- What’s new with RenderMan®?
RenderMan 25 is the latest version of Pixar's rendering software, which includes many new features and improvements, including a state-of-the-art Denoiser. RenderMan XPU has been significantly upgraded to support volumetric effects, secondary passes, and many other look development updates. RenderMan Stylized Looks has been overhauled with advancements to toon shading, animated linework, and a major UI redesign. MaterialX Lama has received improvements from ILM, including a more accurate physical interaction of light between different material layers and the addition of an iridescence material response. Finally, RenderMan XPU is now available in Non-Commercial RenderMan.Learn More
- What is the new Denoiser in RenderMan 25?
The new denoiser in RenderMan 25 delivers significant advancements over the previous denoiser, and it now features innovative technology driven by machine learning to better understand the image and how to remove noise from it. This allows for even higher quality images to be produced with less rendering time, making it an incredibly valuable tool for any artist or production team.
- How does the new Denoiser improve render times?
The Denoiser in RenderMan improves render times by reducing the amount of noise present in a rendered image, to avoid the expense of rendering to full convergence. The Denoiser works by analyzing the noisy image and using machine learning techniques to predict what the image would look like if it had been rendered without noise. It then applies this prediction to the noisy image, resulting in a much cleaner and smoother final image. The Denoiser allows artists to use far fewer samples per pixel than previous denoising technologies, resulting in faster render times without sacrificing image quality. This can lead to significant time savings, especially for large and complex scenes, and can allow scenes to be rendered which would otherwise be impossible to render to full convergence.
- Can the new Denoiser be applied to any type of scene or image?
Yes, the new Denoiser in RenderMan 25 can be applied to any type of physically based rendering, or animated sequence of frames, as long as the necessary AOVs are written out (which is an automated process). It is especially useful for scenes with complex lighting or fine geometry like hair that would normally require a high number of samples to achieve a clean result. Please note that Stylized Looks is currently unsupported.
- What is RenderMan XPU™?
RenderMan XPU is a CPU + GPU hybrid renderer that lives alongside RenderMan RIS. It uses both the CPU and GPU together to give artists faster renders. RenderMan XPU brings greater interactivity to artists. Artists will be able to more quickly iterate and see their results with RenderMan XPU, resulting in both increased creativity as they explore possibilities, as well as greater productivity because they won’t be waiting as long for renders to complete. While RenderMan XPU is not the same as RenderMan RIS, the pictures that you can render with XPU are representative of what you can render with RIS.
- Can RenderMan XPU render Volumes?
Yes, this is a major milestone for RenderMan 25. XPU can now efficiently render complex volumetric effects such as fog, fire, clouds, and more. With the addition of volume aggregates, XPU can render volumetric effects in a physically accurate manner while delivering fast performance on modern CPUs & GPUs. This allows artists to have more control over the look of their volumetric effects and to make more informed creative decisions in near real-time.
- Can RenderMan XPU render secondary passes for compositing?
Yes, XPU can render secondary passes for compositing, just like RenderMan's other renderer, RIS. XPU supports all the same AOVs, LPEs, and output options as RIS, so artists can use it to generate the passes they need for compositing and other post-production tasks, including supporting important look development features such as Thin Shadows. Additionally, XPU's interactive AOVs and LPEs help artists quickly evaluate secondary passes during live rendering sessions.
- How can I evaluate RenderMan XPU™?
In version 25, RenderMan XPU is now included in Non-Commercial RenderMan, and that is available for download today. Please note XPU has some limitations, but is useful for look development and some other applications. Larger commercial studios are encouraged to contact RenderMan Sales to request an official evaluation.
- What use cases can I use RenderMan XPU™ for?
While RenderMan XPU is a general purpose renderer, it does not yet have all of the features of RenderMan RIS. This version of RenderMan XPU is well suited for Look Development, including Look Development for FX, and you may find the feature set is useful for additional uses as well. The renders that you get from RenderMan XPU will be predictive of the renders you get from RenderMan RIS. The interactive capabilities of RenderMan XPU will help artists in multiple areas of the pipeline. See the RenderMan documentation for a list of all of the features and limitations of XPU.
- To what extent can I write customizations for RenderMan XPU™?
XPU supports custom OSL patterns in the same way that RIS does. XPU does not currently support customization beyond OSL patterns. We are evaluating how we can expose other features of XPU with APIs so that in the future you can customize it in similar ways to RIS. A few of our closest partners will be helping us in this process.
