Thanks to the COVID-19 crisis, an increasing number of companies and schools are needing to find ways that artists or students can access ZBrush remotely.
For our floating license (server managed) customers, this is actually very easy to accomplish:
- If your server has an FQDN you can put that in the 1seat.lic file. Just replace the host address that’s currently there with the FQDN. If your server doesn't have an FQDN, it's not hard for you to set that up and requires no support from us to accomplish. (A static IP address would work instead of an FQDN, by the way.)
- You then merely need to open TCP ports 2376 and 2377 in the firewall between your network and the outside world. You could use different ports instead, just by editing them in the 1seat.lic file that you give to the client users.
- You would deliver the ZBrush FL installers to your users, along with the license_ZBrush4_1_1seat.lic file and the FloatingLicenseDLL.dll and .lib files. Of course you would need to provide instructions for where to add those files to the client installation.
So long as your user’s machine has internet access, it will be able to use the FQDN (or static IP) to find the server and check out a seat.
You can control access via the pixologic.opt file on the server. RLM supports editing that file to create an authorized user group and then add users to that group so that they and nobody else can use ZBrush. Instructions for how to use the ISV Options File in this way are included at the end of this article.
If you have thus far only had clients on one platform (Windows or macOS) it is likely that you will now need both. In that case, we will have to create the necessary .dll or .lib so that you can start supporting the other platform. Simply submit a Support ticket to request this.
For some companies it may be necessary to configure a new server in order to allow this remote access. For example, you may wish to set up a cloud-based server. If this is necessary for you, please submit a Support ticket to request information on how to move your server. You will need new license files to be created in this situation.
Please note that it is NOT possible for us to add temporary seats to your server. Our floating license implementation does not include the capacity to time bomb licenses.
The Pixologic team remains committed to ensuring the highest possible level of customer support, even in the face of this global crisis. Our Support team is highly agile and was already adapted to be able to function remotely before the COVID-19 outbreak began. Be assured that we will be here to assist you in navigating this changing world... at least where ZBrush is concerned!
Important: Pixologic cannot provide support to your users. We can only support you and/or your IT team. This is because only you know who is actually authorized to use the software. When providing the necessary downloads and instructions to your users, please be sure that they know to contact you for support needs. If you then need to ask us for help with resolving their issue, we will be happy to provide it. We just cannot assist them directly.
Access Control Via the Options File
Detailed instructions are found in the Reprise License Manager documentation and begin on page 68 at https://reprisesoftware.com/RLM_License_Administration.pdf
However, in order to help simplify this for you, we are providing a summary in this article.
Our ISV Options file is called pixologic.opt and is found in your RLM directory on your server. You can edit it using any text editor such as Wordpad. The file already contains the following:
When editing the file, you may not use the following characters: "<", ">", "&
or double-quote (").
Any variable and its necessary parameters must be on a single line. Keep in mind that no line may be more than 1024 characters in length.
You can start a line with "#" to comment it out, making RLM ignore what that line says.
Defining the Group
To regulate use of ZBrush you must first define one or more user groups. RLM accepts user names, host names or IP addresses for this purpose. You first specify the type of group, followed by the single-word name for that group, followed by its members. Here are examples of each:
GROUP Named jsmith jdoe lmorningstar
GROUP Named srogers bbanner nromanov
HOST_GROUP Hosts CaptainAmerica Hulk BlackWidow
INTERNET_GROUP IPs 220.127.116.11 2.*.*.7 172.16.7.*
This creates three groups: "Named", "Hosts" and "IPs"
The group called "Named" has six members. This is because when RLM sees two groups with the same group name it concatenates the groups. One way in which that is useful is if you have a really large number of users that you wish to authorize. Since you can't have more than 1024 characters in a single line entry, simply split the group into multiple entries.
With the "IPs" group, you'll also notice the use of the "*" wildcard. With that character you can instruct a very large number of computers. In the example it includes:
- The machine with IP 18.104.22.168
- All machines with an IP starting with 2 and ending with 7
- All machines with an IP starting with 172.16.7
This could potentially be a huge number of users, so be careful with IP wildcards!
Now that you have defined your group(s), all that is left is to grant access to those groups. Once again, there are a few ways to do this and examples are as follows:
INCLUDE zbrush Named
RESERVE 20 zbrush_to_keyshot_bridge IPs
The INCLUDE method tells RLM to let anyone in the specified group use one specific product. In this example, the six users from the "Named" group are being allowed to use the "zbrush" product.
The INCLUDEALL method tells RLM to let anyone in the specified group use all Pixologic products that you have licenses for. That means ZBrush and the ZBrush to KeyShot Bridge would both be included. In this example, the three users in the Hosts list will be included.
The RESERVE option is similar to "INCLUDE" except that it sets a specific number of seats aside to only be accessible by that group and nobody else. In this example, 20 seats of the ZBrush to KeyShot Bridge are being set aside for exclusive use by the "IPs" group. If you had for example 25 such seats the remaining 5 would be able to be used by anyone in an INCLUDEALL group, but if only 10 people in the RESERVE group were using the Bridge at that moment, it would be impossible for a sixth person outside that group to check a Bridge seat out. Those 20 seats are the exclusive property of the RESERVE group, no matter how many people not in that group are wanting one!
A sample pixologic.opt file is available which puts the various options discussed above into use. You can download it here.
As you can see, the ISV Options File gives you incredible control and flexibility. Not only can you totally restrict use of Pixologic software, ensuring that only the users you specifically want to use it may do so. Because the file is on your server, you have control and are able to change access whenever you wish.
For example, at the end of a semester you can edit the file to remove the previous batch of students from the list, revoking their access.
Another example would be if you have a mix of on-campus classes and at-home learning. In this case you could have two pixologic.opt files. One would reserve all seats to the class environment while the other makes the seats available to all of your students. You would then set up an automation of some sort that swaps the two files out at specific times and restarts the RLM service. When on-campus class is in session, one file would be used and the rest of the time it would be the other file.