Chapter 3: Batch Processing

The Toon Boom Harmony system uses batch processing to either convert scanned drawings to a vector-based format or to render the final animation. The system performs these tasks in the background; you won't even realize the system is performing the tasks.

There are two types of batch processes in Harmony. Both types of batch processes can run on almost any computer on the network:

Vectorize: This process prepares the images scanned on the black and white scanner for painting by converting them to vector based files (*.tvg files). The vectorizing process converts the drawings from a bitmap format to a digital line-based format.

Vectorizing prepares images for painting by creating paint files. You would only have to manually send scenes to be vectorized in special cases such as:

Processing images that were not scanned in the Scan module
Reprocessing a scene due to unrecoverable painter errors
Completing the vectorization after you run the scene through a pencil test

You can open the Vectorize Queue in the Control Center module for the list of vectorizing work waiting to be processed by a Vectorizing machine.

Render (also known as Compositing): This process composites scenes, creating the final frames.

When you have finished working on a scene or all of your animated sequences, you can render it out locally or send it to the Render Queue. After you render your animation, you can transfer the scenes to video or film.

You can open the Render Queue in the Control Center module for the list of compositing work waiting to be processed by a rendering machine.

When you create a new environment for a project, you must setup the batch processing. You can create a particular batch processing schedule and assign certain machines on your Harmony network to render and vectorize the scenes in that Environment.

You must set up batch processing on selected Harmony machines to convert scanned drawings to vector files and to composite final frames.

We do not recommend rendering/vectorizing on the workstation while you are working in the software. These tasks are resource intensive and will slow your computer down if you are trying to work in the software at the same time. If urgently needed on a continual basis, set up a separate render station to do this. Otherwise, batch processing should be done while the workstation is inactive.

With Harmony batch processing, you can spread the workload across multiple computers on the network, creating a render farm.

To create a render farm, you have to identify all of the computers that will be processing Harmony files and you have to start the batch processing queues. Then, you have to set up all Environments you add to the database for batch processing.

Once you have set up batch processing, you can send your drawings to be vectorized and send the scenes to be rendered. This chapter also explains how to view the vectorize and render queue to check on how the batch processing is progressing.

Topics Covered 

Installing Batch Processing and Configuring the machine-list File (Windows)
Creating the machine-list File (Linux)
Installing Batch Processing and Configuring the machine-list File (Mac OS X)
The tbprocess Program
Setting Up Default Schedules
Testing Batch Processing
Advanced Batch Processing
Vectorizing Scenes or Elements
Rendering Your Scenes
Stopping a Process