- What kind of GPU should I have for RenderMan XPU™?
XPU only supports NVIDIA graphics cards on Linux and Windows. You must have a Maxwell class card or above and be using a recent driver. Because GPUs are more memory constrained than CPUs, we recommend that given the option, you invest in a card with as much memory as possible. If you need to render a scene that goes beyond the memory capabilities of your graphics card, XPU can also render exclusively using your CPU, where memory resources are generally much higher.
- What are the improvements to artist tools integration in RenderMan 25?
RenderMan 25 has continued to improve integration with popular 3D content creation tools, such as Autodesk's Maya®, The Foundry's KATANA®, SideFX’s Houdini®, and Blender®, with general stability improvements and updates for each DCC. Additionally, there are improvements to Solaris with support for MaterialX, as well as new capabilities in Katana 6 for soloing material nodes.
- What are RenderMan Stylized Looks and how do they work?
RenderMan Stylized Looks is a framework for creating looks that go beyond the photorealism that RenderMan is known for. RenderMan has and will continue to be a renderer that is built on the notion that creative flexibility is critical to giving artists the power they need to tell a variety of stories, no matter what the art direction. RenderMan Stylized Looks allow artists to more easily create non-photorealistic renders, such as creating animatable pen and ink illustrations or creating toon shading. Each RenderMan integration for a 3D application provides features for easily adding the shading and render setup controls needed to create Stylized Looks.
- What are the updates to the Stylized Looks feature in RenderMan 25?
RenderMan 25's Stylized Looks receives various enhancements to give artists more control. Some of the highlights include an overhauled toon shading system with more creative controls, illustrative lighting with more texture presets for hatching & watercolor, distortion for wavy lines, and a cleaner artist-friendly user experience.
- How can RenderMan 25 benefit artists?
RenderMan 25's new features and improvements provide artists with more tools and flexibility to create high-quality and photorealistic images and animations. Enhanced interactivity and faster feedback help artists make quicker decisions, and improved look development and Stylized Looks features allow for more creative control over the final output. The integration improvements with popular 3D content creation tools also make it easier for artists to work with RenderMan in their preferred workflow.
- Does RenderMan retain its traditional customizability?
Yes. RenderMan offers a complete set of ready to use rendering and artist tools, but it also retains its storied ability to be profoundly customized by experts who want to develop unique looks or unique pipelines around the RenderMan core. A fundamental aspect of the RIS architecture is the ability to replace components or even entire renderer subsystems with custom plug-ins or scriptable elements, such as for BxDFs, Patterns, Projections, Integrators, Light Path Expressions, and more. All of the traditional aspects of custom geometric proceduralism are still supported as well, such as programmatic generation of particles, hair, or foliage.
- Are there different versions of RenderMan for different studios?
No. RenderMan exists in one standard version for everyone and the technology that Pixar develops for RenderMan has always been delivered to the entire RenderMan community through the productization efforts of the RenderMan team. It is RenderMan’s famous underlying flexibility that allows individual studios to customize the renderer via their own shaders, plug-ins, and other pipeline tools.
- What 3D applications does RenderMan support?
Pixar provides artist-friendly and deeply integrated RenderMan interface plug-ins for Autodesk's Maya®, The Foundry's KATANA®, SideFX’s Houdini®, and Blender®. For production pipelines, the Universal Scene Description (USD) distribution ships with RenderMan’s Hydra Render Delegate. Please refer to renderman.pixar.com for details of version compatibility for each new release.
- What about support for other applications like Cinema4D® or Autodesk 3ds Max®?
We track the applications that are most important to productions at Pixar, ILM, and our community of commercial customer studios, and we frequently evaluate additional deep integrations within other Digital Content Creation applications. We understand the power and capabilities of applications such as Cinema4D and 3ds Max, and the strong interest in them. Please contact us at email@example.com and we can help you find the best solution for your requirements.
- Is Tractor included in the latest version of RenderMan?
Yes. New purchases of RenderMan include a matching number of Tractor licenses. Tractor is also available separately at $100 per license.
- How closely does the RenderMan team work with Pixar’s USD team?
Pixar’s pipeline is built on two inhouse technologies, RenderMan and USD (Universal Scene Description). Because of this, both teams work closely together to ensure close integration, and collaborate on projects, such as shipping RenderMan’s Hydra Render Delegate with USD.
