Pixar Animation Studios has set a Q3 release for RenderMan Pro Server Release 12 (now entering beta).
Highlights from RenderMan Pro Server Release 12:
3D Baking * The point cloud file format has been extended to support arbitrary data, and Pixar's innovative format, the brick map, supports data of arbitrary size. Together, any kind of data can be baked to disk and then retrieved with great efficiency. * New point cloud filtering tools support the computation of subsurface scattering and open the door to many special effects and optimizations.
Improved Volume Rendering * Volume effects, such as fire, smoke and haze, can now be created within arbitrary shapes.* Tricky atmospheric effects, such as smoke obscuring moving mirrors, are now made possible by decoupling the computation of the atmosphere from the traditional shading positions.
Significant Memory Reductions * Aggressive optimizations have reduced memory requirements up to 30% for large scenes.
Geometry Improvements * The Loop subdivision scheme is now supported. Loop subdivision surfaces are optimized for triangular meshes and henceforth is the recommended representation for meshes used typically to represent cloth and fluid simulations.
* The Catmull-Clark scheme has also been optimized resulting in significant memory reductions. Catmull-Clark remains the recommended representation for characters and other meshes comprised of facets with four or more sides. * Dense polygon meshes render much more efficiently.
Shading Language Improvements * Forward Message Passing allows shaders to send arguments to downstream shaders prior to their execution.
* Support for Varying Length Arrays has been added to the shading language.
Arbitrary Output Variables * General AOV improvements, including support for the subpixel hider and the ability to output multiple AOVs to a single file.
"Ri" Filters * "Ri" filters provide a powerful mechanism for customizing 3D data, including RIB files, read-archives, inline archives and procedural primitives.
OpenEXR Support * Added support for OpenEXR, allowing the creation of custom channels and providing support for HDRI via float and half formats.
Reduction of Ray Tracing Bias * Greater fidelity for ray tracing bias has significantly reduced bias artifacts.
Dicing Camera and Strategies * Improved control over the camera and strategies used for dicing.
Emeryville, California-base Pixar Animation Studios (www.pixar.com) has created and produced five of the most successful and beloved animated films of all time: recent Oscar-winner and animation box office champ FINDING NEMO, MONSTERS, INC., TOY STORY 2, A BUGï¿½S LIFE and TOY STORY. Pixarï¿½s next two films are THE INCREDIBLES (Nov. 5, 2004) and CARS (holiday 2005).