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Author Topic: ForestPack + RailClone network library  (Read 2528 times)

Andrei

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ForestPack + RailClone network library
« on: September 27, 2023, 11:23:49 AM »
Hello,

In our studio, we work on local workstations that connect to a server containing all our files. We have a ForestPack library shared on a network disk. During installation, we choose this network disk, but in 3ds Max, we still have local user folders with assets. How can we install ForestPack and RailClone in such a way that they use only the network assets? Currently, it creates confusion, especially in the .mxp file in the project. When multiple people work on the same project, it starts to look like this:
Dir3=c:\users\id_6\appdata\local\itoo software\forest pack pro\maps
Dir28=c:\users\id_15\appdata\local\itoo software\forest pack pro\lib\presets\stumps\maps
Dir39=c:\users\id_2\appdata\local\itoo software\forest pack pro\maps

When opening the scene, we receive errors indicating that paths to the users are not found, which is expected since these paths are on another workstation.

Additionally, is there any possibility to install updates for ForestPack and RailClone on all workstations with a single action?

Michal Karmazín

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Re: ForestPack + RailClone network library
« Reply #1 on: September 27, 2023, 11:32:57 AM »
Hi,

You can modify the corresponding registry keys in the following way:

https://forum.itoosoft.com/faq/installing-forestpack-6-assets-in-a-shared-network-path/

https://forum.itoosoft.com/faq-18/installing-railclone-3-assets-in-a-shared-network-path/

In addition to the "custom paths set-up" links, using environment variables could be an option.

Let me mention that the installer also supports unattended installations (very handy in case of having multiple render nodes). All necessary information regarding the installation of Forest Pack can be found in our online reference guide (as well as the unattended installation and installation of the "Render slave node" mode). Also, please note that it's possible to install Forest Pack on render farm computers using the setup program or copying files manually.

I hope that helps.

Best regards,

ZO6039

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Re: ForestPack + RailClone network library
« Reply #2 on: October 03, 2023, 11:24:07 PM »
"Many users request us a way to install RailClone 3 assets in a network path, and download them from an unique workstation.
This feature is in our to-do list, and will be implemented in next updates." 2017 year.
I recently was installing Forest Pack on multiple render nodes and was not able to figure out why installation setup cannot ask me path where to install the library. Don't you think this is more common practice rather than manually change registry, environment variables and manually copy files? We just want to install library on shared network drive.
I just started to use Forest Pack, one year later after it was purchased because of headache with installation process, not intuitive interface and some other issues with this plugin.   
« Last Edit: October 03, 2023, 11:49:14 PM by ZO6039 »

iToo

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Re: ForestPack + RailClone network library
« Reply #3 on: October 04, 2023, 10:25:35 AM »
How can we install ForestPack and RailClone in such a way that they use only the network assets? Currently, it creates confusion, especially in the .mxp file in the project. When multiple people work on the same project, it starts to look like this:
Dir3=c:\users\id_6\appdata\local\itoo software\forest pack pro\maps
[...]
When opening the scene, we receive errors indicating that paths to the users are not found, which is expected since these paths are on another workstation.

By default, Forest add the texture paths automatically to the 3DS Max configuration. This is done to help to our less-experienced users, avoiding to have to configure paths manually.
But if your users are exporting the .xmp file, these local paths are exported as well, causing the problem you describe.

You can disable this feature from the Forest Library Browser->Preferences->Options, as shown in the attached screenshot.
In case you need to change this option manually, it's stored at C:\Users\<user name>\AppData\Local\Autodesk\3dsmax\2024 - 64bit\ENU\en-US\plugcfg\forestpack.ini, setting these values:

checkTexturePaths=0
collectTexturePaths=0

Carlos Quintero
iToo Software

iToo

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Re: ForestPack + RailClone network library
« Reply #4 on: October 04, 2023, 10:58:49 AM »
"Many users request us a way to install RailClone 3 assets in a network path, and download them from an unique workstation.
This feature is in our to-do list, and will be implemented in next updates." 2017 year.
I recently was installing Forest Pack on multiple render nodes and was not able to figure out why installation setup cannot ask me path where to install the library. Don't you think this is more common practice rather than manually change registry, environment variables and manually copy files? We just want to install library on shared network drive.
I just started to use Forest Pack, one year later after it was purchased because of headache with installation process, not intuitive interface and some other issues with this plugin.

Some time ago we evaluated this feature, to install Forest assets in a custom path (usually in a network folder), but it was a tricky issue.

Unfortunately there is not a standard tool or procedure in 3DS Max, to handle network assets. Each company has their own method, and it may be problems if everything is not configured correctly.
This is an Autodesk article about these potential issues: https://www.autodesk.com/support/technical/article/caas/sfdcarticles/sfdcarticles/Working-with-multiple-copies-of-3ds-Max-across-a-network-environment.html

We know most of our users know how to configure their network correctly, but this may be not the case for all customers.
For this and other reasons, we decided to keep the current installation method, copying the assets locally. It's simple, efficient and work fine in all cases.

As Michal described above, there are ways to modify this, but it requires some advanced knowledge, modifying configuration files and registry keys.

Thanks for your understanding.

Carlos Quintero
iToo Software

iToo

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Re: ForestPack + RailClone network library
« Reply #5 on: October 04, 2023, 11:08:28 AM »
I recently was installing Forest Pack on multiple render nodes and was not able to figure out why installation setup cannot ask me path where to install the library.

By the way, for render nodes it's not necessary to configure the library path using the registry keys.
Just copy all assets in a network path, and add them to your 3DS Max configuration, as any texture path.

Regarding this, Forest loads their assets (textures, XRefs files, etc) as any other Max plugin.
The procedure described by Michal, is required only if you want to use the Library Browser (in the workstations), with the assets stored in network paths.

