From Pixar Animation Studios
for Rendering VFX and Animation
Pixar's Core Rendering Technology
For over twenty-five years RenderMan has been at the forefront of the visual effects revolution, and today RenderMan is a high performance renderer built to tackle the most complicated 3D imaginable. With the new state-of-the-art ray tracing RIS framework optimized for physically-based rendering, RenderMan can deliver unmatched flexibility for any production pipeline.
Pixar's feature film, Finding Dory, was the first to use RenderMan's new RIS framework, and the amazing visuals in that film showcase the capabilities of this new technology. Not only does Pixar use RenderMan for our own feature films, but RenderMan is used throughout the industry for rendering VFX and animation. Because RenderMan has been used on every kind of production, the software has already been pushed to every extreme, so it's ready to render anything you can throw at it.
RenderMan is fully multi-threaded and is happy to take advantage of machines with multiple cores. In the new RIS mode, RenderMan has extraordinary scalability on machines with many cores. Interactive rendering can benefit greatly because of this efficiency.
Physically Based Shading
Physically based shading allows RenderMan to deliver highly realistic lighting with minimal setup, including full support for multi-bounce ray traced global illumination and ray traced subsurface scattering. Much research and development has gone into making these traditionally expensive effects a production reality. Pixar's latest feature film, Finding Dory, is the first Pixar production to use the new technology.
Advanced Hair Shading
Fur and hair is essential for characters in animation and VFX, and RenderMan is capable of handling fur fast and efficiently. Use the most advanced hair shader available, Pixar Marschner Hair, developed at Pixar Animation Studios for feature film production. Because this shader was developed and tested for Pixar's own productions, Pixar Marschner Hair is capable of producing movie quality results, quite literally. This advanced model for simulating hair provides four specular components, including a backscatter control for creating the most realistic results possible.
Displacements are a core strength of RenderMan. With support for 32bit maps, ptex, and vector displacements, RenderMan can create highly complex displacements for any purpose. Output from modeling programs such as Mudbox and ZBrush is fully supported.
Full Featured Camera
RenderMan's motion blur and depth-of-field can mimic the behavior of real-world cameras, so RenderMan's synthetic images can realistically simulate their conventionally filmed counterparts. RenderMan supports exotic camera effects like Bokeh and Shutter Speed. In addition, RenderMan's Physical Camera fully embraces the imperfections of real-world cameras. Now you can fully simulate optical properties from tilt-shift focus, lens distortion, chromatic aberration, vignetting, and more.
Deep Textures have helped revolutionize compositing. In a deep texture each pixel contains all the samples in Z-space (making it "deep"), allowing edges to be filtered correctly with any composited elements, including traditionally problematic effects like depth of field. RenderMan is capable of generating deep textures, which can be used with a compatible compositor such as The Foundry's Nuke.
RenderMan provides elegant methods for breaking visual effects down into secondary passes for compositing. With support for both AOVs and Light Path Expressions, RenderMan offers a multitude of ways of writing any element of a render (SSS, Diffuse, Shadows, Z-Depth, Object IDs, etc.) into many popular formats including OpenExr 2 and Deep Textures. Per-light AOVs are supported natively in RenderMan for Maya.
Intuitive Holdout Workflow
Compositing CGI elements over live action is crucial for VFX work and the new Holdout Workflow in RenderMan makes this process simple, making it straight forward to capture shadows, reflections, and other elements to combine them with a background plate during interactive rendering.
Volumes & Maya Fluids
Smoke, fire, steam, clouds ... RenderMan can render it. The advanced volume system can achieve physically accurate results and support the OpenVDB standard. Volumes of varying density, albedo, etc, may be nested and overlapped for creative effects. Additionally, RenderMan for Maya provides full support for Maya Fluids.
For serious animation and VFX, dispatching renders to a dedicated renderfarm is essential, and that system has to be robust and dependable. Pixar has developed Tractor specifically for this purpose as a modern system for remote job execution. Both fast and efficient, Tractor is included with each RenderMan license, a great force multiplier for rendering.
RenderMan Can Stand Alone
Call RenderMan as a simple executable and render any 3D data in RenderMan's native RIB file format. These RIB files are the backbone of any RenderMan pipeline and are highly customizable, allowing many types of data to be converted to RIB and rendered with RenderMan. For example, NASA uses RenderMan for scientific visualization of extremely large datasets.
"After the incredibly positive reception of MPC's first major movie release rendered in RIS: The Jungle Book, we are extremely excited about the many new features in RenderMan 21. With increased rendering performance, advanced materials & lights, and all around refinements, it continues to validate our choice as MPC's main renderer and it will be used on all our films going forward.”
Chief Technology Officer, MPC
"This truly brings the future of fully photorealistic ray traced rendering to RenderMan. We did tests with the production assets from one of our latest movies and were completely blown away by the speed and how interactively we could preview and render these assets. The RIS based integrator is going to change the way we work, with more scalable rendering and faster results.”
Global Head of Lighting at MPC
"Pixar has really outdone itself with RIS. The speed, quality, and ease of use that the new substrates bring are mind-boggling. You can setup a character in a shot fully knowing that the nature of the shaders won't change with lighting. It speeds up the look development process significantly.”
Lead Artist at Bad Robot Productions
"Today Pixar launches the newest in that long line of innovations, a new rendering architecture known as RIS, that supports plug-in integrators and comes complete with a new industry standard path-tracer as well as a cutting-edge bidirectional path tracer.”
RenderMan® is supported on the following:
64-bit Mac OS X®
Compatible with 10.11, 10.10 & 10.9
Compatible with gcc 4.4.5 and glibc 2.12 or higher
Compatible with Windows 10, 8 and 7
Compatible with 2017, 2016.5, 2016 & 2015
The Foundry's KATANA®
Compatible with 2.0, 2.1 and 2.2
Make sure your processor (CPU) has the:
SSE4 instruction set introduced in 2007.
Cutting edge rendering requires
cutting edge processing!