Billing Questions

Q. Where can I view my bill?

A. Zync billing can be seen in the main billing section of your Google Developers Console. It can take up to 24 hours for Zync usage to appear in your Billing section after usage; however, we are working to reduce this delay.

Q. How do I convert my account from free trial to a paid account?

A. Follow standard procedure to upgrade your Google Cloud account to a paid account. Then follow the Zync Project Setup doc to ensure your project is configured correctly for use with Zync.

See the walkthrough video "Upgrade Free Trial to Paid Account".

Q. When I try to log into Zync I get "your site is currently disabled". Why?

A. Your Zync site may have been disabled due to improper billing setup. Follow the steps outlined in Cloud Project Setup Doc. The account should be enabled automatically within minutes. All data will be preserved while this is happening.

Note also that deleting your Google Cloud Project will also disable your Zync site. A project that has been marked for deletion may be restored by following the steps outlined here. Once the project is restored, verify that Billing, and APIs are enabled by following the steps for Cloud Project Setup. If a project has been sitting in the pending delete state for more than 7-days, deletion is no longer reversible.

Please note that even with the $300 free trial credit you receive by signing up for Zync/Google Cloud Platform, you will be unable to start rendering without enabling billing on your credit card (but note you will not be actually charged).

Q. How do the free trial credits work?

A. The free trial credits are added to your account as soon as you create a Google Cloud Project. They last for up to 12 months, or until the credits have been spent (whichever happens first). When you no longer have credits, in order to continue using Zync, you will need to convert to a paid account. Note that free trial credits are shared across all Cloud Projects and don't reset. You can read more about how the GCP free trial works by visiting https://cloud.google.com/free-trial/.

Q. How are service credits handled?

A. Due to the highly complex nature of rendering, before submitting a full job to Zync, please test with a single frame to ensure the render is working properly. Service credits will be given in cases of failed jobs where Zync is the cause of the failure provided you have run a successful test frame prior to launching the full job. Credits (if any) are at the discretion of Google. Google is not obligated to extend a credit to any customer.

Q. I created a new Google Cloud Project. How do I connect it to a Zync site I've already created?

A. There is normally no need to do this; a Google Cloud Project is created automatically for you during Zync registration. However, if you want to switch the Google Cloud Project that your Zync account is connected to, visit the Cloud Project Setup page and follow the directions there to configure a new Google Cloud Project. As the final step you will need to email zync-support@google.com where a Zync engineer can relink your Zync account for you. Please note that each Zync account may only be linked to a single Google Cloud Project at one time; splitting usage between multiple Google Cloud Projects is not currently supported.

Q. How is render time billing counted?

A. Billing time is based on both the time the VM is running for the render and the copy of the files back to GCS to prepare them for download back to your local file server.

Q. I haven't run a render in a while but I'm still getting charged for Zync, why?

A. You are charged for storage until you delete your data. If you no longer need to keep a project's data on Zync, you can delete it from the Projects Tab of the "My Account page" in your Zync web console.

Installation and Setup Questions

Q. I am having problems with the plugin installer, how do I solve this?

A. See Known Issues. If this does not help please contact zync-support@google.com.

Q. How can I configure Zync to use a proxy?

A. Both the Client application as well as Zync plugins support connections through an HTTP proxy. See the answer to the networking setup question.

Q. Where is the Cinema 4D Zync Plug-in?

A. As of the release of the Zync Client app in 2017, version 1.2.5 of the Zync plug-in can be found in the Pipeline menu in C4D.

Project Settings Questions

Q. What networking setup do I have to do in order to use Zync?

A. Your network must allow outgoing traffic on TCP ports 80 and 443, either directly, or through an HTTP proxy. No incoming rules (i.e. port forwarding) are necessary. If your organization requires the use of HTTP proxy, then see the Install & Setup page to learn more about how to configure the Zync Client App and host application plugins to use the proxy. The automatic plugin installer does not currently support the use of proxy, see known issues for a workaround.

Q. I'm finished with a project and want to delete the files from storage, how do I do this?

A. If you have admin privileges you can do this in the "Projects" tab of the "My Account" section in the Zync web console.

