What is a Scout Job?
Scout Jobs are a spot-checking mechanism that help to reduce cost and wasted compute cycles. Scout Jobs allow the user to conveniently "sample" a small subset of their frame range before committing to rendering its entirety. Scout Jobs don't actually "do" anything different from normal jobs, however they make it very convenient to test a small portion of a job, and if satisfied with the result, continue rendering the rest of it.
When should I use a Scout Job?
Scout Jobs are generally a good idea if you:
- Have never rendered your entire scene file before
- Are doing technical or visual tests
Generally, Scout Jobs are never a "bad" idea. They simply provide a "checkpoint" that restricts how much of the job you want to render before having to approve the rest (via human intervention). However, you may not want to use scout jobs if you are against a tight deadline and are certain of the results of rendering the entire frame range.
How do I use Scout Frames?
Scout Frames can be enabled by checking the "Scout Job" check box.
With the check box on, when the user presses the "Submit Job" button, a dialog box will prompt them to specify which frames they would like to designate as Scout Frames. By default, the first, middle, and last frames will be pre-populated (as this gives a good general "overview" of the job).
More complex ranges can be dictated, just like in the "Custom" Frame Range field in the main Submitter Window.
Here are some examples:
- 1-5 # frames 1 through 5 (1,2,3,4,5)
- 1-10x2 # frames 1 through 5, with a step of 2 (1,3,5,7,9)
- 1, 2, 3-10x2 # frames 1, 2, and 3 through 5 with a step of 2 (1,2,3,5,7,9)
Once the job has been submitted, only those designated Scout frames will be placed onto a "pending" state (making them eligible for rendering). The other frames will be listed as "holding" and will not render. This gives the user the opportunity to inspect the results of the scout frames before opting to render the rest of them.
Once the scout frames are finished, the remaining frames can be told to begin by right-clicking on them and choosing "Un-Hold".
This will change the state of the frames from "holding" to "pending", allowing them to begin rendering.