I read on the official Poser Forum that rendering in Poser 11 was was both faster and more convenient when using the Render Queue Manager. I thought it would be useful to write a quickstart on this feature, as it exists in the latest fully patched and updated Poser 11 Pro. Since the only YouTube video on it is now out-of-date.
Things to know, straight off, as a new Poser user:
* “Render Queue” is a Poser Pro-only feature.
* “Render Queue” was only for Firefly renders in Poser 11. But apply patch SR3 or higher, and Superfly can also use it.
* “Render Queue Manager” is not the same thing as Poser’s internal “Render in Background”. “Render Queue” is for stacking renders, so they automatically render one after the other. As such it can save quite a bit of time on a multi-render project.
* Rendering is done by a separate programme in the background. On many new 64-bit multi-core Windows systems this should make rendering faster, and Poser far more responsive while rendering. Again, this will save you time in your workflow.
* There is also something called “network rendering”, where the rendering task can be shared across many PCs on a network. This was introduced for Firefly in Poser version 11.0.3.
1. Load and tweak your Poser scene. Save. Do a small test render, then set your full render size and quality in Render Settings | Firefly or Superfly.
2. Go: Top Menu | Render | Render Queue. The Render Queue Manager launches as a new standalone window, asks for the filename and folder it should save to, then goes off and starts rendering.
3. You then carry on with other work in Poser or Photoshop etc, while the rendering is done by a separate programme in the background.
Long and tedious version:
1. OK. First, where is it? Well, if you downloaded Poser 11 and its extras a while ago, look to see if you have a ‘Queue Manager’ sitting in your Start folder alongside Poser 11…
If you don’t see it there, check you have it at: “C:\Program Files\Smith Micro\Poser 11\QueueManager.exe”. If it’s not there, check in your Smith Micro Download Manager to see if you actually downloaded all the various bits needed for Poser 11 Pro.
Let’s assume you find it’s installed. Now go find your set of serial numbers that came with Poser 11 Pro. Copy-paste the serial for the Queue Manager, as you may be needing it in a moment.
2. Launch Poser 11 and load and set up a test scene. Save. On the latest version of Poser the “Render Queue” is then found on the Top Menu | Render | Render Queue…
On revisiting the “Render Queue” I found that this menu item remained curiously ‘greyed out’ and inactive for me, even when I switched to the relevant tab in Render Settings. I found that what I actually had to do first was make a small test render using a Firefly / Superfly render engine. Doing this caused the “Render Queue” menu item to become active and selectable.
3. Now, clicking on the active “Render Queue” item should launch the Render Queue Manager .EXE window. If this is the first time you’ve ever launched it, it will need the serial number to be input. Then you will first be asked to set a filename and destination folder for your render, then asked to give the QueueManager.exe Firewall permissions (which only needs to be done once, at launch).
QueueManager will stay open and waiting after the first render completes, hoping to be sent more renders.
In the Windows Control Panel | All Control Panel Items | Windows Firewall | Advanced, you may then want to make the Firewall settings permanent. Once done, this should mean that you won’t be asked each time it launches…
OK, it’s up and working. “Process jobs locally” if you’re on a single desktop PC…
From now on you just skip merrily through the simple version of my tutorial, as given above.
MOVIES? Rendering multiple movie frames is apparently currently more problematic, for those with the latest patch applied. It can be temporarily accomplished through a MovieRenderToQueue.py Python script. Apparently a vital button on the Movie panel in Render Settings was removed with the latest patch, along with the advanced Auxiliary Render Type switches. There’s a simple workaround for the Auxiliary Switches and the Poser devs reports that the Movie queue button should be back in Poser very soon…
ALTERNATIVE ACCESS: One can also access the “Render to Queue Manager” command via the official partner script for Firefly. This is found under Top Menu | Scripts | Partners | Dimension 3D | Render Firefly. Or it can simply be invoked by pressing Shift + F on the keyboard.
NETWORK RENDERING: You’ll of course get the full benefit of using the Render Queue Manager if you’re using it to render across several PCs. As we’ve seen, the Render Queue Manager is a separate .EXE file and on Windows you’ll be running it on Windows 7 or higher. Render Queue can ‘network render’ across several such machines, only if: i) the Render Queue Manager version on your slave PCs is the same as on your main PC; ii) each .EXE has been activated with the serial (not the same as your main Poser 11 or PoserFusion serials); and iii) you have all the remote and desktop Firewalls set up correctly. Each .EXE will need to be given both inbound and outbound permissions through the Firewall. All this is needed to that the main PC can talk to the network PCs, and the network PCs can talk back.
If you do lots of large renders or animation with Poser then you’ll want to look at advice on building a dedicated render network or base unit. Some advice is to be found here. Looking for the apparently-required 2 x CPU “2x X5650” to “2x X5690” refurbished Xeon workstation on eBay suggests that about £400 should get you something quite powerful (24 render threads) under your studio desk. That’s comparable with the cost of a high-end graphics card, but gets rendering off your PC entirely so you can get on with other work. It also means you don’t have to faff around with upgrading the PC’s PSU, fitting a huge slot-in card, fan-noise, summer overheating etc.
AUTOMATE PREVIEW AND SKETCH RENDERS? For renders other than Firefly, you might want to look at setting up Windows automation software like JitBit Macro Recorder, which records and automates software clicks, and then set wait-times (such as 60 seconds per Preview render, allowing a 3600px Preview render ample time to complete). You could also try to have JitBit use keyboard shortcuts only, to make your automated macro/action independent of User Interface changes and screen size. Obviously this doesn’t take the renders off to another programme or PC, but there is some ‘background’ automation involved.