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SIG: Pixar RenderMan’s News at SIGGRAPH 2015

RenderMan 20 is a major release with a number of important advancements for RenderMan’s RIS technology. Developed specifically for animation and VFX, the latest version is focused on accelerating pipelines and providing more creative control to artists.


Continuing on with our SIGGRAPH 2015 announcements—and we have many reports still to come, plus Akiko Ashley’s major feature field reports—Disney’s Pixar unit announced the latest RenderMan 20 news for the industry. The company also presented a revolutionary insight into the development of RenderMan’s advanced RIS technology and showcased how RenderMan is making waves throughout the industry again.

Denoise Tech

RenderMan’s radical new denoising technology, developed originally by Walt Disney Animation Studios and Disney Research, can deliver the highest quality of images at a fraction of time. Rendering can be now faster with fewer samples, creating an initially “noisier image” that the Denoiser can then filter producing a high-quality final image.

01 - Denoising works on all objects and can handle motion blur, depth of field and much more. Images can be rendered faster and with fewer samples. All rights reserved.

01 – Denoising works on all objects and can handle motion blur, depth of field and much more. Images can be rendered faster and with fewer samples. All rights reserved.

In fact the Denoiser is capable of reducing render times by an order of magnitude and can handle shots with extreme motion blur and depth of field. It’s seems like the Denoiser is like a “make pretty” button.

Visualizer Integrator

The Visualizer is a new integrator for viewing a scene as RenderMan “sees” the geometry, showing wire-frames, surface parameterization, normals, etc … useful for turntables and portfolios. By switching on the Visualizer users can quickly position the camera, dial in depth of field and adjust motion blur to get extremely fast feedback for interactive production rendering, especially on large scenes and reduce cumbersome rendering work.

Marschner Hair

RenderMan now ships with special RIS Bxdf for hair and fur developed at Pixar Animation Studios for feature film production. Because this shader was developed and tested for Pixar’s own productions, the Marschner Hair is capable of producing movie quality results, quite literally.

02 - Rendering of Maya Fur using Pixar's production Hair Shader. All rights reserved.

02 – Rendering of Maya Fur using Pixar’s production Hair Shader. All rights reserved.

This advanced model for simulating hair provides four specular components, including an unique backscatter control for creating the most realistic results possible.

Physical Camera

The new Physical Camera in RenderMan fully embraces the imperfections of real-world cameras and fully simulates optical properties from tilt-shift focus, lens distortion, chromatic aberration, vignetting and more.

 Intuitive Holdout Workflow

Compositing CGI elements over live action is crucial for VFX work and the new Holdout Workflow in RenderMan makes this process simpler, making it straight forward to capture shadows, reflections, and other elements to combine them with a background plate during interactive rendering.

New Lights, Light Localization and APIs

Version 20 brings numerous advances to RenderMan’s lights. New streamlined light shaders are provided for the RIS mode, including a user-friendly Daylight Shader. Light localization is a new mode which can reduce noise for multiple direct lights, and finally customization of lights is now easier with a new API for light filter plug-ins.

Volumes and Maya Fluids

The performance of volumes has been enhanced in RenderMan RIS, including the ability to overlap volumes. Volumes of varying density, albedo, etc, may be nested to achieve physically accurate results. Additionally, RenderMan for Maya now supports Maya Fluids in RIS.

Free Non-Commercial RenderMan is available to download here.