Barista

by CG Cookie in Scripts and Addons

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This item has an average rating of 4 from 15 ratings by the community.

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  • primaryfantasy about 2 months ago

    Hi everybody! Today I decided to replace my aging Brenda setup with Barista. Getting it up and running took the same amount of time as the tutorial video. The first render was an immediate success.
    So far I'm very happy with the GUI and how easy it makes rendering on AWS. I encountered two problems however, and also have some questions and comments.

    First the problems:

    During my test, Barista failed to upload 3 frames to the s3 bucket.
    As a test, using Blender 2.83 and Cycles, I rendered 20 frames to multilayer EXR, and PNG via a file output node in the compositor. Then I first started a single g3s.xlarge instance and waited for two frames to be completed, then stopped rendering, and restarted from frame 3, after requesting an additional 3 g3s.xlarge instances, so 4 instances in total. It proceeded to render all frames up to 20. When I checked, it had quit one of the instances, while 3 kept running with status "request canceled". PNG frames 1 to 20 were in the s3 bucket, for EXR however, only frames 1 to 17 were uploaded to the bucket. The 3 instances were still running half an hour later, so I stopped them manually. I didn't see any error messages.

    Another minor problem I observed was, that during my 20 frame test render, Barista stopped auto-downloading frames after a while (around frame 4 I think). I then used the green cloud icon to batch download them, but according to the file modification dates, it seems it also re-downloaded the ones it already auto-downloaded earlier. Not a big problem with a few frames, but it would be nice if it could detect already downloaded frames and avoid unnecessary file transfers.

    Some questions and suggestions:
    - How does Barista manage the render queue? Can I close the application and the queue will continue on AWS, like it did with Brenda?
    - Is it possible to add instances after rendering already started?
    - Is it possible to queue multiple cameras, scenes, or blend files at once?

  • Carlos 3 months ago

    I rendered two animations (1 min each) and I saved a lot of money compared to a render farm. Barista would be perfect software if it could bake textures, as Blender is very slow for baking, I don't know render farms that can bake in Blender, anyway.
    From my experience, it's worth the money, as I saved much more money.

    • CG Cookie 2 months ago

      Thanks Carlos, and definitely!

      There are always plans to make Barista better in so many ways, and an option to make Baking a possibility is one of them. 😉

      Happy rendering!

  • Mutiny FX 4 months ago

    I work at a small VFX studio and we recently started trying to use Barista as our online render manager. It has a lot of promise, but some missing features and technical problems keep it from being great.

    We have, in some cases, needed to render a custom frame list(eg 0, 21, 48, ex.t). There is a slightly hidden function for it, but It may be hidden because its a little dubious. It always skips frame 0 (No matter what I do), sometimes it skips the first frame in the list, sometimes it skips random frames throughout the list. It requires a fair amount of babysitting just to make sure its rendering the frames that were submitted.

    As far as I have been able to find, barista only allows you to submit one shot at a given time. This is a problem if you are missing a frame (lets say frame zero) and want to queue it to render in parallel with the other frames. You can't, instead you need to wait for everything else to finish and then start one instance and queue your missing frame by itself and wait till it finishes. It would also be super useful to be able to create a queue of multiple shots to render during the night or weekend.

    Its also sometimes just disconnects from AWS and can't submit any more projects. However it can usually still start new instances, so I believe this is just a glitch.

    All in all its a very useful bit of software, if you a just dealing with shots where you can use the from-to frame submission its far more stable. It also automates a lot of the more technical side of dealing with AWS, making it just a few clicks and then you have loads of on demand processing power. For single shot renders this is a fantastic tool.

    Disclaimer, this was all written about v1.4.2. I've downloaded v1.4.3 but haven't had a chance to use it yet.

    • CG Cookie 4 months ago

      Thanks for the feedback!

      The whole reason this app exists, is to provide a comfortable rendering experience for everyone, but no one shares the same render process. If you are experiencing an issue, we would love to hear about it! If we don't know about your use case, we can't make it better for your specific needs.

      Prior to 1.3.0 you couldn't even use custom frames, but then a few customers mentioned how they would love the ability to render a custom list of frames, so we added the custom frame feature a week later. All you have to do is let us know your use-case, so we are aware of it, and we will figure out some way to make it work in your favor.

      While it doesn't natively support multiple renders at this time, other customers have been launching multiple clients to accomplish the same thing, and it works very well. While this method is not officially supported, we do have plans to add official support in the very near future.

      In regards to your other issues, I would really like to know more about the problem with it "disconnecting from AWS", as this is the first time hearing about such an issue. If you would please contact us through support, telling us more about this issue, we would really appreciate it!

      We always welcome feedback like this, so if there is anything else you haven't mentioned, send it our way. 🍪

      -Dennis
      Barista Development

  • Morgan Garcia-Lamarca 5 months ago

    Definitely the way to go for cranking out renders. Depending on the render times/volumes it can be cheaper per image to more less expensive machines vs. a few more expensive machines. I had an issue accessing the GPU instance list, and got a response and fix the next business day. Great service, and great potential for saving time on renders.
    Great!

  • Lynnel 7 months ago

    Not the cheapest option - use this application and AWS to render your projects, an 8-core processor (rendering time 1:26 minutes on the BMW 27 scene, which is slower than on the GTX 1060 6Gb on my LAPTOP) and when you need to render 400+ frames it's too expensive.

