Autodesk Backburner Render Manager
Autodesk is the publisher of several computer-aided design suites, including AutoCAD, Smoke and Maya.
Used by animators, architects and designers, these packages harness the power of computer processors to make filling-in renders and even putting animations into motion much easier. These designer-friendly shortcuts, however, can be taxing on computer processors. Like an operating system’s task manager, Backburner lets you send these processor-draining tasks to other computers on a network, letting you focus on your design without unexpected freezing, or the grinding sound of an overburdened computer to distract you.
What is Backburner?
Backburner is a queue manager for assigning and administrating tasks to run in the background of your computer, or on other computers connected through a network.
The application is especially useful for tasks like grading, composites and animation scenes that require little user input but use up considerable processing power. Think of it as an electronic office manager to delegate the dirty work. Backburner comes bundled with several Autodesk programs or can be downloaded separately from the Autodesk website and configured to work with Autodesk design suites including Flint, Flame, Inferno, Cleaner, Smoke, Flare, Burn, Maya and 3ds Max.
Before installing Backburner on your network, make sure you set the program as a firewall exception and that all of the necessary ports are open. Backburner and the accompanying Autodesk programs you wish to use over the network must all be stored in the same folder location on each network computer.
In addition, the project must be stored in a network location accessible to, and writable for, all computers in the network. For a single computer, Backburner can also be installed along with an Autodesk program to schedule background processing tasks when the computer processor is not in use.
Backburner is compatible with Windows, Mac and Linux, but all computers on a network must use the same operating system. Once you have your network set up, all you have to do is select “Create Backburner Job” from the Render menu and assign a task to a computer on the network (a render node).
The pop-up menu also gives you other options, such as establishing a priority rating for the job or scheduling notifications. If you use multiple Autodesk programs on your network, Backburner can handle tasks from different applications. An animation made in Maya, for instance, can be sent to a render node for brushing-up using Autodesk Cleaner.
The Backburner Manager is the organizational heart of the application. Installed on a single managing computer on the network, the manager receives jobs submitted through an Autodesk program such as Flare or Inferno and assigns them to the network node specified by a managing computer user.
The Backburner Monitor utility cannot assign tasks, but it can be used to view job progress, suspend or restart jobs and perform other administrative tasks from any computer in the network.