Tech Specs

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

Get RenderMan

Ready Player One © Warner Brothers. All Rights Reserved.

Modern Physically-Based Rendering

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 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. 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 23 has been completely redesigned for interactivity and fast access to its scene graph, allowing new workflows in multiple departments. With a new framework consisting of integrators, BRDF's (written in C++), and intelligent light services, RenderMan is setting new standards for both speed and memory efficiency.


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 (scheduled for Q4 2018). 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 their art, not only in lighting and shading, but also while building their worlds. 

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

Production-Ready Light Transport

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.

Pixar Unified

Pixar Unified offers both unidirectional and bidirectional path tracing which can be controlled on a per-light basis, so you get the best of both. It also delivers state-of-the-art light path guiding based on work from Disney Research for computer learning. The Pixar Unified integrator also contains functionality for quickly resolving caustic paths, a technique called Manifold Next Event Estimation, allowing caustic paths to resolve much quicker.

"RenderMan allows us to achieve a director's vision more effectively."

-Kevin Baillie - founder and VFX Supervisor at Atomic Fiction

Custom Development

The integrator system provides all the necessary tools for studios to write their own integrators, allowing development teams creative and non-destructive freedom to experiment with cutting-edge technology, as exemplified in this Non-Photorealistic Rendering case study by Lollipop Shaders.

Learn More >

Custom work by Lollipop Shaders for 9 to 3 Animation




To maximize interactivity, RenderMan has great scalability on machines with many cores.

Additional Features

  • Pixar Unified Integrator
  • Unique Unbiased Path Traced Subsurface Scattering
  • Physical and Artistic Hair Shading
  • True Opacity
  • All New Curve Representation
  • Multiple Importance Sampling
  • Progressive Multi-Jittered Sampling
  • Adaptive Sampling
  • C++ BXDFs
  • OSL Patterns
  • Programmable AOV and LPE passes
  • DeepEXR Data Support
  • Cryptomatte Support
  • Watertight Displacement
  • Interactive Displacement Edits
  • Daylight Simulator
  • Analytic Area Lights
  • Gobos, Blockers, Filters, Portals
  • Emissive Geometry
  • Global Light Sampling
  • Interactive Lighting and Look Development
  • Maya Fluids, OpenVDB 4.0
  • Multi-lobe Bump and Normal mapping
  • GGX and Beckman specular
  • Complex Surface Layering system
  • 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


Out of This World Reliability

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

Embracing New Technology

RenderMan features modernizations to the core renderer focused on high-performance interactive rendering, along with new bridges for Autodesk Maya, Foundry’s Katana, and SideFX Houdini.

RenderMan now provides even greater speed and memory optimizations thanks to a new raytracing core, scene graph, and curve descriptions, among other improvements.

Open Standards

In 1988 RenderMan established an open standard to describe 3D data: the RenderMan Interface Specification (the RISpec). Since then, Pixar has continuously 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, SeExpr, Ptex, UDIM, USD

Cross Platform

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

RenderMan Components

RenderMan DCC Plugin
The Interface

RenderMan is built specifically for every plugin to take advantage of the application's maximum potential

RenderMan Pro Server
The Engine

RenderMan Pro Server crunches the data generated by your application plugin and renders the image.

Ghost in the Shell © Paramount Pictures. All Rights Reserved.

Operating System Compatibility

64-bit Linux

Compatible with CentOS/RHEL 7.2 - gcc6.3 and glibc 2.17

64-bit Mac OSX

Compatible with versions 10.13+

64-bit Windows

Compatible with Windows 8.1 and 10

DCC Compatibility


Compatible with 2018.3+


Compatible with 17.0+


Compatible with 3.0+

Hardware Requirements


RenderMan requires x86-64 and SSE4.2 instruction set (introduced 2007). RenderMan threading scales well with multiple CPU cores and Hyper-Threading; results vary by scene.


Using the GPU Denoiser requires CUDA 8.0 (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.


Custom plugins can utilize C++14 and must be compiled with gcc6.3

VFX Reference Platform: CY2018 (OpenVDB 5.2, Alembic 1.7.x).

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

Tractor Highlights

  • 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
  • HTML5 support
  • For more see the Tractor Overview

Tractor 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. Compatible with Chrome, Firefox, Safari, and Edge. 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+.

Tutorials | Improve your storytelling with a new shot-lighting tutorial!