    • CG Cookie 7 months ago

      We definitely need to do a better job translating AWS to people new to AWS. As mentioned before, the instance you used was not an instance with an 8-core processor, instead it was an instance with 2 virtual CPUs hosted by a system using that processor.

      One great feature of AWS EC2, is that you always have more than one option when it comes to the instance you can use, and it's always best to try a few different instances to see what works. Regarding the BMW scene (v2), it can be rendered on a c5.9xlarge for $0.018 in less than 2 minutes, an option much faster, and cheaper to use.

      In your particular case it wasn't the cheapest option, since you had access to a local company renting actual GPU hardware in 24 hour blocks, and you were able to make full use of that time. While you could get really close to that performance and cost with multiple high-end c5 spot instances, it would still be a bit cheaper from your local farm. Outside of your particular case, compared to any of the other rendering platforms out there, it is still significantly cheaper.

  • Aapo Saaristo about 1 year ago

    Could I provision EC2 instances, install Blender, upload my blend files and write a bash script to render headlessly with the --background and --render-anim or --render-frame command-line arguments? Sure.
    Is it _infinitely_ more convenient with Barista? Yes!
    Barista makes it so easy to juggle multiple rendering jobs in parallel, cleans up after itself so I don't have idle instances hanging around, gives me a nice overview of all my jobs in one place and automagically helps me keep everything in budget.
    Some of the best money I've ever spent. Can't wait to pester Amazon to increase my limits on GPU instances :D

    Support is also amazing, had a few hiccups in the beginning due to having a lot of stuff on my AWS account already, and was able to solve them very quickly with a good hint about what the issue might be.

    As convenient as a render farm, but 100% in your control and often cheaper, too.

  • Matt Dunn over 1 year ago

    Barista is great! I can't wait to see how it grows.

  • Brandon Hix over 1 year ago

    This is a powerful piece of software built for POWER-USERS, not beginners.

    You're not going to buy this and be up and running in 30 minutes unless you've been around the block with a render farm before.

    But, when you do get it set up (and they have a great step-by-step guide on how to do it) it has amazing potential to save you both time and money without having to go to a third party render farm solution.

    It gives you options for rendering animations and also splitting large, single frame renders across multiple servers. I love this feature because so many render farms limit this capability.

    Barista is also, of course, catered for Blender rendering, which again most render farms out there are not, so this makes it a great piece of software that stands out in a crowd.

    Currently, from what I can tell, it's lacking support for GPU rendering options in the server list. This is based on my experience and what I've seen so far. But hopefully, they'll expand this in the future.

    Some tips on starting with Barista:

    - At the time I purchased, Barista would still be running in the background on Windows 10 after I closed it in my task bar, check your background tasks and make sure it's fully closed when you want to close it or it will cause problems when you try to relaunch.

    - It's going to be a bit of a setup with Amazon S3 and EC2 through their AWS platform, but take it slow and follow the instructions included and you'll be fine.

    - Make sure to either pack your .blend file when you upload to the server for rendering, or set your paths to relative. Also, if you're going to include the entire directory uploaded in a .zip file then the .blend file has to be named the same as the .zip or you will get errors when you try to render.

    It may seem expensive, but it will definitely save you money if you need a render farm for more than a few projects. It's worth it, and I love my purchase!

    • CG Cookie over 1 year ago

      Thanks for the feedback Brandon!

      The 1.2.0 version that we released just a few minutes ago gives you GPU rendering as one of the new features, and you no longer need to stop Barista from the Windows app tray. 🎉

      We certainly understand that there is a lot to take in, so we offer a documentation file with each release that explains how to use every single one of Barista's features, as well as how to use basic AWS functionality through the AWS console. There is also a table of contents so you can jump to the features you're most interested in, and this includes preparing your packed and multi-file renders.

      I know a doc file is not always ideal and can also be intimidating, so this is why we plan to add this documentation to the app itself in the near future. 🍪

  • Alex over 1 year ago

    This is not 2.8 ready. They don't specify the exact versions of Blender running on the server. So for me, I cannot select the frames to render or even focus the camera. They should be extra explicit on the about page. I'll return when they are ready.

    • CG Cookie over 1 year ago

      As mentioned before, we would love to see the issue you are having so we can address this issue, but so far you are the only person to report an issue with 2.8 rendering.

      We did explain how you can select frames, and frame ranges, but it sounds like you have a specific process that needs more explanation. If you would like to give us more feedback so we can address such problems, we would love to hear it.

      Feel free to reach out to us via your inbox to allow us to help troubleshoot these issues further. You can message us via https://blendermarket.com/inbox

  • Peter Flynn over 1 year ago

    Barista is a great idea and shows a lot of promise. My own experience is both good and bad, with the bad resulting in $500 worth of charges from AWS for two instances running idle for a month. It seems that when I thought Barista had terminated all instances, it had not. Considering the seemingly clunky mess that is AWS this is not a big surprise. Learn from my mistake and personally log into your AWS account and double check the status, do not rely solely on Barista to manage the instances. (Good advice whenever using a third-party product that manages a complex system.)
    On the good side Barista is a nice clean front end for an ugly backend (AWS). But there is (as in everything in this world) room for improvement.

    • CG Cookie over 1 year ago

      That's horrible to hear about the charges Peter. If you haven't already, please contact AWS Support letting them know you had some instances running without your knowing, and they will be more than happy to help remedy this issue.

      While this was possible with older versions of Barista, changes have since been made to make sure all running instances show regardless of the situation. If you haven't already, upgrade to the latest version. Thank you for the feedback!

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