Ethereal Render

A community based distributed render engine for modo.


Modo users enjoy an already thriving community with a fantastic forum for help and assistance and an even better share site at luxology after modo 401.  Ethereal Render extends that great community to the area of rendering, and it allows modo users to render their own and other people’s content together in a distributed community render engine.  Check out the links above and the information below to read more about Ethereal Render and to get started today!

Ethereal Render – Major Features

  • Renders animation sequences across the internet to many rendering machines in the community
  • Use your render points to queue up multiple scenes for rendering to all community render nodes
  • Automatically uploads and downloads all scene files and render output
  • Display progress of rendering your scenes and shows the render network statistics
  • View images as they are rendered in the client application

Feedback and Support Requests

Please provide your feedback about the application, including any problems, request, new features you would like to using the form on our feedback page.

Frequently Asked Questions About Ethereal Render

What is Ethereal Render?

Ethereal Render is a distributed render engine for rending animation sequences using modo.  It allows sequences to be distributed to many users in the modo community anywhere in the world through a database driven hosted distributed render engine.  Ethereal Render is available to all modo users running windows and has been designed for use with modo 401 and 501.  It is a free application and is built to support the community and to enable community rendering to take advantage of render power that the community of modo artists are willing to share in return for their own rendering power.  It’s easy to use, has minimal installation and lets you then add to a rendering community your own computer horsepower in return for rendering your own animations back at blazing speeds.  There are online commercial services for rendering in 401 but they are expensive and attractive to hobby users and community users.  Ethereal Render provides exactly what is needed for all of you users who already contribute to the community for your own hobby projects.

Why Would I Want to Use An Online Render Farm such as Ethereal Render?

The short answer is speed.  Ethereal Render allows hobbiests and artists to render their work on many machines on the internet all at once instead of waiting for it on their own personal computers.  This can take days to weeks to render out an animation and if the workload is distributed to many computers, it drastically reduces the time required.

Another GREAT reason to use Ethereal Render is to help others render their work faster, see their work as your machines render it and even explore the content of jobs you are helping to render.  The files are not protected yet with Ethereal Render and because it is currently free to the whole community, the community can access the content they contribute to.  So, keeping your machine on just to help render other content will also allow you to collect some of the great community work that is built to examine the scenes and content.

When will Ethereal Render be Available for Use?

Ethereal Render is available for PC today, you can download it from the product download page.  It is developed using dotNET and will initially be available only on the windows platform.  I don’t use Mac’s, find them buggy and difficult to support so do not have any plans at this point to port Ethereal Render to the Mac platform, sorry.

How does Ethereal Render Work and How Do I Earn Render Points?

The render engine uses a points system where you earn points for contributing to the community rendering projects and then you can use those render points to have your own animations rendered in return by the community at distributed high speeds. For example:  If there are active users of the Ethereal Render engine, then when you import a scene and have it uploaded, up to 20 users will then be rendering your scene with you so you can have it completed much faster.  Ethereal Render automatically handles all of the uploads and downloads of both your content and and saved render outputs so all you need to do, is pass your scenes through Ethereal Render instead of rendering them locally in modo.

This has two major benefits:

  • 1. You automatically earn points for rendering your own scenes through the community render engine just for having the render engine running and active.
  • 2. This offloads your rendering so if other users in the community will help you render your animation, making it finish faster than just user your own machine.

You can of course also run the render engine for community projects and earn render points, which will then allow you to render out your own scenes by the community at impressive speeds once needed.  The more users that use Ethereal Render, the faster any rendering will be and the more useful the render engine will become in the community.  Ethereal Render will allow any modo user to render out animation sequences using many computers, instead of just their own.

Can I Buy Render Points?

Not yet, however, Ethereal 3D plans to offer render points for purchase in bulk so a user without available rendering power can still take advantage of community rendering or rendering out large projects they don’t have time to earn points for.  The pricing of render points will be at a fraction of the cost of commercial render engines since this is rendered in the community only and by available machines from Ethereal 3D (if any).  The render points for purchase will help pay for development of Ethereal Render and for hosting costs of the content and database system running it.  This will still be at a fraction of commercial render farms since the work is down by distributed computers, not dedicated expensive hardware.

Are the Files and Content Secure From Other Users?

No.  All content to be rendered and output that is rendered is transferred to and from individual local systems and so it is possible look at that content when your system is rendering it.  In the future, Ethereal 3D may provide dedicated secure rendering that will be secured with no individual users able to access any of the content.  Any future secure rendering will be at a higher cost, either with a ratio for render point or purchased render points.  Details for this is not yet determined or planned.

Does Ethereal Render Earn Money?

Eventually, it will.  As more people use it and once render credits are available for purchase, Ethereal Render will earn some money to cover costs of hosting and bandwidth usage. The way the system is built is that any render points earned are at a rate of 80% what that same content costs to purchase so it is not quite hour for hour.  Instead, for every 100 hours of rendering you do, you earn back 80 hours worth.  The points lost allow room for purchased render credits so that there is additional render power, hour for hour in the community render engine.  Without this, there would only grow a backlog of rendering or users accumulating more points than they ever need.

Render Points are calculated based on your computer’s overall speed.  Each render point is approximately one hour of rendering per GHz core on a I7 processor as reference.  So an 8 core machine at 3.1Ghz has a render power of 8 * 3.06 = 24.8.  This is the # of render points it costs per hour of rendering on that machine. You can earn those same render points back at 80% of that in an hour.

Are There Rendering Limitations with Ethereal Render?

There are, yes.  Because the rendering machines are within the community, every machine is different and therefore the requirements for each scene vary.  Ethereal render currently limits distribution to specific machines my RAM available and modo version.  Scenes for use with Ethereal Render can be set for a level of RAM required and modo version.  It then ensures only machines meeting that requirement will download the content and contribute to the rendering.

Scene size and render output filesizes are the other big limitation.  Since Ethereal Render shares everything over the internet, JPG files and other compressed formats are best.  Distributing content on the internet works best with scenes that do not need huge image maps and that have render times at least in the minutes with saved outputs per frame not exceeding several megabytes.  There are currently no restrictions on output sizes or render output layers, but this may be something needed in the future to control bandwidth.  Currently there is a restriction of scenes to a maximum size of 25MB (which includes all images needed as well).

For discussions, please use this thread at Luxology’s Forums

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