Rock-steady Operation

Deadline’s unique architecture removes the need for a centralized manager application by using a highly-scalable database and basic file sharing to manage the farm. As long as your Database and File Server are running, Deadline is running.

Intuitive User Interface

Built with your creativity in mind, Deadline’s User Interface has evolved in response to extensive feedback from artists. The flexible and intuitive interface provides a unified experience to artists and administrators across all platforms.

For job submission, Deadline offers integrated submission scripts for 3ds Max, After Effects, AutoCAD, Blender, Cinema 4D, Clarisse iFX, Composite, Fusion, Generation, Guerilla, Harmony, Hiero, Houdini, Lightwave, Maya, Messiah, Microstation, Mocha Pro, modo, Nuke, RealFlow, Rhino, SketchUp 3D, Softimage, and Vue, providing a comfortable native environment for cross-application tasks.

Supported Software

Deadline supports over 70 different rendering packages out of the box across various industries, including Media and Entertainment, Broadcasting, Commercial, AEC (Architecture, Engineering, and Construction), and more! See the Supported Software page in the Deadline documentation for more information.

FLEXIBLE LICENSING OPTIONS

Deadline continues to support the traditional Floating license model, and adds support for a new Usage Based licensing model (UBL) in Deadline 8. These licensing models are not exclusive of each other, which means that they can be used separately or together, across local, remote, or cloud-based render nodes.

The UBL model allows you to pre-pay for on-demand render time by the hour by visiting the Thinkbox Marketplace. After purchasing render time, the render nodes will consume this render time on a per-minute basis, and they will ONLY do so while they are rendering jobs (they will not consume this render time when they are idle or offline). So if you purchased 24 hours of render time, you could render with 1 render node for a day, 2 render nodes for half a day, 12 render nodes for 2 hours, etc.

Deadline 8 also introduces 3rd party usage-based licensing (3PL). 3PL is very similar to UBL, except that it us used to license various 3rd party products when rendering through Deadline. Like UBL, it can be used in conjunction with traditional (permanent) licensing for those products, and Deadline can be configured to always prefer these existing licenses.

Customizable and Scriptable

With its Python based plug-in API, studios can customize the out of the box plug-ins and scripts to suit their individual pipelines, or create custom plug-ins to support in-house applications. Event plug-ins can be created to trigger events like updating pipeline tools when jobs are submitted or finish rendering, and Cloud plug-ins can be created to control VMs in public and private Cloud providers. Finally, job scripts can be created to setup custom dependencies, as well as perform operations when a job starts, when a job finishes, and before and after each task is rendered.

Flexible Job Scheduling

Use numeric job priorities, machine groups and pools, and job-specific machine lists to explicitly control distribution of rendering resources among multiple departments. Limits allow you to handle both limited license plug-ins and render packages, while job, asset, and script based dependencies allow you to control when your jobs will begin rendering. Stick with the default First-in, First-out scheduling logic, or switch to a Balanced or Weighted system.

Launch and configure an arbitrary number of Slaves on a single machine. Each Slave instance can be given a unique name, and can be assigned its own list of pools and groups, which allows Slaves to work on separate jobs. A single high performance machine can process multiple 3D, compositing, and simulation jobs simultaneously. Slave instances running on the same machine will share a single Deadline license.

Notifications

Deadline can be configured to notify users of job completion or failure through an automatic e-mail notification or a popup message on the users’ machine.

Administrators can also configure Deadline to notify them with information about Power Management, stalled Slaves, licensing issues, and other issues that may arise on the farm.

Statistics Gathering

Deadline automatically stores job and render farm statistics in the Database. Statistics can be viewed from the Monitor, or retrieved from the Database by custom pipeline tools.

Shotgun, ftrack, and NIM Integration

Deadline integrates with Shotgun to enable a seamless render and review data flow. When a render job is submitted, a version is automatically created in Shotgun with key metadata. When the render is complete, Shotgun is updated with a thumbnail image, paths to frames, render stats, and playback links. Deadline can also automatically upload a movie and/or a filmstrip when the render is complete. Shotgun then dispatches targeted notifications with links back to the work. Studios can view versions in various contexts, create reports, and organize work into playlists for review sessions where they can quickly take notes with the Shotgun Note App.

