Thinkbox Software Previews Deadline 7 at SIGGRAPH 2014 with Built-in VMX for Comprehensive Cloud Support

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SIGGRAPH, Booth 609 – At the SIGGRAPH Conference held August 10-14, 2014 in Vancouver, BC, Thinkbox Software will demonstrate Deadline7, the latest version of the company’s scalable high-volume compute management solution, which is currently in beta. Further extending the functionality of the cross-platform tool, Deadline 7 features significant architectural changes and core technology upgrades, which include a new Qt interface, an updated MongoDB database, ftrack support, and deeper integration with Shotgun. 

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Additionally, Deadline 7 is now optimized for more flexible cloud interaction through built-in VMX (Virtual Machine Extension) capabilities that allow users to leverage private and public clouds, and introduces Draft 1.2. The latest iteration of Thinkbox's lightweight compositing and video processing plug-in designed to automate typical post-render tasks, Draft 1.2 adds support for OpenColorIO, ASC CDL LUT and Unicode as well as licensing improvements. 

“Because Deadline is so flexible and scalable, we are now able to utilize every idle CPU across the campus. Setup and pipeline integration was a walk in the park, and we couldn’t be happier. Our render farm has not only grown considerably with the help of Deadline, but it’s never been more stable either, which makes us wonder how we ever managed without,” said Deadline 7 beta tester Daniel Skovli, studio coordinator, Deakin University.

“With the enhanced cloud functionality of Deadline, we’ve made render resources elastic. Whether studios leverage local machines, cloud resources or a combination of the two, Deadline makes it easy to scale up with a unified farm to efficiently handle the production peaks. Not only can facilities fully tap into the power they already have but they can also seamlessly supplement farms for as long as needed,” said Chris Bond, founder, Thinkbox Software. 

Along with the upgraded features in Deadline 7, Thinkbox will also be showcasing deeper integration with Shotgun Software’s production management solution in the Shotgun booth (#741). With out-of-the-box support, Deadline 7 greatly simplifies the process of uploading review material to Shotgun, without having to create a Draft template script or write custom Python coding. 

Key features of Deadline 7 include:

-- VMX Integration – With Virtual Machine Extension built in and pluggable cloud support, Deadline 7 can interact with private and public cloud solutions out-of-the-box, including Amazon EC2, Microsoft Azure, Google GCE, and OpenStack, among others. 

-- Flexible Deployment – Multiple cloud solutions can be used simultaneously, along with classic non-cloud rendernode and workstation rendering.

-- Expanded “Jigsaw” Multi-Region Rendering – Support for Thinkbox’s “Jigsaw” feature has been added for Autodesk® Maya®, The Foundry’s MODO and McNeel’s Rhino. The advanced workflow in Deadline enables users to define any number of arbitrarily-sized regions to render or update an existing frame or sequence in a fraction of the time by splitting the work between multiple render nodes. 

-- Upgraded Database – Using MongoDB version 2.6, Deadline 7 leverages the database’s new timestamp feature to reduce the number of write operations performed during regular operation. Sharding is now supported to allow horizontal scaling and the Replica Set name can be specified when configuring database settings, instead of having to label each machine individually. 

-- Enhanced UI – To optimize user interaction, Thinkbox has updated Qt and PyQt libraries to version 5, and deployed a new Fusion base theme that scales better at larger resolutions while providing more color contrast. Deadline also now includes customizable color palettes and fonts for applications and default layouts for panels in the monitor, as well as comprehensive job progress bars in the Monitor.

-- Job Dependencies Updates – Users can now test dependencies through the “Job Dependency View” in the Monitor and view the results shown in dependency nodes. Job, Asset and Script dependencies are now available on the same page in “Job Properties,” and overrides and notes can be set for individual dependencies. 

-- Streamlined Pool and Group Management – The Slave list in the pool and group management dialogs now supports filtering for all available columns. Right clicking on Slaves listed in the Monitor easily modifies the pools or groups for the selected Slaves.

-- Slave Scheduling and Idle Detection – Deadline can schedule Slaves to start and stop based on the time of day, when the machine becomes idle, or both. It can also check the machine’s current CPU and RAM usage, or if any specific processes are running, before launching the Slave. Finally, it can stop the Slave when the machine is back in use, which ensures that all available compute resources are more easily accessed and used.

-- Local Slave Controls – Artists can see the states of Slaves running on their machines, as well as control the Slaves. They can also configure which jobs their local Slaves will pick up (all jobs, just jobs submitting from their machines, or jobs submitted by specific users), and multiple Slaves on one machine now share a license. 

Currently in development, Deadline 7 is expected to launch later this year. For more information, please call 1-866-419-0283 or visit

About Thinkbox Software

Founded by Chris Bond in 2010, Thinkbox Software develops production-proven tools for visual artists and backs each product with highly responsive support. Used across entertainment, engineering and design, Thinkbox’s products include Deadline®high-volume data management software used to render or process files and several other artist-driven software tools to create, visualize and modify datasets for visual effects, animation and digital simulations. For more information, visit or follow @thinkboxsoft on Twitter.

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