- What is the price of RenderMan?
RenderMan costs $595 per license, providing access to either the artist interface or the batch renderer. For larger requirements over 50 licenses, and especially over 250 licenses, attractive studio pricing and payment packages are available. Usage based cloud licensing is available through various cloud compute vendors separately. Rentals and special short-term burst capacity options are also available.
- Is maintenance on RenderMan available and what does it cover?
Yes. Maintenance is $250 per RenderMan license for commercial users and includes full support and upgrades throughout the renewable 1-year term of the agreement.
- Are RenderMan subscription licenses available?
Several licensing models are available. Traditional perpetual licenses are what many studios continue to choose. These licenses allow you to run the version of RenderMan available at purchase time for as long as you like, for an up-front purchase price. By purchasing recurring annual maintenance for those initial licenses, they can be upgraded to new major releases immediately as they become available. License rentals provide access to the current release for a short term, then the licenses expire. For studios needing a large number of licenses, RenderMan is also available in fixed-term bundles with annual billing on an attractive discount schedule.
- Are RenderMan licenses floating or node-locked?
All commercial RenderMan licenses are available as floating, providing the flexibility to deploy RenderMan anywhere on your network. However, node locked licenses are available if required.
Non-Commercial Licensing FAQ
- When is the free Non-Commercial RenderMan available?
The free Non-Commercial version of RenderMan has been updated to version 25 and is currently available for download.
- Is RenderMan XPU now available in Non-Commercial RenderMan?
Yes, starting from version 25, XPU is now available in Non-Commercial RenderMan. This means that users who do not have access to a commercial license of RenderMan can now take advantage of XPU's capabilities for their personal or non-commercial projects.
- Can I download previous version of Non-Commercial RenderMan?
No, Non-Commercial RenderMan downloads are updated to the latest available version in order to keep the research community up to date, simplify community support, and to ensure that tool developers have a consistent target platform. Access to previous versions of RenderMan is available to all commercial customers.
- How does Pixar define “non-commercial” use?
Simply any usage of RenderMan that does not involve direct commercial use to generate profits. Example non-commercial use-cases include evaluations, personal learning and familiarization, student usage, any type of experimentation, research, and the development of tools and plug-ins that complement RenderMan. Educational content that generates indirect revenue through video platforms such as Youtube or Vimeo are also considered non-commercial.
- Can I use RenderMan Stylized Looks with the free non-commercial RenderMan?
No. RenderMan Stylized Looks is only available to commercial license holders or to educational institutions.
- Is the free non-commercial RenderMan restricted in any other way?
No. There is only one RenderMan and the free non-commercial RenderMan is exactly the same as the commercial version except for access to Stylized Looks. Beyond that, there are no watermarks. Upon acceptance of the EULA at installation, the software must only be used for non-commercial purposes. Technical support for Non-Commercial RenderMan is supplied by the active and highly technical community itself.
- Is Non-Commercial RenderMan appropriate for Educational Institutions?
Educational Institutions have access to floating license grants which include the full suite of RenderMan tools, including Stylized Looks. In general, Non-Commercial RenderMan is intended for individual use. For classroom deployment or other educational use cases, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org to discuss floating license grants.
The Future Of RenderMan
- Will I be able to use RenderMan XPU™ for other uses beyond Look Development?
Yes. While we feel the RenderMan 25 version of XPU is best suited for look development, you can push the toolset beyond its development scope and get as creative as you’d like. There have been significant milestones reached for version 25 including support for major features like volumes and secondary passes, as well as specific features like thin glass. For example, you may want to use XPU to create quality control renders to validate your animation caches or simulations.
- What is the relationship between RenderMan and other R&D groups within Disney?
There are a number of research initiatives within the Disney Studio organization including Pixar, Disney feature Animation, Industrial Light & Magic (ILM), Disney Research in Zurich, and others. Each of these groups is separate and pursue different approaches to rendering and solving production problems in different ways. No other rendering R&D effort can compare with the resources and depth of experience embodied in the Disney organization and its decades of experience defining the state of the art in animation and film rendering. RenderMan is the conduit through which tools and techniques that derive from these R&D efforts are channeled into the public domain, most recently with ILM contributing MaterialX Lama to RenderMan. Pixar and these other Disney groups describe their significant contributions regularly at commercial and technical research venues around the world.