The Deadline/FTrack integration enables a seamless render and review data flow. When Deadline starts a render, an Asset Version is automatically created within FTrack using key metadata. When the render is complete, Deadline automatically updates the created Version appropriately – a thumbnail image is uploaded, components are created from the Job’s output paths (taking advantage of FTrack’s location plugins), and the Version is flagged for Review. In doing so, Deadline provides a seamless transition from Job Submission to Review process, without artists needing to monitor their renders.

Integration with NIM Labs’ NIM pipeline management tool enables the creation of NIM renders, and automates the uploading of thumbnails and movies to NIM when jobs complete. NIM can be chosen as an integration option in the After Effects, Cinema 4D, Hiero, Maya, and Nuke submitters. Support for other applications will be added when NIM supports them.

Draft

Draft is a tool that provides simple compositing functionality. It is implemented as a Python library, which exposes functionality for use in python scripts. Draft is designed to be tightly integrated with Deadline, but it can also be used as a standalone tool.

Using the Draft plugin for Deadline, artists can automatically perform simple compositing operations on rendered frames after a render job finishes. They can also convert them to a different image format, or generate Quicktimes for dailies.

Active Deadline subscribers are entitled to Draft licenses at no additional cost. Active Deadline subscribers can request a Draft license by emailing sales@thinkboxsoftware.com.

QuickTime Support

Install QuickTime on your slaves to create QuickTime movies from your own rendered frames.

Jigsaw and Tile Rendering

Jigsaw is available for 3ds Max, Houdini, Maya, modo, and Rhino, and can be used to split up large frames into arbitrary sized tiles and distribute them over your render farm. When the tiles are finished rendering, they are automatically assembled into the final image using Draft. Specific tiles can be re-rendered and automatically composited on top of the original image.

Regular tile rendering, which supports fixed tile sizes only, is still supported as well, and is available for 3ds Max, Houdini, Maya, modo, Rhino, and Softimage.

Easy Installation and Upgrade Deployment

Deadline has gone through rigorous analysis to make the installation and configuration process smooth and efficient. A detailed document provides easy, step-by-step instructions explaining the various components that will be installed. In addition, Deadline has the ability to auto-upgrade the whole render farm from a centralized deployment - an incredible time-saver for large render farms.

Auto Configuration allows studios to efficiently increase the size of their farm by removing the need to configure each new Slave individually. The Repository Path, License Server, and additional settings can be configured in a single location, and broadcast to the slaves when they start up.

Slave Scheduling and Idle Detection

Start and stop the slave based on the time of day to allow workstations to join the render farm overnight. Alternatively, start the slave if the machine has been idle for a certain amount of time, and stop it when the machine is in use again.

Other criteria like CPU usage, memory usage, and running processes can also be checked before starting the slave. Displays a warning message before starting the slave, allowing an artist to choose to delay when the slave starts if they are still using the machine.

Local Slave Controls

Artists can monitor and control the slave application running on their workstation, which is useful if the slave is running as a service. Override the Idle Detection settings for your slave, or change the slave’s Job Dequeuing Mode to control if the slave should render all jobs, jobs submitted from the artist’s machine, or jobs submitted by specific users.

Remote Control and Farm Administration

Stream the log from a Slave in real time, or start, stop, and restart Slave instances (as well as the remote machine on which it is running) remotely from within the Monitor. In addition, execute arbitrary command lines (applications, command line operations or batch files) on a single or group of remote machines to rollout software or install updates.

In addition, Deadline integrates seamlessly with VNC, Remote Desktop Connection, Apple Remote Desktop, and Radmin using custom scripts. These scripts can be modified or new scripts can be created to support other remote access software.

Access Control and Auditing

While full access is granted for all users to modify their own jobs, the User Group Management System prevents users from inadvertently disrupting other jobs, and allows Administrators to configure the types of actions available to each user group. An optional password protected Super User mode allows for global network administration.

Any command that affects a job or Slave is logged along with the originating user name and machine. This allows everyone, including project managers and supervisors, to track changes and troubleshoot issues with confidence. It also encourages responsibility and cooperation on the part of all users.

Reduced Energy Footprint

Save on energy consumption, power and cooling costs with Power Management, a feature that shuts down idle machines and starts them back up when needed. This feature is available for render farms with machines that support WakeOnLan.