Forge Your Own Path: Path Mapping Part 2
Version: Deadline 8.0
So you've read our previous article on Path Mapping (if you haven't I highly recommend it before diving into this one, as this knowledge is assumed) and have a grasp of the Path Mapping basics. You might be wondering, is there anymore that Path Mapping can offer me? The answer is of course yes!
In this article we'll be looking at using Path Mapping to map the location of your assets in plugins, using regular expressions with Path Mapping, and using Path Mapping with Regions. Path Mapping is already a powerful feature of Deadline and with asset location mapping, regular expressions, and Regions it can make your cross platform rendering even more simple and convenient.
ASSET PATH MAPPING
Say the VFX studio Super Sweet Studio located in Winnipeg wants to make use of cross platform rendering, however they want all of their assets stored in a central location on a Windows file server and all of their render machines use Linux. Fortunately some of Deadline's more popular plugins allow you to map scene asset paths!
While most of Deadline's plugins support pathing mapping in some shape or form, only some support mapping of the assets. If you're curious if your favourite software supports Path Mapping of assets you can check here to see if one of the highlighted features is Path Mapping Of Scene File Contents.
In addition to this some plugins even give you the option to turn Path Mapping of assets on and off:
For these plugins, Path Mapping requires making a local copy of the scene file with the updated paths, and creating a local copy sometimes doesn't work for some pipelines. If that's the case, you can turn it off. All you have to do is go to Configure Plugins under the Tools menu. Make sure Super User Mode is on!
FUN WITH REGULAR EXPRESSIONS
After consulting the list above, Super Sweet Studio finds that their favourite software supports asset mapping. Now the issue is that they have six Windows file systems storing all of their assets, fs-01, fs-02, fs-03, fs-04, fs-05, and fs-06. However their Linux render machines each only mounts one of those file servers. They could create a new path map for each file server pointing to the mount location on the Linux machine, but this will lead to a rather cluttered screen, it'll take a while, and every time they add a new file system they'll also need to remember to create a new Path Mapping!
Luckily Deadline Path Mapping allows you to utilize the power of regular expressions. Instead of creating a Path Mapping for each of the file systems they could just do it all in one. In the replace path field just put in your regular expression, make sure to check Use Regular Expressions and you're good to go!
IT'S A REGIONAL THING
Let's take the previous example even further. Suppose in Super Sweet Studio Winnipeg, it's fine to have each Linux render machine only mount one of the file systems. But in Super Sweet Studio Vancouver each of their render machines need access to every file system. But we've already set up our Path Mappings for the file systems!
Have no fear as Deadline Path Mappings allows you to have different Path Mappings for each Region in your farm! All you have to do is select the Region you want the Path Mapping to be in from the Region drop down menu.
If you want to create a global Path Mapping, it's as easy as setting the Region to all. Every Path Mapping with a specific Region will be applied before the ones in the all Region, and the ones in the none Region will always use the all Region. Also note that if you set a mapping to the unrecognized Region it'll only apply to Regions that are unrecognized.
See the Cross Platform Rendering documentation for more information about Regions.
That concludes our Path Mapping adventure! Hopefully after this you have a deeper understanding of how Path Mapping works, and you can always refer to the Path Mapping documentation for more information. These features make a powerful feature of Deadline even more powerful and will greatly improve your cross platform rendering life and Super Sweet Studios can get back to doing the fun stuff!