Shader Workgroup

Artist workgroup:

If you are using 3rd party shaders or plugins, you should to setup an SI workgroup in your company.

If you have never used a SI Workgroup, open SI, start the Plugin Manager from the file menu, choose the workgroup tab and click "connect to workgroup".

Select the folder you want to use as a workgroup path. Install all addons, shaders and plugins into the workgroup.

Renderfarm Workgroup:

By default RR uses the path is %rrPluginsNoOS%workgroup_%rrExeVersionMajor%, which is resolved to a path inside the RR folder.

To get the exact folder, just take a look into a render log file of an Softimage job.

It looks like this:

S 24| >set "WorkgroupPath=\\fileserver\Share\RR\render_apps\renderer_plugins\softimage\workgroup_2014"

Set a different workgroup path for the rrClients:

You have to change SIs setenv file.

The setenv file for Softimage is [RR]\render_apps\_setenv\win\softimage.bat.

The setenv file contains more information about how you can set seperate workgroup paths for each Softimage version.

In that file you have a switch

goto %rrExeVersionMajor%

that jumps to the XSI version you are using, e.g.


Then it sets the workgroup path Set "WorkgroupPath=

Change the path after Set "WorkgroupPath= to your workgroup path.

An edited setenv can look like this one:

@echo on

Set "XSI_USERHOME=%rrLocalPrefs%%rrExeVersion%"


%rrBin%rrCopy -oo -os -d %rrPrefs%%rrExeVersionMajor% %rrLocalPrefs%%rrExeVersionMajor%

@echo Set Workgroup path:

goto %rrExeVersionMajor%

Set "WorkgroupPath=%rrPluginsNoOS%workgroup_%rrExeVersionMajor%"

goto done


Set "WorkgroupPath=\\Smaug\shader\WG_XSI_2012"

goto done


Set "WorkgroupPath=\\Smaug\shader\WG_XSI_2013"

goto done



Softimage version:

You should always create a new Workgroup for every major XSI version (one for XSI 7.x, one for XSI 2010...)

    A lot of plugins are written for one version only. E.g. Custom renderer or even mental Ray shaders.

    You cannot install both versions in one workgroup.

    Even if the old version of the plugin can be loaded by an newer XSI version, they can be instable. (I know that at least from my MRay shaders, at some point that can crash)

    A workgroup increases with the years. You often have plugins/scripts installed that you do not need any more in the new version of XSI.

    A new workgroup is the best way to clean the workgroup. 

Linux, Windows:

You can use the same workgroup for Linux and Windows. Windows uses .dll, Linux .so files. Scripts should run on both platforms.

32bit, 64bit:

You can use the same workgroup for different bit versions.

Shaders are always installed in seperate \x86 and \x86-64 folders.

Plugins should be in the folders:





Multiple Workgroups:

If you want to set multipe workgroups, please define them in one line, seperated by an ;


Set "WorkgroupPath=\\server\share\workgroupAAA_%rrExeVersionMajor%;\\server\share\XSI\workgroupBBB_%rrExeVersionMajor%"

Different Workgroups per scene:

  • rrEnv files per Company Project
    Define a path to the rrEnv file based on the company project root folder.
    Either set this path by default for all jobs via the rrSubmitter file (then you can use it for other apps beside Softimage as well) or 
    edit the submission script and set it as xml parameter <rrEnvFile>.
    See Render Environment as well.
  • <CustomWG>:

      If you submit from inside XSI via the RR plugin, then you can change that plugin.

      Add a new parameter to the XML export <CustomWG> Set your workgroup in there.

      Then change the render config files, e.g. \render_apps\_config\3D01__Softimage__2011.cfg

      After <SetEnvSoft> add a line

      CommandLine_Win=Set "WorkgroupPath=<CustomWG>"

      or for Linux:

      CommandLine_Lx=setenv WorkgroupPath "<CustomWG>"

  • Project/Scene based path

      If your workgroups are project-based, then they are probably always in the same folder?

