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Author Topic: Another Network Install Question...  (Read 303 times)

rob-bs

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Another Network Install Question...
« on: December 15, 2021, 12:47:19 AM »
Hi Folks,

We are looking for the best way to manage multiple Forest Pack libraries (Stock & 3rd Party) in a network environment.

We have the following libraries we would like to have proper paths loaded for on all workstations and render nodes:

- Forest Pack Pro Presets (3D and 2D folders as well)
- VIZPARK Libraries
- iToo's "Field Plants and Grasses 01" (downloaded separately)
- Custom parked cars (created in-house)

When we only had the Forest Pack Pro presets (before buying the extra stuff and making our own presets), the network location worked just fine so long as we edited the registry on each machine accordingly, using the guide from 2018 in this forum and editing it for our needs: https://forum.itoosoft.com/faq/installing-forestpack-6-assets-in-a-shared-network-path/

When we bought the "Fields Plants and Grasses" library, we dumped that entire unzipped folder next to the Forest Pack Pro folder on our network drive. Now we have multiple libraries either sitting next to each other like this:

Default library: \someNetworkPath\Forest Pack Pro\
New Library: \someNetworkPath\Fields Plants and Grasses\

Or nested like this:

Vizpark Library: \someNetworkPath\Forest Pack Pro\Vizpark\

Or in an entirely different location:

Parked Cars Presets: \someNetworkPath\Cars\Parked Cars\Forest Pack\

Then, we add those libraries to the Forest Pack library browser from within Max (Forest Pack browser > File > preferences > add library). That works... kind of... But we just ran into an issue with Forest Pack 7's built-in presets, where even though all our network's machines had been updated to FP7 in the same exact way, only a few of them are able to correctly find the paths to the new presets (but the locations never changed).

On top of that, extra libraries that we've added with that method don't always path properly on our render nodes. For example, let's say we send a scene to render on the network, and that scene is using one of the new "Fields and Grasses" presets. Even though we've pathed the library on the workstation where that scene was created originally, the paths are not automatically added when the render node picks it up.

So far, I've found two fixes for this:

1. Manually update each render node by opening Max on the node, adding the library, and forcing the network paths to update by adding a single forest pack preset to the scene so the "would you like to add the paths automatically" dialog pops up.

2. Use a script like RelinkBitmaps on the workstation, which recognizes the forest pack assets as missing, and then selecting the Forest Pack folder to relink the assets to.

SO... all that is to say:

Are we doing this wrong? Why can't Max files with additional Forest Pack libraries persist the paths in a network render?

Do we need to update the registry edit file to include explicit paths to the new library locations? Isn't that what the plugin is doing when it asks to load the paths automatically?

Is there a better way to do this? Should ALL NEW LIBRARIES be added to the root "Forest Pack Pro" directory?

And finally, why isn't there better documentation about this? All the "solutions" for network setups are buried within the forum, just like this post will eventually be.

This post does offer some help: https://forum.itoosoft.com/forest-pro-(*)/configure-network-map-locations-for-reg-edit/

But before I set up a new .reg file I want to know if there is a better way to organize the multiple libraries instead, and combine that advice with the new registry edit.

Every other plugin we use -- Anima, Tyflow, Chaos Cosmos, Vray's new material library, Phoenix, etc -- have clear instructions on network rendering, and none of them require manual registry editing. I can appreciate the complexities of shared assets, and I don't mind doing the work, but there really needs to be better documentation for the features that do exist.




Michal Karmazín

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Re: Another Network Install Question...
« Reply #1 on: December 15, 2021, 12:07:15 PM »
Hi,

First, let me mention, that presets bundled with Forest Pack might be overwritten during the upgrade and for this reason, we don't recommend saving any of your custom / edited styles inside of this library and use for this purpose another folder(s).

For the comfortable integration with the plug-in, any library can be easily added from the UI - within the Library Browser interface by going to File - Preferences... you can access the Library Browser Options where under Library Paths you can manage folders used for your libraries. These paths are stored (& can be edited/added) in the system registry under the

HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Itoo Software\Forest Pack Pro\LibraryDir

key and at the moment, the recommendable way of "copying these" would be by using .reg files.

For rendering purposes, the 3ds max is looking for used assets within paths listed within the Customize > User Paths > External files list. The Forest Pack plug-in is during the "Collecting maps" process searching in all its library paths for folders with the name "maps" and these are automatically added there (to the mentioned External files list).

That's not the case of render nodes, where the plug-in isn't "launched" - on these, it's possible to copy the 3dsmax.ini file with correct paths to all of involved computers. Just let me point out, that apart from the [BitmapDirs] section there are several other 3ds Max settings saved in the 3dsmax.ini file, and not always it would be a good idea to replace them with "another computer settings". Anyway, if these computers are always used just as render nodes, there shouldn't be any problem.

I hope that helps.

Best regards,

rob-bs

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Re: Another Network Install Question...
« Reply #2 on: December 15, 2021, 06:03:51 PM »
Hi Michal,

Thanks! That does help me understand what's happening.

What I didn't realize yesterday when I wrote my original post is that the materials/texture paths for each library are explicitly stated in a separate registry entry (as is detailed in that other forum post I linked to above). After reading your response, it kind of clicked, and by modifying the registry for each node I think we are back on track!

I think, based on your explanation, it makes the most sense to have an umbrella folder for all forest pack libraries, and then within that folder we would have one for the default "Forest Pack Pro", another for Vizpark, another for additional downloaded libraries, etc., etc.. Does that sound about right to you?

And finally, I do want to emphasize the need for this process to be either more well-documented or handled more efficiently from within the plugin's GUI itself.

Regardless, thanks for your help, we are fixed now!