Q. I submitted a job with 100 nodes but only 50 are running, why?

A. New accounts start with 50 machines, if you need more please contact zync-support@google.com.

Q. Does Zync have an API?

A. Our Python API is available on GitHub.

Job Questions

Q. My job seems stuck, how can I get it running?

A. View the job activity by first selecting the job, then clicking Job -> View Job Log. This will show you what the job is currently working on. Large jobs may simply be taking a long time.

Individual jobs can be kickstarted by clicking Job -> Cancel Job followed by Job -> Resume Job. Tasks which have already been marked as "done" will not be re-rendered, but other tasks will. Warning: This should only be done under extreme circumstances as it a) causes you to lose progress on any tasks which are mid-render and b) causes the job to repeat its startup phase, including file check (though unchanged files will not need to be reuploaded).

If your job(s) still seem stuck or unresponsive, contact zync-support@google.com.

Q. What shall I do if rendering reports missing files?

A. Zync plugin has a mechanism of automatic detection of assets and dependencies. There are situations though in which some files may not get detected. In such case please use the option Select Extra Files in job submission dialog. Selected files or directories are stored in the config separately per each Zync project. They will be automatically included in the rendering whenever Select Extra Files option is selected.

Q. My job fails with complaints about cache files which cannot be written. How can I fix this?

A. This problem occurs when you have configured the cache files to be placed in a directory which is otherwise not used by the job.

An example of this is Global Illumination cache files in Cinema4D. If a custom location is set for GI cache files, the following warning is printed to the task log, and the render fails:

GI Irradiance Cache File cannot be written - please check output path!
Rendering failed: GI cache missing
C4D Stopped

To fix this, make sure the "Custom location" is unchecked under "Render > Render Settings > Global Illumination > Cache files > File location".

Q. Why isn't my job starting?

A. Make sure you have the Zync client application installed, you are logged in and it's running on the client machine. Remember - a given user should only be logged in exactly one instance of a Zync client app.

Q. I hit the instances limit, how can I make some of my jobs finish first?

A. Zync supports the concept of job priority. You specify it in the Zync plugin during job submission, or you can alter it via web interface by selecting Job -> Change Job Options. The priority is specified as a number in the range <1, 100>, where higher number means more important job.

Q. My job is a Maya scene, why is Zync uploading & rendering a .vrscene/.ass file?

A. For Maya 2016 you are able to submit a job direct with the Maya scene file. For 2015 and earlier Zync currently supports a standalone-only workflow in which a standalone scene of your job is created on your local workstation, then uploaded to Zync and rendered using the standalone version of your renderer (Vray/Arnold).

Q. Can I change the specification (e.g. output directory, etc.) of my job while running?

A. You may adjust the number of nodes assigned to a job, and the job priority. No other changes to the job's specification may by performed while the job is running.

Q. How do I run multiple jobs at once?

A. You may, but you are limited to 50 machines across all jobs.

Q. My Maya job failed during preflight with "# RuntimeError: Plug-in, "Mayatomr", was not found on MAYA_PLUG_IN_PATH.". Why?

A. This is due to Mental Ray data being present in your scene. Mental Ray is not currently supported on Zync. In most cases this is junk data which is not actually used, and the error can be safely ignored: launch your job with the "Ignore Missing Plugin Errors" option selected. WARNING: If the ignored plugins are important to the scene, this could cause errors during render.

Q. My downloads take too long. How to check progress or make them faster?

A. Look into Transfers tab in Client Application to see progress. If the number of files is large - increase max transfers setting and restart the Client Application to ensure settings take effect immediately.

Q. What kind of characters are supported by Zync (Unicode, special chars)?

A. Currently special characters in file paths are not supported in Zync. Especially there is no Unicode support in Zync, neither for scenes nor for assets. Spaces in filepaths are not supported by Houdini jobs: https://www.sidefx.com/docs/houdini/render/expressions

Q. What does Upload only job mean?

A. Jobs marked as Upload only will upload all detected files to the cloud, but skip actual rendering. It's useful when you want to upload your files earlier so later render jobs start faster (Zync doesn't upload the same file twice).