      So you can set them via \\Fileserver\Share\Projects\%rrJobProject%\MyWorkgroup

      Or relative to the scene file/database <Database><../><../><../>MyWorkgroup

3rd Party Shaders / Plugins

There are three locations to install plugins/shaders in Softimage:


    The files are installed on the local harddrive. In your SI installation. No matter which user starts SI, he will have the shaders.


    The files are installed in the local user home folder. On Windows usually C:\Users\....

    If you login with a different user, you have nothing installed. (So if the rrClient runs as different user in the background, it will not find any shader)


    The files are installed in a network path. Every user that has configured SI to connect to this workgroup will have all shaders/plugins.

    If one user adds a shader, all users on all machines will get the new shader immidiately.

    For a render farm, you should use a workgroup as it is easier to maintain. 

Other Preferences

Usually it should not be required to set other XSI preferences.RUsally all prefs are saved in the scene (e.g. frame rate, gamma is usally checked in the pass, resolution is set in the scene render prefs...).

But in the rare event that you require a preference, which is not saved in the scene,

this is the description how you can apply your prefs.

In such an case, you have to edit/create the XSI preference file.

RR has setup a sample preference file:


To create your own, please follow these steps.

1. Create a folder like the one above but with the right version and OS.

You can check the render log of a test render job to find the right version and OS. See line 16 "rrExeVersion" and line 46 "rrPrefs"

2. Start your XSI and setup the prefs like you want to have it.

3. Open the plugin manager and check the path of your user root (right-click, "Explore").

4. Copy the default.xsipref from your user preferences into the RR folder.

5. Replace the line data_management.workgroup_appl_path in your preference file with the one in the sample file.

Enable the preference copy:

Edit the render config files for Softimage.

Replace the line

<rrBin>rrCopy -oa <rrPrefs>default.xsipref "%XSI_USERHOME%\Data\Preferences\default.xsipref"


<rrBin>rrCopy -oo -os -d <rrPrefs><rrExeVersion> "%XSI_USERHOME%"

and the line

<rrBin>rrCopy -oa <rrPrefs>default.xsipref "${XSI_USERHOME}\Data\Preferences\default.xsipref"


<rrBin>rrCopy -oo -os -d <rrPrefs><rrExeVersion> "${XSI_USERHOME}"


via Plugin


You have to run the rrWorkstationInstaller install the submission plugin.

In XSI, you have a new menu entry in the render menu.

Workgroup installation:

Instead of installing the plugin on every machine, just install it once on any machine.

Then move the plugin from your XSI folder [C:\Softimage]\Application\plugins\rrSubmit_Softimage_6.0+.js to[YourWorkgroup]\Application\plugins\rrSubmit_Softimage_6.0+..

To stop the the rrWorkstationInstaller from installing the XSI plugins any more to the local C:\ drive, remove the file <i>[RR]\render_apps\_submitplugins\rrSubmit_Softimage_6.0+.js; 

via Plugin - Types

There are multiple types of submission:

Submit Scene...

Default Submission

Submit Scene - Select Camera...

You can specify which pass you want to render with which camera. And even submit one pass with multiple cameras

The plugin collects all paths to your textures and model files used.Then it tells the client to locally cache these texture files.

Submit Scene - Local Textures

Then it tells the client to locally cache these texture files.

See Local Texture Copies.

Note: This implementation is an example how to use Local Texture Copies. It has some limitations, for example it does not replace textures inside your model (as it is not possible for the rrClient to edit .emdl files, but it copies the textures nevertheless). 

via Submitter

If you want to submit without any UI, then you have to start the rrSubmitter manually.

Load the .scntoc file (not the .scn file!) into the Submitter.


You can load multiple .scntoc at once.



You have to enable .scntoc files in your Softimage preferences if you want to use:

      Standalone Submission:

  • If you submit without the Softimage plugin, then the rrSubmitter reads all scene information from the .scntoc file

      Cross-platform rendering:

  • If you have created a scene on Windows and want to render it on Linux (or vice versa), then the texture conversion is done via the .scntoc file.