Pixar's RenderMan 19 update

Friday, 21 November 2014

The wait is over! RenderMan 19 is out now for Commercial Customers

RenderMan 19 contains a brand new, next generation, extremely fast ray tracing architecture that has been built from the ground up. So what's so revolutionary about it? RIS.

The RenderMan Integrator System was designed to handle the extreme demands of ray traced global illumination and is now (by multiple tests) the fastest in the industry. And at the same time RIS provides unprecedented flexibility with plug-in integrators, which offer multiple light transportation solutions in one modernized, forward-looking solution for VFX and animation.

RIS allows the development of new light transportation solutions through plug-in integrators. Everything in RIS is a plug-in, from BXDFs to the uni-directional path tracer, from the new bi-directional path tracer with VCM to patterns, lights, and surfaces. Not only that, Pixar supply source code for some of these components, allowing users to develop their own plugin integrators that are specific for their productions.

Another significant advance in RenderMan 19 is Progressive Rendering, which allows you to incrementally refine your scene, materials, and lights, all while working with a live rendering of the scene. This is a huge boost in productivity for all artists. We recommend you watch Dylan Sisson's video that showcases the performance of Progressive Rendering:

What does this mean for users?

Simply: faster, better, easier rendering setups, and great images in just a few clicks. There are presets for production proven materials, from metals to plastics, skin to glass, and clay to hair. All built in, easy to use, and single click changes, all while interactively rendering your scenes. Any object can be used as a light source, or you can use HDRIs to create your own real-world illumination profiles.

RenderMan 19 supports the following configurations immediately:

Maya 2013.5, 2014 & 2015 on Windows, OSX and Linux

Katana 1.5, 1.6 and 2.0 (Katana is Linux only)

As for connectivity to RenderMan from other solutions, Pixar are in developing a brand new bridge for Cinema 4D, which is expected around SIGGRAPH 2015. Several 3rd party plugin developers are also working on other solutions for common 3D applications used in VFX/Animation production. We'll share more on these as soon as we can.

What about the free non-commercial RenderMan?

Pixar have decided to delay the release of the free non-commercial RenderMan until early 2015. The main reason for this decision is to allow for the development of more supporting/training materials as well as the establishment of a new community portal for non-commercial RenderMan users to share, learn, and support each other in the community.

They will be sending an email update to all of those that have registered for free non-commercial RenderMan to advise them of the new schedule. Pixar have also updated the FAQ to reflect the ongoing developments around RenderMan 19 and the free non-commercial release.

Want to learn more about RIS? Of course you do! Make sure you check out the links below:

An in-depth article about RenderMan 19 from FXGuide

Video Clips

Did you see the article in 3D World magazine about RenderMan 19? With a great "How To" guide from RenderMan Intern, Harsh Agrawal? Rendering a production quality human head. 

This tutorial, and scene files will be available for RenderMan 19 customers very soon. Click the link to see the article for yourself.

 Last but not least, a bit of fun! Please enjoy Pixar's Walking Teapot Music Video from SIGGRAPH this year. This video is also being used to develop a range of RIS training materials that will be used to teach a variety of new techniques introduced in RIS and RenderMan 19. More of this will be revealed closer to the free non-commercial release in early 2015.

Want even further detail? Here goes:

Introducing RIS Architecture


The latest release of RenderMan, version 19, raises the bar once again with a number of game-changing innovations, including a radical new rendering paradigm: RIS, a highly-optimized mode for rendering global illumination, specifically for ray tracing scenes with heavy geometry, hair, volumes, and irradiance with world-class efficiency in a single pass. This leap in technology offers best-of-class rendering for both VFX and feature film animation. Along with key enhancements to the highly efficient REYES mode, today RenderMan is the most flexible, powerful, and reliable tool for rendering cinematic imagery.


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 both Autodesk's Maya and The Foundry's KATANA. 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. The intuitive system for physically-based rendering allows artists to create the most photorealistic imagery conceivable.

State-of-the-Art Ray Tracer

RIS was designed from the start to trace rays as fast as possible. Period. 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 multi-bounce global illumination for complex production scenes.

Progressive Rendering & Image Check-Pointing

The progressive renderer in RIS delivers incremental feedback for an entire frame all at once, continually refining the image until it reaches final convergence. The first pass of a progressive render is fast and rough, but captures all scene elements, including hair, volumes, motion blur and bokeh. With RIS, batch renders can be check-pointed after a specified amount of time or passes, allowing the image to be reviewed. The image can be stopped if something needs fixing or left to continue. By submitting an entire sequence to the renderfarm, that entire sequence can be check-pointed allowing the animation to be reviewed at an early stage.

Interactive Lighting and Look Development

For lighting and look development, the raw power of the core ray tracing engine delivers fast interactive sessions for artists. Artists can now quickly light scenes and construct shader networks with immediate feedback. In combination with single pass workflows, lighters and shaders can super-charge their productivity.

Check out this video on interactive rendering:http://rendermansite.pixar.com/view/26132

Light Transport & Integrators
Integrators allow RenderMan to support arbitrary methods of light transport and are a key feature of RIS. Integrators take the camera rays from the projection and return shaded results to the renderer. By supporting multiple integrators, RenderMan is capable of rendering the broadest range of effects, and with a comprehensive API for the development of custom integrators, the possibilities of the RIS system are vast.

Out-of-the-box, Pixar provides two production-quality integrators:

The Path Tracer

Ideal for outdoor lighting and large direct light sources, this industry standard unidirectional path tracer combines information from the materials at the hit points with light samples to estimate direct lighting and shadowing, then spawns additional rays to handle indirect lighting. The path tracer ships with source code for further customization.

The VCM Integrator (Bi-Directional Path Tracer)
For scenes problematic for unidirectional path tracing, the VCM integrator can save the day. In addition to tracing paths from the camera, bi-directional path tracing sends paths from the light sources and tries to connect 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.

Global Light Sampling
Global Light Sampling is an advanced method of pooling lights samples for all sources in a scene, dramatically increasing the number of lights that can be used at any given time. In fact, with Global Light Sampling 1,000s of lights can be deployed in heavy production scenes at a high level of efficiency. Lights are automatically allocated samples depending on their importance in the scene determined by their size, intensity, and placement to the camera.

Ray Traced Subsurface Scattering
The result of cutting-edge development with Disney Research Zurich, RIS delivers a fully ray traced solution for subsurface scattering with a sophisticated shader capable of producing photorealistic results, such as human skin. Fully compatible with interactive rendering, it's easy and intuitive to dial in complex looks.

Shader Libraries
You don't want your shaders to limit your creativity, and that's why RIS ships an advanced shader library for creating the widest range of physically accurate looks possible. Better still, the shader libraries leverage the full power of the RIS ray tracing engine, with BRDFs optimized for computationally expensive global illumination effects. The only limit is your imagination.
Daylight Simulator

Using an analytical physical model, create realistic skies using RenderMan's Daylight Shader.
Additional Features:

• Multiple Importance Sampling

• Adaptive Sampling

• C++ BXDFs

• Geometric Area Lights

• Global Sampling

• Gobos, Blockers, etc.

• Emissive Geometry

• Camera Projections

• Open Standards: OSL, VDB, SeExpr, WDAS BRDF, OpenSubdiv, Alembic …

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