Q. What does "Ignore secondary dependencies" mean?

A. When this option is selected, the plugin will not scan Renderman RIB files for additional assets to be synced to Zync. This can save time when working with large RIB files that have no secondary dependencies.

This option can be useful is you are using binary encoded RIB files, in which case we can't detect dependencies in them, so it's better to skip the scanning and use "Select extra files" option.

Q. Why is Zync using file paths with __colon__ in the name?

A. Windows users may notice that some Zync renders are accessing files with drive letters replaced by __colon__ - for example Z:/path/to/file may appear in logs as /Z__colon__/path/to/file. This is normal and can be ignored; it is related to how Zync handles Windows paths.

Q. I have a Maya scene with animated referenced geometry and it's missing from my downloaded frames. Why does it only appear when rendered on my local machine?

A. When models with animation (i.e. characters) are referenced into your compiled scene, your local Maya session can immediately locate the source of the referenced keyframes. However, like any render farm, Zync render nodes will require animated frames to be sourced directly from the render scene. This can be done if the animation is cached prior to submitting your scene. In order to prepare referenced objects for submission, select all animated models and master nodes and create an alembic cache from them. This cache will need to be present on Zync at the time of render - it should upload on its own with the next submission, but you may use the "Select Extra Files" feature if for any reason it does not upload with the rest of the project folder. After doing this, Zync will upload the cache when you submit the render scene, and the animation will appear in the final render.

Latest version of Zync

Q. My site has been migrated, what does it mean?

A. Your site runs on a new code stack. There's been a major Zync revamp to allow us to keep improving our service. We will be improving our scalability and stability while adding new features.

Q. What are the new features available?

A. Zync now supports C4D with V-Ray standalone renderer. Also 96-core machines are offered.

Q. What are my machine limits?

A. Now the number of machines per job is only bound by site's quota. You can view the quota on the Zync Web Console, in the Instances pane. In order to increase it please contact support at (zync-support@google.com).

Q. Can I request moving to a new version?

A. You can contact our support at (zync-support@google.com) and file a request.

Supported Products Questions

Q. What application/renderer/plugin versions do you support?

A. For a full list of the software running on Zync, see our Supported Software page:


Typically you do not need to be running the exact same software version that runs on Zync. Zync will attempt to locate the closest version match that is still compatible with what you are using in your scene. However Zync publishes its exact software versions so you can match that locally if desired.

For Vray versions that support it, GPU acceleration is supported, for both Maya/Vray and Max/Vray. It will be used if it is enabled in your scene.

Please note that following Cinema 4D features are not supported on Zync:

  • Substance materials
  • Render into movie formats
  • Sound handling

Q. Do you support custom shaders & gizmos?

A. For Maya, Houdini and Nuke, YES, via the "My Account" page of your Zync site, under the "Site Configuration" section. For Cinema 4D and 3ds Max, we do NOT support custom shaders/plugins yet.

For Maya and Arnold Standalone jobs, Arnold custom shaders can be included via the CUSTOM_SHADER_PATH setting.

For Nuke jobs, custom Nuke gizmos and scripts can be included via the NUKE_PLUGIN_PATH setting.

For Houdini jobs, custom shaders can be included via the ENV_ARNOLD_PLUGIN_PATH setting.

When changing these settings, please keep the following in mind:

  • Specify the full path(s) to custom shaders or gizmos on your local machine, separating multiple paths with a semicolon (;).
  • In the case of compiled shaders (.dll, .dylib, .so) ensure you have the Linux version (.so) contained in that folder.
  • The path you place shader files in must not be in a root directory (i.e. the path must have at least two components). For example, use Z:/shaders/bin NOT Z:/shaders.

Q. Do you support OSL shaders in Arnold 5.0?

A. OSL shaders are supported like normal custom shaders but with one limitation. *.osl files need to be compiled to *.oso files before the job is submitted to Zync.

