V-Ray Swarm: the next step of Distributed Rendering.

V-Ray Labs 2017-01-25 11:55 tutorial  > V-Ray  > rendering

Easy way to use your local network for V-Ray rendering.

This article appeared first on Chaos Group Laboratories Blog and is published with the permission of Chaos Group.

V-Ray Swarm is new to V-Ray for Revit, V-Ray for Rhino, and V-Ray for SketchUp. You can use all processing power (CPU or GPU) of your computers with a slider. You can also monitor Swarm through a web interface. V-Ray Swarm will speed up workflow of progressive rendering and final frame rendering.

Rendering on more than one machine

Distributed rendering has been a part of V-Ray since the beginning. The general idea is that renderings can be broken up into many little tasks. Render engines like V-Ray take advantage of this by distributing those tasks among the many cores (GPU or CPU) on your computer. The simplest way is by rendering small portions of the image (buckets). As each bucket is done, it moves on to the next one that is not being worked on by another core. Distributed rendering takes it a step further and adds more cores by talking to other computers on the network. Through the local network, it gets all the data that it needs to render a bucket, calculates it, sends it back, and moves on to the next task.

Older implementation

In order to use DR, V-Ray had to be installed on every machine that you needed to render on. Then you would have to launch a Spawner program that would listen over the network if it had any tasks to do.

Then from the computer you are launching DR you need to know the network address (usually the IP) of every computer you want to use. Additionally, you would need to know the port used for DR. When going to render, you would need to select which computers you want to use, and then render.

Some of the limitations of this old system is that you had to know the port and all the addresses of the DR machines. Additionally, you would have to know how much power each DR machine had and if it was up to the task at hand. You also needed to make sure that every DR machine was using the exact same version of V-Ray.

V-Ray Swarm - an evolution of distributed rendering

  • Swarm machines automatically find each other over the network so you no longer need to know the address of each computer.
  • Using a peer-to-peer network, it automatically selects which computer will be the master node that controls and manages the entire Swarm.
  • The user interface is very simple. The user is presented with a slider that depicts the total amount of compute power available to him or her to do the rendering. By moving that slider to the right, Swarm dynamically adds more compute power. Sliding it to the left releases power.
  • Swarm is constantly monitoring the state of the computer to make sure that V-Ray is active and ready. If not, it will automatically restart it. This feature also existed in the old DR system but has been made more robust in Swarm.
  • Swarm profiles every machine to know what resources each one has to make sure that it has enough available for the task at hand. This means that if a computer is not big enough or busy with a resource heavy task, it will not be part of the swarm.
  • The machine launching the render makes sure every other machine is rendering the same version. Each machine checks to see if their version coincides with the host machine. If it does not, then the host machine runs the correct version remotely on the Swarm machine.
  • Using a simple web interface, groups of machines can be tagged for different things. In doing so, when launching a job on the Swarm, you can use the tags to only use certain machines. For example, you may only want to tag machines that are faster than others. Or you may want to make a group of machines that are reserved for a certain job and tag them as such.


You can now use every computer resource of your local network. Swarm can manage resources, so the users on the Swarm machines will generally not even be aware that their computers are being used for rendering.

Limitations: Swarm uses LAN, it's not suited for WAN network. Swarm needs to operate on the same subnet.

Author: V-Ray Labs Editor: Michał Franczak
Tags: v-ray
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Hesham Elshipli10:19:06  |  15-02-2017
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