Blender Institute releases Attract and Flamenco
Blender Institute has released Attract and Flamenco, the production tracking and render management tools used on its recent open movie projects, including its most recent short, Agent 327: Operation Barbershop.
The tools, which are still officially in beta, are available to Blender Cloud subscribers, and Flamenco is also available as a free download.
Attract: asset and production tracking integrated with Blender
Attract, shown above, is a production tracking system integrated with Blender Cloud and Blender itself.
As well as tracking assets – version control is handled by integration with Subversion – it tracks tasks and shots on a project.
Tasks come with standard options to assign a user and deadline and append comments, and task types are customisable on a per-project basis.
The shot display shows the status of any linked tasks, plus overall status, the time of the last update, and the position of the shot within the edit inside Blender’s video editor.
There is also an Attract properties panel within Blender itself, which can be used to rename or update the status of a shot selected in the timeline, or to render a thumbnail to display inside Attract.
Flamenco: a render management infrastructure for Blender
Flamenco (above) is an open-source render manager for Blender’s Cycles renderer.
Described as an “infrastructure” rather than an application, Flamenco consists of three components: the client application, which runs in-browser, or inside Blender; the server; and groups of workers.
The client app submits render jobs to the server – it’s part of Blender Cloud, although you can also host the component yourself – which distributes them to the workers: the render nodes themselves.
Workers can consist of local machines or cloud instances – Flamenco works with standard cloud platforms like Amazon Web Sevices and Microsoft Azure – each grouped under a single manager machine.
Submit Cycles render jobs to a farm from directly within Blender
Jobs can be submitted from a dedicated panel inside Blender, which comes with options to set frame range, and even the number of frames assigned to each worker, plus relative job priority.
As well as standard renders, there’s an interesting Progressive Render preset, which divides render samples between individual workers, then combines their output to generate the final frames.
There is also a browser-based overview which shows the status of current and archived render jobs, including their output paths and detailed logs.
Pricing and availability
Attract is available as part of Blender Cloud. Subscriptions cost $9.90/month.
Flamenco is available for Windows, Linux and macOS. The software is available under an open-source GPL 2.0 licence, but to use the version of the server inside Blender Cloud, you’ll need a cloud subscription.