The *.osl files are automatically compiled when you open the scene in Maya, and when you render the scene locally. So in most cases it works the same as other custom shaders. You only need to make sure to re-compile the *.osl files when you make changes after the scene is opened.

Q: Does Zync support integration with Shotgun?

A: Zync does not currently have any built-in integration with Shotgun. However, a developer could do some custom integration by using the Zync Python API. By calling Zync.get_jobs() and/or Zync.get_job_details() one could write a Python script that queries Zync job info, and as jobs finish update some corresponding info in Shotgun using the Shotgun Python API.

Q. What browsers do you support?

A. We support Google Chrome (32.0 or above) and Mozilla Firefox (29.0 or above).

Q. Do you support Vray Proxies?

A. Yes, Vray proxies in your scene will be detected and uploaded at render time along with other file dependencies.

Q. What is the render workflow when submitting a render job from Houdini?

A. There are two workflows of Houdini jobs 1. Standalone: Zync will upload a .hip and convert to either a Mantra (.ifd) or Arnold (.ass) job depending on the renderer you select. This is done during the preflight stage of the render. Once converted, the standalone file will be distributed according to the number of render nodes you have selected. There is a 2h time limit on creation ifd/ass files. 1. Hbatch rendering: Rendering is kicked directly from Houdini to allow you to skip creation of ifd/ass files which is not available in non commercial versions of Houdini.

Q. How can I render UDIMs with Houdini?

A. Right now there is no support for detecting UDIM tokens, but it is possible to add any dependencies, including UDIM textures using select auxiliary files feature in Zync Houdini plugin.

Q. Is Cinema 4D R17 supported?

A. The build Zync is using for rendering is only built upon R18 and therefore that is the only officially supported build. However, R17 backwards compatibility should work in most cases. You may submit R17 jobs on Zync, but for support purposes only R18 is officially supported.

Q. Is Maya's Bifrost supported?

A. Yes, with some caveats based on the operating system and renderer you're using.

  Arnold V-Ray RenderMan
Windows Full support* Full support* Geometry only**
macOS Full support* Geometry only** Geometry only**

* "Full support" includes both caching to geometry as well as implicit surfaces.
** "Geometry only" means that your Bifrost sim must be cached to geometry, either directly in the scene or as an Alembic reference. Implicit surfaces are not supported.

3DS Max Support Questions

Zync V2 backend runs on Linux machines and some Windows-only software is not available.
We support 3DS Max using V-Ray or Arnold as standalone renderers. The 3DS Max scene is exported to stand-alone scene files during the submission from Zync plugin.

Q. Why is Scanline rendering unavailable?

A. There is no stand-alone Scanline renderer available.

Q. Why does the submission to Zync sometimes take a lot of time?

A. 3ds Max scenes are exported to stand-alone files before submission and depending on the scene the export can be time consuming.

Q. The output images have different colors or brightness than in 3DS Max previews, why?

A. 3DS Max is applying its own tone-mapping and other settings to the rendered images. Some of these transforms are not available in stand-alone renderers. It's usually a good idea to render a test frame locally using stand-alone Arnold (kick) or stand-alone V-Ray to see what the output will look like. In general, you should expect pure linear EXRs as the output and do your own post-processing if necessary.

Redshift Support Questions

Q. Why is it that after I've launched a Redshift job with 50 machines but am only getting access to 5 or 10?

A. Redshift jobs are limited to 40 GPUs to start. If you would like additional machines please submit a request to zync-support@google.com and include your Zync URL.

Preemptible VMs (PVMs) Questions

Q. What is a Preemptible VM (PVM)?

A. PVMs are excess capacity machines which are offered at a significant discount over regular on-demand machines. There is a risk they could be pulled from a job if capacity demand requires but are approximately 40% cheaper than using Zync on regular machine types.

Q. If a PVM is taken away during a job, will I lose my work on the current task?

A. At this time, that's correct. We'll automatically retry (see below) but the work done so far on that task is currently lost.

Q. If a PVM is taken away during a job, will it automatically retry?

A. Yes, your Zync job will automatically request a new render node to take its place. If the render node was working on a render task when it was preempted, that task will be put back on the queue so another render node can render it. After 5 preemptions of a single task, Zync will cancel the job altogether — this typically means either preemption rates are extremely high, or task runtime is longer than suitable for preemptible VMs.

