The preparation is different for an animation. Here are the steps to follow:
1. Create your animation in the host application (3DS Max, C4D, etc.). In the Maxwell plugin, choose the ‘Write MXS’ option. The Maxwell plugin will then generate as many MXS files as there are frames in the animation. Copy all these MXS scenes in a new directory that you will use to store all your project’s files. Let’s call it DIRA in our example (but you can give it the name you want, with only letters and numbers – no spaces nor special characters).
2. Now, you need to gather all the external files needed by your project (textures, etc.). To do this, open one of the generated MXS scenes in Maxwell Studio, and use the “Pack’n’Go” function to write all the external files found to another directory (NOT your project directory with all the MXS). Let’s call this second directory DIRB.
3. Copy all the files in DIRB to DIRA, except the lone MXS scene which has been created in DIRB by the Pack’n’Go function. After this operation, all the necessary files are in DIRA (all the MXS files + all required external files, textures, etc.).
4. Compress all the files in DIRA in one archive with the .7z format or the .zip format depending on the compacter you use. Please do not use another format.
5. Rename the compressed archive you just created with the extension “.vum”. For instance, if your archive is “MyAnim.zip”, rename it to “MyAnim.vum”. It is essential for the automated renderfarm to detect the file as a Maxwell project.
The RANCH knows that a project is a still image if it finds only one main MXS scene in the .vum file. It will then allocate the same scene to all the render nodes in cooperative mode. If it finds several main MXS scenes in the archive (that is, not 'xref_' files - see the dedicated section), it will process the project as an animation (one MXS scene / frame per node). So, if you want to send a cooperative still image project and not an animation, please make sure that there is only ONE main .MXS file in your .vum archive.
Please also note that you cannot upload a file with a size > 2 GB to the RANCH. If you
send an animation project composed of many .MXS scenes, this limit can be reached. In
that case, you will have to split your big project into several smaller projects, each with a
size < 2 GB.
You can send your 3ds Max / Maya / Cinema 4D + Maxwell animation directly as a 3ds Max, Maya or C4D project, instead of having to send a large number of big .MXS files. To do this, please consult our web sites and user guides dedicated to these applications.