[Arnold] [MtoA] Disabling Skip License Check


watermark
If you render a scene that has Skip License Check enabled, you’ll get the Arnold watermark. One way to make sure this doesn’t happen is to turn off Skip License Check from the command line:

render -r arnold -ai:slc off some_scene.mb
kick -set options.skip_license_check off -dp -dw some.ass

You might also want to enable Abort on License Fail (-ai:alf for render, -set options.abort_on_license_fail for kick).

[rlm] The curious case of the missing log entries


In this case, I got a debug log from a customer, but there weren’t any rlm entries in the log. As I’ve mentioned before, the Arnold log can include entries for licensing. At the Warning + Info level, you’ll get [rlm] log entries like these, if something goes wrong:

00:00:10   444MB WARNING | [rlm] could not connect to any license server

or

00:00:00   444MB WARNING | [rlm] wrong license version for arnold 20140305, found licenses for:
00:00:00   444MB WARNING | [rlm] arnold 20140206 (20 licenses)
00:00:00   444MB WARNING | [rlm] arnold 20140206 (20 licenses)
00:00:00   444MB WARNING | [rlm] please contact licensing@solidangle.com

or

00:00:03   749MB WARNING | [rlm] error checking out license for arnold (version 20140113):
00:00:03   749MB WARNING | [rlm]  * Communications error with license server (-17)
00:00:03   749MB WARNING | [rlm]  * Connection refused at server (-111)

And if you move the verbosity level up to Debug, then you’ll get some information about where Arnold is trying to get a license:

00:00:00   444MB         | [rlm] checking connection to license servers ...
00:00:05   444MB         | [rlm]  5055@LICSERVER1 ... DOWN
00:00:10   444MB         | [rlm]  5053@localhost ... DOWN

So why didn’t the customer’s log show any rlm entries? He was getting watermarks, so something must be wrong, right? Well, something was wrong: Skip License Check was enabled in the Render Settings.

No rlm log entries = Skip License Check

[MacOSX] Setting solidangle_LICENSE


There are several ways you can do it.

  • You can use Maya.env to set the solidangle_LICENSE environment variable.

    In your Maya.env file, add this line:

    solidangle_LICENSE=XXXX@SERVER
    

    where XXXX is the port number, and SERVER is the name or IP address of the computer.

    Maya.env is located in your user Library. For example: /Users/steve/Library/Preferences/Autodesk/maya/2014.

    By default, the Library folder is a hidden folder, so you may need to un-hide the Library folder.

  • You can set solidangle_LICENSE as a system environment variable.
    1. Log in with an Administrator account and run this command to open a text editor.
      sudo nano /etc/launchd.conf
      
    2. Add this line to /etc/launchd.conf:
      setenv solidangle_LICENSE XXXX@SERVER
      
    3. Save the file and exit.
    4. Restart the Mac.

If you don’t want to restart your Mac just yet, you can try setting the environment variable like this (it will last until you restart your machine):

launchctl setenv solidangle_LICENSE XXXX@SERVER

[MacOSX] Setting up RLM to always start automatically


If you want the RLM license server to automatically start everytime you restart or turn on your Mac, you need to create a launch daemon. Don’t worry, it’s not as scary as it sounds 🙂

First, you need create a launchd property list (.plist) for RLM. It will look something like this:

<?xml version="1.0" encoding="UTF-8"?>
 <!DOCTYPE plist PUBLIC "-//Apple//DTD PLIST 1.0//EN" "http://www.apple.com/DTDs/PropertyList-1.0.dtd">
 <plist version="1.0">
 <dict>
        <key>Label</key>
        <string>com.solidangle.rlm</string>
        <key>ProgramArguments</key>
        <array>
        <string>/PATH/TO/RLM/rlm</string>
        <string>-c</string> <string>/PATH/TO/RLM/arnold.lic</string>
        <string>-dlog</string> <string>/PATH/TO/RLM/solidangle.dlog</string>
        </array>
        <key>RunAtLoad</key>
        <true/>
 </dict>
 </plist>

This plist file basically tells the system to start rlm with the -c and -dlog flags, like this:

/Users/stblair/solidangle/RLM/rlm -c /Users/stblair/solidangle/RLM/rlm/arnold.lic -dlog /Users/stblair/solidangle/RLM/rlm/solidangle.dlog

The -c flag isn’t necessary if the license file is in the same folder as the RLM binary executable.

Here’s an example com.solidangle.rlm.plist. Download it, and use TextEdit to change the paths to match the RLM location on your computer, and then save the RLM plist file in /Library/LaunchDaemons/. Note that this download plist assumes that the license file is in the same folder, and therefore omits the -c flag.

For example:

sudo cp com.solidangle.rlm.plist /Library/LaunchDaemons

Note: The plist file needs to be owned by root, otherwise you won’t be able to load the plist. If necessary, you can change the owner like this:
sudo chown root /Library/LaunchDaemon/com.solidangle.rlm.plist

Finally, you need to load the plist:

sudo launchctl load -w /Library/LaunchDaemon/com.solidangle.rlm.plist

The license server will now automatically start, even after a restart or power down of the machine.

