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Frequently asked questions

You have questions? We have answers.

FAQ

General

A render farm is a group of computers connected together to complete a large task. In the case of 3D rendering, most of the time a render farm will distribute frames of an animation to multiple computers. Instead of having a single computer work for 100 days, you can have 100 computers work for 1 day.
When the owner of a project adds their scene to the jobs to queue, the service splits the animation into single frames to render, sends each frame to a connected computer and aims to optimize its choice based on the available memory, as well as the CPU/GPU power.
The difference is in the word distributed, as in the service doesn't own machines that render, but instead relies on people to share their computers. Thus,there is virtually no limit to the amount of power the render farm can have.
Yes, it is! We don't have any hidden tax like paying to get the final result, everything will be free. We only rely on donation and ads to pay for the domain, server and development. You can donate on this page. We accept PayPal, bitcoin and dogecoin.
It was a suggestion by one of our members when the project was in Beta. We liked the "tone" of this name and found a beautiful explanation : "To sheep it is to follow everyone else when you don't know where you're going or what is happening. Derived from the term 'sheep', used to describe one who does what others do in an effort to fit in."
You can add as many as you want BUT you can only have 2 rendering at the same time. This limit is set to avoid having a person flooding the render farm with too many projects.
If the render farm is indeed flooded this limit will be temporarily lowered to 1 (It does happen, but no more than a few times a year).
Yes! You will render your project first.
If you don't want to prioritize rendering your own project (for example because you have less powerful machine) you can change this behavior on your account page under the 'Option' tab.
Points are used to order the list of projects. The more points you have the higher priority your project will have.
You will earn points by sharing your computer to help rendering. But you will lose some when someone renders one of your frames.
The calculation of points is only based on render time. How points are calculated:
* remove 3.2 * render time (in minutes) when ordering a frame.
* add 12.5 * render time (in minutes) when rendering a frame.
* If the owner of a project renders a frame, no penality is made and it gets 30% of the adding points (The 30% penality is to avoid "farming".).

The render time is not the actual duration on your machine (since that would it would give slower machines an advantage). Instead, it's scaled to a 'reference machine', which is currently an Intel Core i5-2500K @ 3.30GHz x4. You can see the list of machine performance on the machines page.This list is generated by rendering the same project on each machine when the computer's specs are new.
For example, with a project of 100 frames at 15min/frame (on the reference machine), the owner will lose 18,750 points.
No matter which computer the frame is rendered on, it will earn the same amount of points.
Explanation with 200% machine: 100 * 2.0 * 7.5 * 12.5 = 18,750 and 25% machine: 100 * 0.33 * 45 * 12.5 = 18,750


This system is made to be fair, previously it was with weight on each frame and the other on duration, but it was actually unfair because it was based on the number of frames rendered and not on time spent.
No, points are not transferable.
You have two ways to view teams.
Either you can create a bit of competition by being part of a team and competing to generate the most points.
Or you want to help a specific group of people, for example, you are working on a collaborative project and you want to render this project first. You can do so by checking 'Render my team's projects first' on your profile's options.
It does not matter because the size will be overwritten.
The best method is automatically detected during project upload.
The split of frames depends on the render engine and if compositing is enabled.
There are two methods of split 'layers' and 'chessboard':
* chessboard, the split is achieved with the border feature, each frame is split with a chessboard motif of 2x2, 4x4, 5x5 or 6x6 to create smaller tiles to be rendered (for example 16 tiles of 250x125 in 4x4). It's simple and efficient but it does not support compositing.
* layers, the split creates "layers", each frame is rendered with samples lower to 1/n and a different seed. Them recomposed with 100%, 50%, 33%, 100/n % opacity to generate the final image. This method has the main advantage to support the compositing but it does not support variation of sample amount through lpo. This method is used with Cycles engine with compositing enabled.
In theory, yes, BUT we don't recommend rendering fluids, because you need to include the bake files, which are very big. You are limited to 500MB per project, which is usually not enough to include all fluid bake files. However, there is a method you can use to split up a single animation into multiple projects:

  • 1. Create a folder for your project and put your project inside that folder
  • 2. Open your project and go to the fluid settings of your domain object.
    Adjust the fluid/smoke simulation settings to your needs and click bake.
    Blender creates a "blendcache_projectname" folder in your project directory. It contains the baked fluid simulation.
  • 3. Make all paths relative.
    This can be done under
    File>External Data>Make All Paths Relative
  • 4. Make sure that you set everything right and make a test render of one frame.
  • 4.1 Save your project.
  • 5. Now check if the Project folder (the folder in step 1) is larger than 500MB.
    If it is less then 500MB good you can zip the folder.
  • However if its larger then 500MB don't panic as there is solution for that:
  • 5.1 Create a folder inside your project folder called “part_1” (can be anything you want)
  • 5.2 Create a folder inside "part_1" called "blendcache_projectname"
  • 5.2.1 Copy your project file here as well
  • 5.3 Copy “part_1” multiple times and after that rename the copies to part_2 part_3 and so on.
  • 5.4 Go into your "blendcache_projectname" inside the project folder
    Select as many files as possible while staying under 500MB.
    Hit ctrl +x.
  • 5.5 Go inside “part_1/blendcache_projectname”.
    Hit ctrl + v.
    Repeat this until all simulation files in “blendcache_projectname” are now in part_ folders.
  • 5.6 Zip all part_ folders individually.
  • 6. Upload each part_ to Sheepit.
Yes, you can! Each time the Blender Foundation releases a new version we add it to the renderfarm. But we only add stable versions.
On project creation, the version will be auto-detected but you can override it.
No, we do not because they are not stable enough.

Contact

Another question?

If you didn't find the answer to your question, please use the forum, the community will help you

Rendering

If you are running Windows, then NOTHING! You can use the standalone client which will do everything for you.
If you are running Linux or OSX you only need to have Java installed.
In every case, no need to have Blender, it will be downloaded for you. If you are not sure if your system is supported, go to the Blender binary listing to check if we added it to the render farm
Go to the Get Started page and download the rendering client (either the exe or jar file).
We are providing Blender which is an official Blender Foundation release, we are not modifying in any way the Blender binary.
We do embed a python script, for single frame rendering and to set up the compute method but we do not allow the owner of a project to use his own script.
Yes, you can. The more machines that are connected the better!
In theory yes BUT we disabled it due to the size of the output file, a 1920x1080 frame can take more than 40MB, it will be very difficult for the renderer to upload it. For the owner, it will be even worse; a 400 frames animation could be 16GB to download.

Client

At the moment only one GPU is supported per session. But if you really want to use multiple GPUs you can launch more than one session (by using multiple command line clients).
The client source code is GPL and you can help it. The client's project is being hosted on Github at https://github.com/laurent-clouet/sheepit-client. Pull requests are more than welcome!

Contact

There is a forum.
We also have set up four communities, one on Discord, Google+, Facebook and Twitter, Discord is to most active, them the forum.
You can request a feature or vote for the next feature to be added to the render farm by going to the request feature page.
If you think you can code it yourself, you can also do a pull request on the Github client project.