« Last Edit: October 04, 2023, 11:10:45 AM by iToo »
Carlos Quintero
iToo Software

Andrei

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Re: ForestPack + RailClone network library
« Reply #6 on: October 18, 2023, 12:11:10 PM »
Hi,

You can modify the corresponding registry keys in the following way:

https://forum.itoosoft.com/faq/installing-forestpack-6-assets-in-a-shared-network-path/

https://forum.itoosoft.com/faq-18/installing-railclone-3-assets-in-a-shared-network-path/

In addition to the "custom paths set-up" links, using environment variables could be an option.

Let me mention that the installer also supports unattended installations (very handy in case of having multiple render nodes). All necessary information regarding the installation of Forest Pack can be found in our online reference guide (as well as the unattended installation and installation of the "Render slave node" mode). Also, please note that it's possible to install Forest Pack on render farm computers using the setup program or copying files manually.

I hope that helps.

Best regards,
Thanks! So does there is any difference to set path to newtwork library using Network Mapped drive (L:\itoo) or it's better to use direct path to the server (\\server.my\\dfs\\itoo)?

Andrei

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Re: ForestPack + RailClone network library
« Reply #7 on: October 18, 2023, 12:39:14 PM »
And another question. I re-installed update manager and set folder to downloa to Netwrok Drive (L:\iTooAssets) and there I see only zip archives, but not intalled library with lib, maps, effects. Do I need to move them manualy from C:\Users\user\AppData\Local\Itoo Software to  (L:\iTooAssets) and in registry key set path like this [HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Itoo Software\Forest Pack Pro\LibraryDir]
"Forest Library"="L:\\iTooAssets\\Forest Pack Pro\\lib")? And then how it will be udated when new assets will be available?

iToo

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Re: ForestPack + RailClone network library
« Reply #8 on: October 18, 2023, 12:56:20 PM »
Update Manager->Network Drive is used only as a shared folder to download the packages from the website.
This is useful in case UM is used by multiple users, so they don't need to download the packages every time. If the package exists in the folder and is updated, it's used instead download it.

But this folder cannot be used directly as a assets location. It just stores the zip files.
To share the assets, they must be copied manually from AppData\Local\Itoo Software\Forest Pack Pro\lib.

Carlos Quintero
iToo Software

Andrei

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Re: ForestPack + RailClone network library
« Reply #9 on: October 18, 2023, 03:31:24 PM »
Update Manager->Network Drive is used only as a shared folder to download the packages from the website.
This is useful in case UM is used by multiple users, so they don't need to download the packages every time. If the package exists in the folder and is updated, it's used instead download it.

But this folder cannot be used directly as a assets location. It just stores the zip files.
To share the assets, they must be copied manually from AppData\Local\Itoo Software\Forest Pack Pro\lib.
Thanks! But in case when new assets will be added in Update Manager, after instaling them on local worstation, I will need manually copy them in common drive?

iToo

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Re: ForestPack + RailClone network library
« Reply #10 on: October 19, 2023, 08:29:45 AM »
Quote
Thanks! But in case when new assets will be added in Update Manager, after instaling them on local worstation, I will need manually copy them in common drive?

That's correct.
Carlos Quintero
iToo Software

Morne

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Re: ForestPack + RailClone network library
« Reply #11 on: October 19, 2023, 11:01:35 AM »
Chaos Cosmos works a million times better with items in that library. The main app is installed 1 time with vray, and then you just set the network path 1 time in the app on each pc.
Pulling in materials, models etc on any pc, checks the network location for the asset if already downloaded, if not downloaded yet, it downloads it and adds it in the network folder for you.
No need for million manual path settings, environment variables or adding million paths to Max's project or systerm paths or any of that nonsense. Granted, you cant yet add your own items to that library, yet.

Whenever Cosmos is updated, no need to run around and copy things over and set paths again etc. The whole experience just feels a lot smoother.

Might be worth Itoo devs looking into that

Andrei

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Re: ForestPack + RailClone network library
« Reply #12 on: October 19, 2023, 11:28:23 AM »
Quote
Thanks! But in case when new assets will be added in Update Manager, after instaling them on local worstation, I will need manually copy them in common drive?

That's correct.
Thanks! And "Add "maps" folders to 3DS MAx texture paths" need to be on or off?

iToo

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Re: ForestPack + RailClone network library
« Reply #13 on: October 19, 2023, 12:23:33 PM »
Quote
Thanks! And "Add "maps" folders to 3DS MAx texture paths" need to be on or off?

That depends if you want to manage your texture paths manually, or let that Forest handles them:

- When on, Forest searches automatically all folders with name 'maps' in the libraries defined at the Library Browser, and add them to Customize->Configure Project Paths->External Files.
- When off, you must add these folders manually to the Max configuration (in the same way you manage your own texture paths).

One of the two options are required, so Max can properly load the texture assets.

Carlos Quintero
iToo Software

Andrei

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Re: ForestPack + RailClone network library
« Reply #14 on: October 19, 2023, 12:27:49 PM »
Quote
Thanks! And "Add "maps" folders to 3DS MAx texture paths" need to be on or off?

That depends if you want to manage your texture paths manually, or let that Forest handles them:

- When on, Forest searches automatically all folders with name 'maps' in the libraries defined at the Library Browser, and add them to Customize->Configure Project Paths->External Files.
- When off, you must add these folders manually to the Max configuration (in the same way you manage your own texture paths).

One of the two options are required, so Max can properly load the texture assets.
Got it. And one more question :
Network Rendering
You can install Forest on your renderfarm computers using the setup program

What is the setup program? Any specific? Can you recommend some?