What's New?

RenderMan 21 is faster and more robust than ever

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© Disney/Pixar

RenderMan 21

The New Release

RenderMan now ships with the same shaders & lights used at Pixar, including new cutting edge materials for simulating photorealistic skin and hair.

Outstanding Features, Performance, and Price - It's a great time to see what RenderMan can do for your creative vision.

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Pixar Production Shaders

Now you can get production shaders from a major studio out-of-box for your own projects, straight from Pixar Animation Studios...no development required.

Created for Artists

Take advantage of Pixar's shading and lighting tech to render the most demanding jobs. Not only are these shaders fine-tuned for the highest level of performance, they also come fully loaded with all of the creative options for look development demanded by the shading artists at Pixar. Use Pixar Surface to create everything from glass to the most incredibly subtle skin you can image … and layer them on top of each other, for unlimited types of looks.

The new Pixar Displacement was written for the RIS framework, and supports advanced features, like 32bit vector displacements. With Pixar’s Marschner Hair dial in realistic (or fanciful) hair, with features not available in other models, but quite common in the real world, like luminous backscatter.

"RIS allows us to focus on aesthetics instead of technology"

Paul Oakley - Lighting TD Finding Dory

Pixar Production Lights

RenderMan’s lighting system has been completely rewritten to deliver the most efficient and highest performance possible on today’s modern hardware.

Analytic Physical Lighting

This new library of physically based lights offers standard features like color temperature, exposure, and IES profiles … but also includes specialized Light Filters which have been developed for feature film in collaboration with Pixar’s lighting TDs, allowing light to be quickly stylized in any number ways, offering a multitude of new creative possibilities.

The new Analytic lighting system allows for better light sampling, which leads to less noise and faster renders.

"RIS allows us to get creative faster"

Erik Smitt - Lighting TD Piper



Better Denoising



Clean up sampling noise 2-4x faster with new optimizations for CPU, and a full GPU acceleration option.

The Easy Button!

Developed by Disney for Big Hero 6, the Denoiser was used with amazing success on Finding Dory where the average frame saw great speedups. Now the Denoiser gets upgraded with several new features. For Zootopia, Disney optimized the Denoiser to handle lots of fur and hair, while at Pixar the Denoiser was extended to support GPU acceleration, reducing the time required to denoise a feature film frame to seconds.



Preset Browser

The new shareable library of physically based materials makes it easy to choose any type of shader. A helpful tool for managing shaders, lights, and textures.



Advanced Patterns

Create new types of looks quickly with RenderMan’s expanding suite of advanced patterns for production.

VR Ready

RenderMan is fully capable of delivering high resolution animation for VR, including the new omnidirectional stereo. Simply render with the VR camera.



Cutting Edge Skin & Hair



RenderMan 21.5 has introduced a cutting edge path tracing subsurface model as well as major improvements to hair.

Better Skin & Soft Materials

RenderMan 21.5 is the first commercial renderer in the industry to ship with a physically based model for subsurface scattering, a truly accurate model for photorealistic skin based on deep path tracing and albedo controls.

Until now, the implementations available to the VFX industry for these effects have been substantial approximations, which inherently produced errors and artifacts. RenderMan's new subsurface approach significantly increases quality and realism when rendering skin and other soft or delicate materials, which is essential for creating believable characters.

More Artistic Hair

RenderMan 21.5 includes a number of important new refinements to Pixar’s break-through Marschner Hair Shader released in 2015. New artistic controls allow artists to control subtle nuances and variation in color and sheen, while also providing a more natural response to light with improved energy conservation


Reliability You Can Trust

Developed specifically for animation and VFX, this release is continuing to raise the bar for performance, quality and stability.

Embracing New Technology

Now that the RIS Framework has been fully embraced, all legacy attributes and options have been removed (everything related to the now deprecated Reyes), allowing artists to focus less on knobs and levers and more on the creative process.

In version 21, RenderMan provides even greater memory optimizations and significant speed increases including volumes and sampling.

More Features

  • Volume Acceleration – Major improvements in speed and memory efficiency
  • Deformation Volume Blur – Added realism for moving volumes
  • Transparent Alpha – Accumulate transparency along the path for compositing
  • Deep EXR Textures – New display driver
  • Light Portal - Get better looking interiors with fewer samples
  • Relative Pixel Variance – Control on a per object basis
  • Display Filters – Apply filters across an entire image, like tone mapping
  • Native OSL Support – Improves work flow for pattern creation
  • Occlusion Integrator – Generate occlusion for post compositing work
  • Final Frame Checkpointing – Continue to render a "finished" image
  • Thin Shadows – Cheap colored shadows for transparent objects
  • Intuitive Tilt & Shift – Simple controls for automatic computation
  • API Improvements – For full customization
  • Watertight Tessellation – Suppressing artifacts on polygonal meshes
  • Ptex – Performance improvements
  • For more see the Release Notes