You can view a summary of the features of Smedge in the Smedge 2010 Product Sheet, which can also show you how Smedge stacks up against some of the competition.
Smedge can be up and running on a machine on a download - install - render manner.
See how easy it is on the download page:
For many products, Smedge will automatically find the executable for you when it is run the first time.
You can also configure system-wide default properties for Engine settings and Product options that will be automatically applied to new engines when they connect.
This vastly simplifies and can automate the configuration you need to add new Engines.
Simple, powerful, central management
Any property of any Engine or any Job can be viewed and configured from any other node.
You can configure groups of Engines at one time, and you can use defaults and presets for both Engines and Jobs to simplify how you configure things.
The GUI is streamlined for the kind of work your artists need to actually do with the renders, like checking the frames and finding the causes of render errors and problems.
The Conspectus component displays the status of all of your Engines as an easy to read graph showing the CPU and memory usage for each node in real time.
This makes monitoring your machines as simple as scanning a graph.
See the screenshots for a simple example.
This powerful management can be restricted for your artists, so that they can not change things you don't want them to change.
You can always enter "administrator mode" on any node to return it to full system access.
Combine this with the simplified service/daemon installation system, and you have a tool ideal for quickly deploying into a shared lab environment so you can turn your work labs into a giant renderfarm when no one is using them.
Handles Any Render Pipeline
Smedge ships with a large variety of Modules to control most of today's popular animation and compositing tools.
Most of the application specific Modules can be easily customized to add new versions easily.
For more pipeline specific customization, a system of "Virtual Modules" can be used to streamline Job submission and error detection.
The Virtual Modules are implemented using a very simple INI style text file that configures the parameters and syntax needed to control just about any command line based rendering application.
There is a component that can monitor the system and respond to any event in the Job and Work lifecycle with arbitary actions, including sending emails or running scripts.
You can also attach arbitrary command line operations to events on a Job by Job basis as part of the basic Job data.
Finally, if you really want to go to town, you can use the Smedge API to write your own Modules that can do anything you can dream of with a computer.
Smedge currently includes Modules to control:
3D Studio Max|
3Delight for Maya
finalRender for Maya
Maxwell Light Simulator
mental ray for Maya
mental ray standalone|
RenderMan for Maya
Turtle for Maya
V-Ray for Maya
And anything else that you can control from a commandline
Smedge has been in production use for over 12 years.
It is currently in producton use at top production facilities, education facilities, and commercial render farms all around the world.
Users have had hundreds of machines running thousands of jobs and millions of frames, of all possible resolutions.
Powerful and Intuitive GUI
Smedge includes a graphical Shell application that allows you full control over every aspect of your system, in a format that allows you to see the status of anything with ease.
Yet it also includes integrated security that allows you to limit the amount of control that users have.
The GUI is also highly customizable.
You can filter the list views, create your own list views, determine which data you want to see in each list, and reorder the list columns to suit your needs.
It has a powerful interface for editing Jobs and the ability to quickly and easily configure all settings for all of your engines at one time.
The GUI, as with any Shell application, will automatically have the ability to submit and control any new Products you develop, maintaining a consistent and understandable interface for your users.
There are also extra graphic Shell programs that allow customized interaction, including the Herald, which you can configure to respond to Job or Work events with one of several actions.
Actions available range from displaying a message or playing a sound to sending an email, executing a command or saving Job or Work information to a file.
Ready for automation
Smedge ships with a suite of commandline driven Shell programs, giving you the tools you need to deeply integrate Smedge into your full production pipeline with simple batch scripts, built-in scripting languages in third-party applications (like MEL), or through any programming language you please.
||Used to control Master distribution options, type options, restrictions and licensing.
||Used to list and control the operation of Engines.
||Used to list and control the operation of Jobs, or to display information about the installed Products.
||Used to manage and list information about the Pools.
||Used to submit Jobs into the system.
Seamless cross-platform operation
Available on Windows, Mac, and Linux.
All Smedge components are designed to work seamless across platforms.
You can run any component on any type of machine and all of your machines will automatically integrate with each other.
You can also set up automatic path translations across platforms so that when you submit a Job from Windows with a drive letter, the Linux clients will be able to find the same file with the correct Unix style path.
Wake on LAN
Smedge has integrated Wake-on-LAN technology to help reduce the costs of running your farm by allowing machines to enter a low-power "sleep" mode when they are idle, and then waking them up when there is work.
This can reduce the overhead of running your farm by using less electricity, reducing your costs and helping the environment.
Redundant Self-Managing Master
The heart of the Smedge system is the highly scalable Master, which automatically expands and releases its use of your computer's resources as it actually needs them, in real time.
The Master manages the system and keeps the data synchronized between each node.
The Master also keeps a real time, disk based backup of everything in the system, and will automatically recover its own data.
Any machine can take over as the Master automatically and seamlessly if the current Master machine goes down.
You do not have to specifically pick any machine role, nor do you have to enforce that only a single Master is running on your network.
Division of Labor
Smedge has a collection of interlocking components that all work together to actually do the work of Smedge.
This division of labor makes it possible to add, remove, update or replace any individual component with ease, often without even having to shut down your system.
New Job types (called "Products") can be added, some as easily as adding a few lines in a text file.
Similarly, all user interaction is through "Shell" programs, which allow you to control any aspect of your system's operation, without interfering with the operation of the Master or the Engines that are doing the work.
Automatic Font Synchronization
Smedge can automatically ensure that font resources that may be required for your project to render are correctly installed on the remote rendering nodes as needed.
Fonts are copied from a source folder that can be specified for each job and will be installed if they are not currently available.
The system can also automatically remove the fonts after they are no longer needed to ensure that your system does not get overwhelmed with too many fonts over time.
The main graphical interface for interacting with Smedge can be customized to your needs.
You can set up new tabs ("Views") that filter the data displayed based on various criteria, and you can also change and reorder the columns that are shown in the lists.
Each view can be further filtered to help quickly find the job or engine you are looking for.
Event driven architecture
Smedge uses an event-driven internal architecture to make the most use of your available resources.
It also means that Shells can be kept up-to-date automatically, all with a minimum of additional overhead on your network.
Additionally, Smedge offers several ways that you can leverage these events for yourself, allowing you to respond to events by performing any number of customizable actions.
Edit a simple text file to create your own custom Products, complete with integrated parameters.
Some products allow easy customization for different versions, and the Virtual Module system allows you to create your own Module to control nearly anything.
Smedge uses a simple variable substitution system to get the data from your definition file into the system, and allow you to access it again, for example in reponse to the event commands or when actually performing the work.
Multiple Job Prioritizations
Smedge includes several ways to organize and prioritize your Jobs, including a numerical priority for each Job and "Pools" of machines that can be prioritized for each Engine.
You can also configure Smedge to use either a "first-in, first-out" queue for otherwise equal priority Jobs, or to perform the work "round-robin" style, making sure that every unfinished Job gets some machine time.
Operation as a Service/daemon
Smedge can be configured to run as a background process (often known as "Service" or "daemon"), allowing you to operate Smedge without having to log in and consume the extra memory and CPU processing required for a normal user terminal.
This means that more of the machine resources are available for the work.
Automatic Shared Disk Management
On Windows, Smedge can automatically attempt to remap network drives that may be required for your Jobs to process correctly, even when running as a Service.
The system can be defined as an option for specific Products, or as a parameter of your Jobs themselves.