Open Multiple App Instances in Mac OS X

We do all of our light baking for RedFrame on a beefy Mac Pro, 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, 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.

- Michael