ThinkBox Deadline was used by Pixomondo in the production of Game of Thrones.
By Syama Mishra, 3D/VFX Lead Engineer
While many studios use the Deadline render manager (and many other software packages) using only the functions immediately available as they came out of the box from hitting "next" on the installer before getting on with the day to day nitty gritty of media creation, it always pays to spend a little time customising it. Rather than simply discussing the concept this listicle aims to demonstrate some very simple real world examples of customisations for a common 3ds Max/V-Ray/Deadline rendering pipeline and invites you to ponder deeper customisations that can make your pipeline shine. Let's get into it.
5 Easy Deadline Render Manager customisations
1: Deadline notifications
Deadline monitors a huge number of events, most of which can be used to trigger custom processes– however the simplest to use built-in event system that needs some minor attention before it springs to life is notifications.
Point deadline towards your email account with working credentials and you’ll no longer need to watch the job queue to find out how things went.
Users can then turn on the “Send Email Notifications” option and control what notification types they wish to receive.
2: Deadline Web Service
Out of the office and need to check out how the render queue is going? Deadline Web Services are what you’re looking for. Once configured and with the appropriate changes to your internet firewall you can spin up an instance to be able to use a web browser or the Deadline Mobile App from anywhere.
3: Custom job info column names
By default Deadline uses generic names for the Job Extra Info fields, which you can use as is however you like.
While functional like this a little bit of time spent renaming them can dramatically improve their clarity and usage.
These fields are also accessible via Deadline’s extensive scripting system for automation.
4: Deadline customised job submission names
Out of the box Deadline job submissions tend to just be your scene filename, which is functional, however a simple customisation to your Deadline workflow could be adding additional useful information via dynamic elements such as the date, version, or the current deadline/OS username.
Defined key variable names can then be used directly in the Deadline “Job Name” field, alongside any other word.
If looking with code overwhelms you then Digistor Professional Services is the easiest way to add these types of customisations to your workflow.
5: Trimming the Deadline Monitor UI
It’s common for users to never see the Deadline Monitor to submit jobs, instead only using the application specific submitters, however there are occasions where manually submitting a job from Deadline Monitor is handy and running into this giant list can be overwhelming.
Thankfully unused options can easily be disabled by customising the script menus.
Beyond simply disabling the unused options could even choose to throw away the whole structure and build your own or add keyboard shortcuts.
Other applications can be customised too:
If you find yourself performing task repeatedly it’s worth considering automation via custom functions and organising common or custom actions into custom menu rather than having to keep track of a bunch of messy scripts.
I hope this list of simple customisations inspires you to think about making software your own. If any of these ideas piqued your interest or you would like to Digistor’s professional service team to implement your own deeper customisations or pipeline design then please reach out to your Digistor account manager.