activated a node license and initialised Thea Client, you can either let Thea Client detect your Thea Server (default mode is Configure > Client Configuration > Server Scan set to Auto) or if you already know the IP address of your server system (e.g. SERVER-PC) switch Server Scan > Manual and insert the system name (this will automatically translate SERVER-PC to its corresponding IP address).
Please make sure to make appropriate configuration changes to your firewall for both Server and Nodes in order for communication between systems is possible – in most cases during initialisation of Thea Studio and Thea Client the operating system should inquire if you wish to enable an exception for the application to pass through the firewall. Please ensure to accept the request as this will write an exception rule to the firewall Inbound/Outbound rules table and ensure correct communication between Server > Nodes.
We consider the role of the Server being the system that is running Studio (+plugins) and Nodes being allocated to systems on the network that may not necessarily have a modelling role. Node systems need only execute in essence the Thea Client application. Even if your Nodes do not possess NVIDIA GPU(s) and you wish to use Thea Presto on them this is of course possible as the engine core will determine available devices and use them accordingly. Thus you can mix systems that have CPU+GPU, CPU only or even GPU only configuration.
To enable network render functionality for a project in Thea Studio, select in Darkroom > Distribution > Network set to Server (includes both localhost) or Pure Server (complete offload render, does not include local system in network render project).