RenderMan Studio 18
RenderMan Studio delivers powerful features and tools for creating photorealistic CGI, while at the same time streamlining workflows for artists, so using RenderMan is now easier than ever before. With this release, RenderMan Studio’s version is now 18 to better match the version of RenderMan Pro Server which it is intended to compliment. The previous version was RenderMan Studio 4.0.
RenderMan Studio is Pixar’s suite of shading and lighting tools for Maya Artists, and includes the following components:
1. RenderMan for Maya - Brings the power of RenderMan to the Maya workflow
2. Slim - Powerful visual shader authoring and management tool
3. “it” - Image viewer and scriptable compositor
4. Pixar's RenderMan - An embedded renderer based on the latest technology
5. LocalQueue - Local render management
6. Tractor - Job management solution for render farms.
Support for RPS 18
Most importantly, RenderMan Studio now supports the feature set of RenderMan Pro Server 18. This includes significant performance gains for polygons and volumes. RenderMan Studio has new lights, shaders, and tools to take full advantage of the latest features.
Accelerated Re-Rendering with Path Tracing
The Re-Rendering system in RenderMan Studio now provides full support for path tracing for accelerated look development. With new workflows for shading and lighting, RenderMan Studio continues to make the process of lighting scenes faster and more intuitive.
Geometric Area Lights
RMS 18 allows you to turn any geometric primitive into a light source with Geometric Area Lights. These lights are not only highly realistic and capable of creating incredibly complicated lighting effects, but geometric area lights are much easier for lighters to control with a feature called "unified sampling" ... and compared to standard area lights, they're simply faster.
RenderMan Studio now ships with a library of Geometric Area Lights for both RFM and Slim. Supported Features:
1. All light types: Distant, Spot, Rectangular, Disk, Sphere, Cylinder
2. Emissive geometry: Now any piece of geometric can be an area light.
3. Blockers for Geometric Area Lights
4. Unified Sampling for easier light setup and accelerated rendering
Master Lighting Panel
A new lighting panel provides easy control over the lights in any scene, and is especially useful for re-rendering sessions. With this panel multiple lights can be modified at once, bookmarks can be created to store light settings, and the influence of individual lights can be quickly displayed.
To aid compositing workflows, AOVs can now be written out per light, with arbitrary outputs per each light. This new feature also supports “Light Groups” and represents a major overhaul of the light system in RenderMan Studio.
Better Subsurface Scattering
Creating realistic human skin is hard, and the quality of the final result really depends how the subsurface scattering is being calculated. With RPS 18 there's a better way to create realistic skin with Beam Diffusion Subsurface Scattering. This new model is only slightly more expensive than standard SSS, but it produces much more satisfying results (results similar to "quantized diffusion," but that are numerically stable for animation). Now your humans can look real, and not waxy.
Shader libraries in RFM and Slim now support the improved beam diffusion subsurface scattering technology for the creation of better looking skin and other effects.
Now RenderMan Studio supports Object Instancing through the normal Maya Instancing workflows, for more efficient rendering of heavily ray traced scenes.
RenderMan's ability to process volumes has been optimized with hybrid sampling techniques. Because volumes near the camera don't need to be sampled as much as other elements in the scene, the REYES hider has been leveraged to deliver outstanding speed-ups whenever you need to fly a camera through a few explosions, a tornado, or whatever volumetric hijinks a shot demands.
More Efficient Polygons
Polygonal meshes have been overhauled, reducing memory requirements significantly. Depending on the scene, users can expect anywhere from a 4x to 10x overall memory reduction when rendering complex polygonal meshes. The new implementation ray traces complex polygonal meshes up to 2 to 3 times faster with displacement and 20% to 35% faster when there is no displacement.
1) Dramatic Memory Enhancements for Polygonal Meshes
2) Support for Layered Glass
3) New Ocean Shader
4) New "HoldOut Shader" for catching shadows for compositing
5) The image tool, “it,” has been completely rewritten from the ground up, and is faster and more feature rich than before.
6) Use the new "loosely bound co-shaders" to apply a single material over multiple materials. For instance, cover a car with snow with one co-shader attachment.
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The latest version of Pixar’s core rendering technology offers new features for creating CGI for today’s modern demands. Some of the advancements in 18 include:
"We are hugely impressed with the ease of use and out-of-the-box performance of the physically based shading and lighting system, and we love the geometric area lights and awesome features that come with them. The new Lighting Panel makes handling and editing multiple lights a lot easier, and the rebuild of “it” has some great new features that we never thought to ask for. The re-renderer has been helpful in speeding up certain areas of our look development and we are excited to see continued advancements with this feature. We believe that it has never been easier to create truly impressive renders so quickly in RenderMan Studio."
Lighting Supervisor, Nitrogen Studios
"The new unified sampling and path tracing system has substantially decreased setup times for artists and is a huge leap in re-rendering performance. Add to this the new ray tracing speedups, at times over 50%, the UI improvements, and geometric lights, and you have got the best version of RenderMan Studio yet."
Senior CG Artist, Univision Network