Tech Specs

Deployed at the most demanding studios, RenderMan and Tractor have the power and reliability to achieve your creative vision

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Technical Specifications

RenderMan and Tractor are extensible tools, for the most demanding projects.

Merging the Best of Both Worlds

RenderMan offers a combination of unbiased and biased rendering techniques which provide both accuracy and technical efficiency

State of the Art

The RIS technology in RenderMan is a game-changing rendering paradigm, a highly-optimized framework for rendering heavy geometry, hair, volumes, and irradiance with world-class efficiency in a single pass. This evolution in technology offers best-of-class in rendering for both VFX and feature film animation. Today RenderMan is the most flexible, powerful, and reliable tool for rendering cinematic imagery.

RenderMan's RIS framework was designed from the start to trace rays as fast as possible. With a new framework consisting of integrators, BRDF's (written in C++), and intelligent light services, RIS is setting new standards for both speed and memory efficiency when rendering complex production scenes.


For visual effects artists, RenderMan has never been more accessible and efficient. Today there are many options for integrating RenderMan into VFX pipelines, including solutions from Pixar for Autodesk's Maya, The Foundry's KATANA, and SideFX's Houdini. For lighting and look development, RenderMan offers a state-of-the-art system for interactive rendering that is capable of dramatically increasing the throughput of production scenes while allowing artists to focus on the art of lighting.

This intuitive system for physically-based rendering and Pixar-standard producion shaders and lights, allows artists to create the most photorealistic imagery conceivable.

Light Transport and Integrators

Uni-Directional Path Tracer

The most used integrator, ideal for outdoor lighting and large direct light sources, this industry standard unidirectional path tracer combines samples from materials at hit points with light samples to estimate direct lighting, then spawns additional rays to handle indirect lighting.

The path tracer ships with source code for further customization.

Bi-Directional Path Tracer

For scenes problematic for unidirectional path tracing, the Bi-Directional Path Tracer, also called VCM integrator, can save the day. In addition to tracing paths from the camera, bi-directional path tracing also sends rays from light sources and then connects them. VCM can resolve complicated indirect paths and caustic effects that may be prohibitively slow to converge with unidirectional path tracing. Ideal for rendering interiors with complex lighting setups and caustics, VCM is a valuable tool to have at your disposal.

Custom Development

The integrator system allows for the most artistic choices and continued development. This allows our development team to introduce new integrators and experiment with cutting edge technology, such as the UPBP integrator, this allows non-destructive development for future.

The integrator system was made with customization in mind, providing all the necessary tools for studios to write their own integrators for full control.

Open Standards

In 1988 RenderMan established an open standard to describe 3D data: the RenderMan Interface Specification (the RISpec). Since then, Pixar has continously developed RenderMan to push the limits of the core technology while helping to adopt and promote new standards for the creation of high-end visual effects and animation. In today's continued efforts, RenderMan supports many open standards, among them: Alembic, OpenColorIO, OpenEXR, OpenSubdiv, OpenVDB, OSL, RSL, SeExpr, Ptex, UDIM, USD.

Finding Dory


Cross Platform

RenderMan and all its plug-ins are made for the three main operating systems: Linux, OSX and Windows.

Additional Features

  • Multiple Importance Sampling
  • Adaptive Sampling
  • C++ BXDFs
  • Re-written watertight Displacement
  • Daylight Simulator
  • Analytic Area Lights
  • Gobos, Blockers, Filters, Portals
  • Emissive Geometry
  • Camera Projections
  • Global Light Sampling
  • Interactive Lighting and Look Development
  • 5 Ray-traced Subsurface Scattering modes
  • Maya Fluids, openVDB
  • Multi-lobe Bump and Normal mapping
  • GGX and Beckman specular
  • Oren-Nayar Diffuse
  • Complex Surface Layering system
  • Physical camera
  • Tilt-shift, chromatic aberration, rolling shutter
  • Sophisticated visual diagnostic tools
  • Texture baking
  • Occlusion integrator and pattern
  • Light temperature
  • IES profiles
  • For more see the Release Notes

Operating System Compatibility

64-bit Linux

Compatible with gcc 4.4.5 and glibc 2.12 or higher

64-bit Mac OSX

Compatible with versions 10.11, 10.10 10.9

64-bit Windows

Compatible with Windows 10, 8 and 7

DCC Compatibility


Compatible with 2017, 2016.5, 2016 2015


Included with version 15 and beyond


Compatible with 2.0, 2.1, 2.2 and 2.5


Compatible with version 2.76 or higher

Hardware Requirements


Make sure your processor (CPU) has the: SSE4 instruction set introduced in 2007. Cutting edge rendering requires cutting edge processing!


Using the GPU Denoise requires CUDA 7.0 (compute capability 2.0 or later) and a capable NVIDIA graphics card with support. If not, Denoise will fallback to CPU automatically.


RenderMan needs a minimum of 4GB of RAM. For best performance we recommend 8GB of RAM. Maximum RAM depends on scene complexity.

Robust and Modern UX

Derived from years of experience, Tractor is a modern and robust solution for network rendering, capable of scaling up to the largest render farms.

Cross Platform and Web Based

Tractor is packaged for each operating system, containing all of the Tractor components you will need, though each machine may only use a subset


  • Powerful scripting interfaces
  • Native Maya Integration
  • Flexible resource-sharing controls
  • Python module extensions
  • Minimal computational footprint
  • Streamlined installation
  • Major user interface enhancements
  • Open web standards
  • HTML 5 support
  • For more see the Release Notes

System Requirements


Central job queue, installed on one host only Linux 64-bit (gcc4.4), Mac OS X (10.8+)


Task execution server, on render blades Based on Python 2.7, for: Linux-64, Mac OS X 10.8+, and Windows 7+.


Web-based user interface, job browsing and control Firefox, Safari, Chrome, IE11. No platform-specific plug-ins required


Job submission and advanced command line tools, on user workstations Based on Python 2.7, for: Linux-64, Mac OS X 10.8+, and Windows 7+.