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Pixar Has Three Major Product Announcements

Pixar Animation Studios made three major product announcements to users of the studios' Academy Award-winning RenderMan software and to every artist and studio creating cinematic quality imagery. The first announcement is unlimited threading across all RenderMan Products, the second is the upcoming release of RenderMan Pro Server 15.0, and the third is Tractor 1.0, Pixar's new render management solution engineered for computing networks of unprecedented scale.

Unlimited threading will enable studios and artists to maximize the power of their render farms, allowing each license of RenderMan to utilize any number of threads on the latest multi-core platforms. RenderMan Pro Server 15.0 will be the first product to introduce unlimited threading when it is released in the fall of 2009. This will be followed with unlimited threading for RenderMan Studio and RenderMan for Maya.

The forthcoming RenderMan Pro Server 15.0 is a key component of Pixar's core rendering technology and introduces several powerful new capabilities, including true volume primitives, major additions to the RenderMan Shader Language (RSL), Disney's Ptex per face painted textures, imager shaders, an API for subdivision surfaces, and more. This release will also include significant performance enhancements for rendering production scenes, including optimized memory management and improved thread scalability.

Finally, Pixar is also releasing Tractor 1.0, a new industrial-strength distributed render management solution built on an architecture designed to handle the largest multi-core render farms of tens of thousands of cores or more. Tractor's streamlined design simplifies deployment, configuration, and control while emphasizing scalability and performance of the job queuing engine. Tractor 1.0 has been built from the ground up using proven, open, and extendable web standards to remove pipeline integration and administration barriers, allowing the render farm to leverage commodity web technologies, tools, and practical expertise.

"With RenderMan Pro Server 15.0, Pixar has changed the way we approach volumetric phenomena." said Rob Pieke, R&D Lead at The Moving Picture Company. "Thanks to direct support for volume rendering and color bleeding, we have been able to greatly simplify our work-flow for rendering dust, spray, smoke and fire, while enhancements to the implicit field sampling allow us to produce images faster than ever."

"RenderMan's widespread use among facilities whose reputation depends on creating consistently excellent imagery is telling." said John Knoll, Visual Effects Supervisor at Industrial Light & Magic. "RenderMan's extreme flexibility, quality, and scalability have made it the standard among professionals that it is today."

RenderMan Pro Server 15.0 is compatible with Mac OS X, Linux 32 and 64 bit, Windows XP 32 bit, Windows Vista 64 bit and Windows Vista 64 bit HPC Server. All RenderMan Pro Server customers on current maintenance will receive unlimited threading at the version 15.0 upgrade. Separate upgrade pricing from RenderMan Pro Server 14.0 to 15.0 will also be available. Customers of RenderMan Studio and RenderMan for Maya will receive unlimited threading in new versions to be announced later in 2009. Tractor 1.0 is initially compatible with Linux 32 and 64 bit and OS X and will be available as an upgrade to all RenderMan Studio customers. It will also be available as a separately priced product. In addition, Pixar's maintenance program benefits customers with access to ongoing support and free upgrades for an annual price. For more information please visit or contact

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Rick DeMott
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