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Is there any way to get blender to render on systems without a GUI? Over the network on systems with a GUI?

I know of a service that will let you buy virtual servers that are charged by the hour, not the month, allowing to purchase extra performance on demand very cheaply!

The question itself is OS-agnostic, but in this case you can essentially respond in a any OS you would like.

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Yes, this Blender supports this feature, which is frequently used on render-farms.

For reference, in Blender this is known as background mode.


I've had success rendering on a Linux cluster using SGE. Here, I render the first 1500 frames of an animation:

$ for n in `seq 1 1500`; do qbatch blender --background myblend.blend -x 1 -f $n; done

(note qbatch is just a script that submits a regular command line invocation to SGE for distribution to a compute node, so it's the stuff between "qbatch" and "done" that you're probably interested in)

Depending on the dynamics of your system, you may want to batch your renders differently, but you can adapt what I used.

Here is a page that describes some useful command line options: http://www.blender.org/manual/render/workflows/command_line.html

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The command blender -b myBlenderFile.blend -a will render an animation of the file myBlenderFile.blend with the settings with which the file was saved.

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