Tue 19th Nov 2013 | News
Pixar releases RenderMan Studio 18 major emphasis on lighting workflows including path-traced re-rendering.
On the eve of the Hong Kong SIGGRAPH Asia 2013, PIXAR has announced the major upgrade of the RenderMan Studio offering. Demonstrating a rather big leap in version numbers from 4.0 to 18.0 is not mean feat. Read on to understand how much they mean in this move. This is quite an upgrade. Major features in the newly released RenderMan Studio 18 include new controls for lighting, geometric area lights, and accelerated re-rendering, powered by RenderMan's path tracer. The standard shading library has also been expanded with features such as advanced subsurface scattering and support for per-light AOVs. In addition, the proprietary image tool, named "it," has been totally rewritten from the ground up, pushing much better performance for shading and lighting.
With this release, RenderMan Studio’s version is now 18 to better match the version of RenderMan Pro Server which it is intended to compliment. The previous version was RenderMan Studio 4.0. RenderMan Studio is Pixar’s suite of shading and lighting tools for Maya Artists, and includes the following components:
1. RenderMan for Maya - Brings the power of RenderMan to the Maya workflow
2. Slim - Powerful visual shader authoring and management tool
3. “it” - Image viewer and scriptable compositor
4. Pixar's RenderMan - An embedded renderer based on the latest technology
5. LocalQueue - Local render management
6. Tractor - Job management solution for render farms.
RenderMan Studio now supports the feature set of RenderMan Pro Server 18. This includes significant performance gains for polygons and volumes. RenderMan Studio has new lights, shaders, and tools to take full advantage of the latest features.
Laura Brousseau, Lighting Supervisor at Nitrogen Studios was hugely impressed with the ease of use and out-of-the-box performance of the physically based shading and lighting system. Nitrogen was part of the beta team given access to test the new renderer and was full of praise. "The new Lighting Panel makes handling and editing multiple lights a lot easier, and the rebuild of “it” has some great new features that we never thought to ask for. The re-renderer has been helpful in speeding up certain areas of our look development and we are excited to see continued advancements with this feature. We believe that it has never been easier to create truly impressive renders so quickly in RenderMan Studio,” she said.
1) Dramatic Memory Enhancements for Polygonal Meshes
2) Support for Layered Glass
3) New Ocean Shader
4) New "HoldOut Shader" for catching shadows for compositing
5) The image tool, “it,” has been completely rewritten from the ground up, and is faster and more feature rich than before.
6) Use the new "loosely bound co-shaders" to apply a single material over multiple materials. For instance, cover a car with snow with one co-shader attachment.
"The new unified sampling and path tracing system has substantially decreased setup times for artists and is a huge leap in re-rendering performance. Add to this the new ray tracing speedups, at times over 50%, the UI improvements, and geometric lights, and you have got the best version of RenderMan Studio yet," said Leif Pedersen, Senior CG Artist at Univision Network.
RenderMan Studio 18 is designed to provide every user of Autodesk’s Maya with fast and easy access to Pixar’s Academy Award-winning rendering technology, and is the gateway to the many stunning visual effects seen in the majority of today’s feature films.
RenderMan Studio 18 is compatible with the following 64-bit operating systems, Mac OS 10.8 and 10.7, Windows 8, 7, and Vista, and Linux. Autodesk Maya compatibility is with versions 2013, 2013.5, and 2014. For render farm dispatch, a license of Tractor 1.7 is included and additional licenses are available as a standalone product. For local workstation dispatch a free LocalQueue utility is supplied as standard. Pixar’s annual maintenance program benefits customers with access to ongoing support and free upgrades.