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Is there a way to use other computers that are sitting idle on my network to render my images?

From google, I've found this project, however it appears that is designed to let everyone use your hardware, in exchange for using theirs. Also, there is no guarantee to how soon your project will start rendering.

I have a bunch of servers sitting around that were bit coin mining. Is there a way to use them for blender?

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You could use Sheep it it provides services for collaborative rendering.

  • You machines will render your own projects first.

  • When your machines render frames from other projects you earn credits, more credits increase the priority of your projects.

  • The service only accepts projects up to 500MB (including packed caches in a zip file).

  • the client-software can be run from a browser as Java-Applet (I had problems with the latest Java), therefore I would recommend to use the alternative to download a standalone client.

  • FAQ

If want to try it and would like to have working scripts to start the client, leave a message and I will add them here.

Network Render

Blender has an addon for Network Rendering in order to use it you can enable it in the User Preferences: enter image description here

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    $\begingroup$ Does using Sheepit mean each computer has to download the whole blend file? $\endgroup$ – Greg Zaal Sep 15 '14 at 7:46
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    $\begingroup$ @GregZaal Yes, I'm pretty sure that's the case. using Sheepit is only really practical if you have a fast network connection, as it downloads it's own version of blender each time it renders. (There is a preference when submitting a project to set the version to be used.) $\endgroup$ – gandalf3 Sep 15 '14 at 7:50
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    $\begingroup$ @GregZaal exactly as gandalf3 explained and you should also know that the .blend file is downloaded to a /tmp directory and could be stolen by anyone who participates in rendering your project. $\endgroup$ – stacker Sep 15 '14 at 8:33
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If you can connect all the machines to the same filesystem, whether physically or with something like sshfs, then you can use the placeholders and overwrite options to create a simple renderfarm.

  1. Set all the blender instances to output to the same shared directory. Presumably you'd have one blender instance per machine, but you can have more (e.g. one for CPU one for GPU).

  2. Disable overwrite so that blender won't render frames for which files already exist in the output directory.

  3. Enable placeholders so that an empty file is created when blender starts rendering a frame, "reserving" that frame so that blender instances with overwrite disabled will automatically skip it.

    enter image description here

  4. Start all rendering on all instances.

    If everything is set up properly, instances will skip frames which are already rendered or being rendered by other instances.

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