You’re excited, you’re ready, and you might be in a hurry, but you want to start using Pixel Plow right now!  We get it, and we’re happy to have you as a customer.  We want your first, and every, render job to go smoothly.  To that end, please review this checklist before you submit your first render job.  Click on any item for more information on the topic.

Pixel Plow is running the software I need

This might seem silly, but hopefully you checked this prior to signing up. Our deployed software is listed in pages in our Support Portal, categorized by the base render application. Simply type the application name and “version” in the search bar to find the listing (eg. “Cinema 4D version”, “Maya version”, “Maxwell version”…). We need to have the render application, render engine, and any plugins your scene file needs in order for the renders to work as you expect. It’s also important to pay attention to versions of all of the listed applications, which is why we report the version numbers we have deployed everywhere possible.

I have downloaded the Pixel Plow agent, and it is running on my computer

If you have problems with getting the agent installed, agent to farm communication, or other issues, we have several articles in our Support Portal to help. Searching for the error text or just “agent” in the search bar should get you quite close to what you need to see.

I am submitting a small and/or simple job as my first test

While it’s certainly possible for you to load all barrels and pull the trigger, it’s often very constructive for first-time users to send a very simple scene file through the farm to get the feel for what is necessary and how Pixel Plow works. Since we only charge for compute time used, those test scenes usually cost well under a US dollar to render. Trust us, it’s well worth it for you to have a mild amount of experience before you ask our system to handle something large or complex.

I have prepared my scene file and assets prior to submitting my render job

This is the most often skipped/ignored/overlooked step, yet it is quite possibly the most critical step necessary for a successful render. Scene file prep directions are in the Support Portal, sorted by base render application. Typing in the render application name and “job overview” will get you to the right page (eg. “Cinema 4D job overview”, “Maya job overview”, “Maxwell job overview”…). With quite rare exceptions, these directions must be followed in order for the render applications here to have access and pointers to the files your scene file needs.

I have rendered at least one frame from my scene file to know that a completed render is possible

You may be surprised to know how many people submit render jobs to our farm that they themselves have never completed a render of any frame. Starting a render is not adequate. A render must be completed on your machine so you have a ballpark idea of how long it will take for the first frames to complete on the farm. This is also necessary to know that the render application and engine that you use is capable of completing a frame render.

I submitted my first job at low Power and am now waiting for the first results

In case you’ve already read how our Power slider works, you’ll know that low Power simply restricts the number of nodes working on your scene file. It doesn’t change how fast those nodes run or what type of nodes are scheduled. Hence, your test job should be submitted at low Power to avoid unexpected financial impact by a mis-configured scene file or other error situation. Once the job is rendering, please stick around and wait for the first frame(s) to complete. The Pixel Plow agent downloads these files as they complete, so look in the output folder you selected when you submitted the job for those files. Walking away from your computer after submission is not recommended for your first job run.

I will make use of the Pixel Plow agent features before and during the render

If the delivered results aren’t what you initially expect, then it would be wise to put your render job on Hold. That will give you time to use the “Show Logs” button in the job status window to review the log files that are created by the render application you’ve selected for the job. Those log files will often point to the source of the problem, but they won’t be available if you cancel the job. If you feel it’s necessary to cancel the job, you are certainly free to do so. Just be aware that all job data will be purged from our system when jobs are cancelled. Another feature you should strongly consider using on your first job is the Budget feature. It can’t hurt to have automatic suspension of a job when it exceeds your budget, after all.


While this list is not comprehensive, it does contain the majority of the proper actions to take when you start to use Pixel Plow.  We have loads of information in our Support Portal about how our service works.  There are several walk-through videos as well, demonstrating agent functionality.  They’re in our Vimeo channel as well as embedded in pages in the Support Portal.

We hope this checklist is helpful as you begin to use Pixel Plow.  If you feel there is something substantial that is missing from the list, please let us know.