Q. If a PVM is taken away during a job, will I still be charged?

A. Yes, you will be charged for the duration the PVM was running.

Q. If a PVM is taken away during a task will those completed frames still be downloaded?

A. No, any frames completed during that task thus far will be lost. Zync renders your job in Chunks. Any chunks that have successfully completed are already transferred back to your local filer and kept on Zync storage. In progress chunks are lost, however. We recommend setting a lower chunk size of 1 frame when submitting a Job using Preemptible VMs to mitigate this risk.

Q. How can I minimize risk of losing a render with a PVM?

A. We recommend using PVMs for individual frames that are shorter in duration (<3 hours) and setting your chunk size to 1.

Web Console Questions

Q. What is the Zync Web Console?

A. The Zync Web Console is the web page through which you monitor and control your Zync jobs. It is located at https://<your site name>.zync.io.

Q. Why can't I delete jobs from the Web Console jobs list?

A. Jobs' data are linked to various other things throughout the Zync system, such as historical usage records. It's not currently possible to remove a job's data entirely. The Zync Web Console provides some job filters to help limit visible jobs and find what you're looking for, such as the Max Jobs, Filter by User, and Show Completed/Show Errored filters.

Client Application Questions

Q. Why are my uploads so slow?

A. Upload speeds can vary for a variety of reasons. If you suspect Zync uploads to be much slower than normal, verify the following:

  • Are files being uploaded as Maya files, or are they being uploaded as standalone files such as .vrscene or .ass files? Standalone files tend to be much larger, and thus take a much longer time to upload. If you are using Maya 2016 or higher, consider uploading your job as a MayaIO (.mb or .ma) file. These files tend to be much smaller and thus upload much more quickly.
  • Are you behind a special network configuration such as a firewall or proxy? Work with your IT staff, or Internet Service Provider to ensure the Zync upload speeds aren't being impacted by special configurations.
  • Check to see if Google Cloud Storage is experiencing issues by visiting Google Cloud Platform's Cloud Status Dashboard.

Q. I occasionally receive "500 Internal Server Error" in my Client App's logs. What's wrong?

A. Occasional 500's are to be expected. In the event of a 500 error, the task is automatically retried.

Q. I have a large scene file to upload. Can't I just upload it directly to my storage bucket?

A. Not at this time.

Q. Can I skip downloading large outputs?

A. Yes, but right now only from the Houdini plugin. Just tick "Skip output download" in the Zync node options before submitting.

Q. How do I download files when a job is done?

A. In the Web Console, select tasks and click Task, then Redownload Task(s). This option is also available if you selected "Skip output download" while submitting the job.

The other way is to use zync_files_util.py script. It can be found in example scripts in zync-python plugin. For most of Windows users it will be located in "C:\Users\\AppData\Roaming\Zync\plugins\zync-python\examples". The location can be checked in your ZYNC Client App in the Plugins tab. The tool requires python interpreter. Detailed instructions how to use the tool are located at the beginning of the script.

Q. After upgrading to the latest Zync Client App version, the Zync Client fails to launch with "The application Zync.app can't be opened." Why?

A. This is a known issue due to an OS X bug. See our Known Issue section about it.

Assorted Plugin Questions

Q. Why is the Zync Shelf not appearing in Maya?

A. The python path defined in your environment variables is conflicting with the python path defined in the Maya.env file. In order to rectify this issue, you can remove the python_path variable from your environment variables or append Zync path from Maya.env to it. Once the changes are made to the environment variable do restart Maya in order for the new values to take effect.

Q. How do I fix 'error: # Error: NameError: file line 1: name 'zync_maya' is not defined #'?

A. This indicates an error occurred while installing the plugins. The quickest resolution to this issue is to uninstall the plugins and then reinstall them.


Q. How does Google use the content I provide to Google via Zync under my Account?

A. Google uses the content you provide to Zync under your Account only as necessary to provide the Services to you.