Open Multiple App Instances in Mac OS X

We do all of our light baking for RedFrame on a beefy Mac Pro, viagra approved but due to limitations in Maya and Mental Ray we have to run multiple instances in order to saturate the available processor cores.

On Windows it’s very simple to run multiple instances of a single application – this is the default behavior – but we work on OS X which only allows one instance of an app to be running at any given time. We’ve commonly used a messy workaround: duplicating the application on disk and keeping references to its many copies in the Dock.

Today I discovered a much better solution. It’s possible to open an unlimited number of instances of an app through the terminal. To instantiate Maya 2012*, bronchitis I just execute the following command:

open -n /Applications/Autodesk/maya2012/

Using Platypus, I bundled this command into an application that sits in the Dock, ready to spawn additional Maya instances on demand.

You can download my Maya 2012 Instantiator here.

Maya Instances

* Why not Maya 2013? Well, 2013 crashes every single time we’ve tried to bake lightmaps preventing us from being able to upgrade.

Posted in Pipeline
9 comments on “Open Multiple App Instances in Mac OS X
  1. Mr. 3D says:

    I have Maya 2013 on my MacBook Pro and I tried to do what you said in the Terminal with the following command:
    open -n /Applications/Autodesk/maya2013/
    It didn’t work! what can I do to solve this?
    I would appreciate if you can answer me back on this matter, it’s very important to me!

  2. Mr. 3D says:

    That’s the point! I didn’t receive any error message- it just opened the Maya and when I tried to open another instance it didn’t let me as usual.

  3. Ryan Gilmore says:

    I thought it was just me having crashes in 2013 trying to bake maps! I’ve used the mib_lightmap_write method instead. Wonder if it’s fixed in 2014?

  4. Andrew Coggeshall says:


    I dont think it is. Light baking in Maya Mental Ray doesn’t seem very supported at this point. I have actually been using the Turtle plug-in recently and am very happy with it. Better workflow and faster. It is included in Maya 2014 and Maya LT and you can achieve the same results if you know how to use it.

  5. Ryan Gilmore says:

    Follow up, it is fixed in 2014!

  6. Ryan Gilmore says:

    So far in my limited tests it seems to work anyway.

  7. bunn says:

    Thanks you saved my butt. I needed to leave two separate scenes batch rendering overnight.
    I’m using maya 2015 sp4.

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