What is RenderMan?

Developed by Pixar for Rendering the most ambitious animation and visual effects

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Ready Player One © Warner Brothers. All Rights Reserved.

What is RenderMan?

Robust, Fast and Cutting Edge Rendering

Learn about the historic impact of RenderMan with this fantastic feature from our friends at


RenderMan has been Pixar's core rendering technology for over 30 years, and has been developed to meet the ever-increasing challenges of 3D animation and visual effects.

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Modern and Robust

Today, RenderMan has been completely modernized, with a state-of-the-art ray tracing architecture. Used in the biggest blockbusters, such as Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker, Onward and The Lion King, RenderMan is capable of delivering the highest quality visual effects with unparalleled creative flexibility and artistic control.

For artists, RenderMan is easier than ever to use with single pass workflows and interactive shading, lighting, and look development, while continuing its tradition of reliability and expandability.

RenderMan offers customers fully integrated plugins for seamless integration with Autodesk Maya, SideFX Houdini, and Foundry's Katana, and is also available as a stand alone renderer.

Onward © Disney/Pixar

RenderMan Rebooted

The RIS technology in RenderMan has matured and evolved through rewrites to the raytracing core, new hair descriptions, memory optimizations, and pipeline groundwork, resulting in a highly-optimized framework for production needs.

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Complexity Made Easy

RIS is a new framework for rendering complex scenes with heavy geometry, hair and volumes, with world-class efficiency in a single pass. In its newest form, RenderMan has evolved for interactive workflows, redefining how rendering pipelines are built.

With RenderMan 23, customers have access to Pixar's production shading, lighting, and integrator toolset, reflecting an ongoing commitment to delivering the very same technology used by Pixar.

Avengers: Endgame © Marvel Studios.

"For significant advancements to the field of motion picture rendering as exemplified in Pixar's RenderMan."

-Academy of Motion Pictures Art and Sciences


Genuine Production Excellence

Product Driven, Results Focused

RenderMan is used for all Pixar production rendering, including feature films, shorts, content for theme parks and marketing.

RenderMan is battle tested and driven by real production requirements at Pixar and studios around the world.

Expert Training and Support

Every commercial customer has direct access to the most awarded development team in the industry, as well as in-depth training materials created by production experts, artists, and developers which are made available online in a variety of formats targeting all levels of skill.

Creative Studio Ecosystems

Artists interact with RenderMan through content creation plugins tailored specifically for the leading 3D apps.

Studios integrate RenderMan into pipelines and massive render farms using a rich collection of APIs and supported data formats.


Award Winning Software

Pixar's RenderMan has been used in almost every Visual Effects Academy Award Winner and Nominee. Our friends at WIRED can tell you all about it.

Learn More >

Blade Runner 2049 © 2017 Alcon Entertainment, LLC.

Technology Awards

The Academy has also recognized the technological advancements of RenderMan's development team with numerous Sci-Tech awards, giving RenderMan users an amazing groundwork of production-proven experience.
    • 2011 - Scientific & Engineering Award David Laur was honored for his work with Pixar's Alfred render queue management system. A total of six developers were honored for their work on various queueing systems which have allowed studios to process the large amounts of data required for 3D animation and visual effects. At the award ceremony, David Laur pondered the possible effects of Academy recognition, "It's certainly true that nobody grows up to say 'I want to be a queuing systems engineer,'" he told the audience. "Now there'll be action figures." Listen to a complete interview with David Laur discussing Pixar's Alfred at the Pixar Podcast
Pixar Podcast
    • 2010 - Scientific & Engineering Award To Per Christensen, Christophe Hery, and Michael Bunnell for the development of point-based rendering for indirect illumination and ambient occlusion, and featured in Pixar's RenderMan. Much faster than previous ray-traced methods, this computer graphics technique has enabled color bleeding effects and realistic shadows for complex scenes in motion pictures.
Press Release
    • 2009 - The Gordon E. Sawyer Award The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences honored Ed Catmull with the Gordon E.Sawyer Award, for a lifetime of technical contributions and leadership in the field of computer graphics for the motion picture industry, including his work with Pixar's RenderMan.
Press Release
    • 2009 - The Coons Award (SIGGRAPH 2009) This year's award is presented to Rob Cook (Vice President of Advanced Technology, Pixar Animation Studios) for his foundational contributions to physically-based reflectance models and distribution ray tracing and his enduring work on behalf of the SIGGRAPH community. The Steven A. Coons Award is given in odd-numbered years to an individual to honor that person's lifetime contribution to the field of computer graphics and interactive techniques.
Press Release
  • 2001 - Academy Award of Merit - "Oscar®" Ed Catmull, Loren Carpenter, and Rob Cook, were honored with an Academy Award® of Merit (Oscar®) “for significant advancements to the field of motion picture rendering as exemplified in Pixar’s RenderMan®.” This was the first Oscar awarded to the developers of a software package for its outstanding contributions to the field.
  • 1993 - Scientific & Engineering Award In 1993 the developers of Pixar's RenderMan (Loren Carpenter , Rob Cook, Ed Catmull, Thomas Porter, Pat Hanrahan, Tony Apodaca & Darwyn Peachey) won a Scientific and Engineering Achievement Award from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences for RenderMan's contribution to the motion picture industry.

News | We have winners for "The Iconoclasts" RenderMan Art Challenge!