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Pixar Releases Next Generation RenderMan 24 with XPU

The software’s biggest update ever introduces a new shading system, stylized looks, and XPU, which provides live rendering capabilities for immediate feedback on assets.

Pixar has just released RenderMan version 24, the biggest update in the software’s history, which introduces its next generation rendering architecture for animation and visual effects: RenderMan XPU. The release brings major advancements to look development and interactivity for feature film VFX and animation. With the launch of XPU, Pixar has introduced to the VFX industry a completely new renderer capable of utilizing both CPU and GPU.

RenderMan XPU adds next level live rendering capabilities to the pipeline, providing immediate feedback on assets of feature film complexity, allowing faster iterations for artists. The release also features a shading system for layered materials called MaterialX Lama. Originally developed at Industrial Light & Magic, MaterialX Lama has been used in production for years, and the system provides RenderMan’s first step towards a deep MaterialX integration. Another release highlight is RenderMan Stylized Looks, a new toolset for crafting non-photorealistic renders.

“Release 24 is a milestone for film production at Pixar Animation Studios and also our customers to utilize the full power of RenderMan XPU in production,” commented Oliver Meiseberg, RenderMan Vice President, Pixar Animation Studios. “With layered materials and Stylized Looks we deliver a complete new set of tools for artists to push visual quality even further. We are very excited to provide RenderMan for the fast-growing Blender community to support their effort in great filmmaking.”

Check out the RenderMan 24 feature reel:

Version 24 offers other significant advancements, including OSL support to the GPU through a close collaboration with Nvidia, streamlined support for the industry standard ACES color management system, live statistics, cutting-edge advancements in surface realism, and a complete rewrite of RenderMan for Blender. Artist tools for Autodesk’s Maya, Foundry’s Katana, and SideFX Houdini as well as Solaris have been updated along with upgrades to RenderMan’s preset browser and library of materials.

“RenderMan was the obvious choice for our first animated feature at DNEG, and I am particularly excited about how well it integrates with Solaris and USD,” shared DNEG Feature Animation workflow architect, Paul Baaske. “As we advance our animation pipeline, we look forward to using the new lookdev tools in RenderMan 24.”

“ILM has used Lama to create high-quality modular materials for several years, and we’re very excited that our collaboration with Pixar will allow us to share it with the rest of the world, both in RenderMan and as part of the MaterialX standard,” added ILM Look/Render engineering lead, André Mazzone. “We can’t wait to see how talented artists everywhere will choose to harness Lama’s potential.”

"The flexibility of the new Lama shading system is going to allow us to approach our complex layered materials with greater efficiency and accuracy,” noted Laika CG supervisor Eric Wachtman. “With its robust set of responses and controls, it's an amazing release for look development."

Pixar has released the RenderMan 24 – White Paper for download here.

Additional information is available here.  

Source: Pixar Animation Studios

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