Monday, June 2, 2008

Big Buck Bunny Rocks

Way back when (June 19, 2007 at ~4am) I sent mail to Ton at Blender. At the time I allowed that we had this compute grid that already ran Blender and that while I couldn't commit any time I could if he was interested put him in touch with the people who could. Happily he allowed that indeed they were looking for a render farm sponsor.

Woot! On May 29, 2008 I received my copy of the Big Buck Bunny DVD. I brought it inside and we paused the Stanley Cup Playoffs so we could watch it. It looks really good and I think it was worth the occasional pain on our part in supporting the rendering (also because my name is in the credits as I bought a pre-release copy of the DVD to further support the development effort :) ).

Big Buck Bunny was rendered on (press release) using Blender which is part of the application catalog

To focus on the things that I think most people reading Sun blogs would find interesting the rendering process from the Big Buck Bunny blogs. My role was down in the Sun Grid - bubble.

Renderfarm overview

If you look at the blogs there is plenty of information describing the development process, the rendering process and the fact that there were some complications in the execution. Interestingly one of the most common problems from my perspective were a large number of core files from the various Blender processes. These cores would at times fill up /var in the zones they were running in causing the Blender jobs to fail. Because of the implementation a single sub-task failure would cascade resulting in stopping the whole rendering process.

I "fixed" the core issue (coreadm is your friend) and cores have been disabled by default, now requiring that the end user make a local directory in their job setup scripts to hold their own cores if they would like to capture them. I believe that the cascading stop has been made into an option that is controllable in the job definition through the portal as well.

Go take a look at Big Buck Bunny and marvel at the power of open source software. Then realize how cool it is that a company such as Sun would spend/donate real time, money and resources on a creative commons animated movie. I'm glad we did it and I hope we can continue to do so in the future. (Maybe the next one as well)

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