You can check the license server by opening a Web browser and going to localhost:5054.

[arnold] Getting RLM diagnostics from Arnold


If you want to double-check what license servers Arnold is trying to connect with, set the log verbosity level to the maximum, and you’ll get something like this:

' INFO : [arnold] 00:00:00  438mb   [rlm] checking connection to license servers ...
' INFO : [arnold] 00:00:05  438mb   [rlm]  5053@STEPHEN-PC ... DOWN
' INFO : [arnold] 00:00:05  438mb   [rlm]  5053@SOLIDANGLE-PC ... UP
' INFO : [arnold] 00:00:05  438mb   [rlm] found 1 license servers
' INFO : [arnold] 00:00:15  438mb   [rlm] checkout of arnold (version 400) from SOLIDANGLE-PC OK
' INFO : [arnold] 00:00:15  438mb   [rlm] expiration date: 31-dec-2013 (190 days left)
  • In Softimage, set the Verbosity to Debug.
  • In Maya, set the Verbosity Level to 6.
  • On the kick command line, specify -v 6.

[SItoA] Unlimited batch rendering with xsibatch -processing


Hat tip: Andy Jones on the Softimage mailing list

You can use xsibatch -processing to render scenes with Arnold. With -processing, xsibatch uses a Processing token instead of a Batch license, so you’re not limited by the number of Batch licenses you happen to have. Back in the days before third-party renderers, -processing for was for non-rendering tasks. Now it’s for non-mental ray tasks!

I was sure I tested this long ago, but obviously I must have made a mistake on my command line.


 xsibatch -processing -render //server/project/Scenes/example.scn

=======================================================
 Autodesk Softimage 11.1.57.0
=======================================================

License information: using [Processing]
# INFO : [sitoa] SItoA 2.7.1 win loaded.
# INFO : [sitoa] Arnold 4.0.12.1 detected.
 

Here’s actual proof in the form of a screenshot 🙂

xsibatch_processing_render

[SItoA] Doing a license check in Softimage


Setting up the environment right is what often goes wrong. Running kick -licensecheck from inside Softimage is a quick way to check that you set up the environment variables correctly.

Here’s two lines of Python that will open a command prompt and run kick -licensecheck (on Windows).

#Python
from subprocess import Popen
Popen(["cmd", "/K", XSIUtils.BuildPath( Application.Plugins('Arnold Render').OriginPath, 'kick.exe' ), "-licensecheck"])

Here’s the same thing, but broken down a bit for legibility:

#Python
si = Application

p = si.Plugins('Arnold Render')
sKick = XSIUtils.BuildPath( p.OriginPath, 'kick.exe' )

from subprocess import Popen
Popen(["cmd", "/K", sKick, "-licensecheck"])

[MtoA] Doing a license check in Maya


If you’re doing technical support like me, you gotta love things like kick -licensecheck. I wish we’d had something like this at Softimage. This license check will tell you:

  • Whether you can connect to a license server
  • What licenses are available
  • What are the licensing environment variable settings

licensecheck

In this example, I’m running Maya and the license server on the same computer. That’s why none of the environment variables are set, but the licensecheck still shows that there’s a license available. By default, Arnold will connect to 5053@localhost to get a license.

The case of the license server that wasn’t releasing licenses


In this case, a customer reported that the license server wasn’t releasing licenses when a render node crashed.

Why did this happen? Because the customer had an older version of the license server that didn’t have a license TIMEOUT.

Since early 2012, the Solid Angle license server ships with a default TIMEOUT of 120 seconds. That means if a workstation stops sending heartbeats to the license server, then after two minutes the license server takes back the license. So, for example, if a workstation crashes or disconnects from the network, then the license server will take back the license after a couple of minutes.

The TIMEOUT is specified in a solidangle.opt file located in the RLM folder, along with rlm.exe and solidangle.set. Newer versions of the Solid Angle license server ship with this options file, but if you don’t have it, you can either upgrade your RLM or create the file yourself. Here’s what it should look like:

TIMEOUT 120 arnold

You’ll need to restart the server to read the new options.

What are heartbeats? Heartbeats are messages sent from a licensed application to the license server while the application has one or more licenses checked out from the server. You can see them with Process Monitor. In this screenshot, you can see that XSI.exe is sending a heartbeat every one minute to the license server.
heartbeats

If you need to free a checked out license, you can “remove” it (that’s RLM-speak for taking back a checked out license).

To remove a license in rlm admin (localhost:5054):

  • Click Status.
    Status
  • Under Server Status, click solidangle.
    ServerStatus
  • Under Show License Usage, click Usage.
    ShowLicenseUsage
  • Click Remove.
    LicenseUsage-Remove