Pixar Releases RenderMan 20
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.
For physically based rendering in general, it can take a long time for a render to converge to a completely noise free image, but RenderMan’s new denoising technology, originally developed at Disney, can dramatically reduce render times while delivering images of the highest quality. Now you can render faster with fewer samples, resulting in an initially noisier image which is then transparently filtered by the Denoiser, producing a high-quality final image. 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. Finally the “make pretty” button has arrived!
Developed by Disney
This amazing technology was originally created by Walt Disney Animation Studios and Disney Research for Big Hero 6 and as a result has already been tested and proven in feature film production. Today the Denoiser is also an invaluable component of Pixar’s own pipeline for the upcoming animated feature film, Finding Dory.
“The new denoising technology currently being used in our upcoming feature,
‘Finding Dory,’ has been incredibly valuable, allowing us to compute final frames up to ten times faster. We could not finish this production without it.“
John Halstead, Supervising Technical Director of Finding Dory
This denoising technology is another example where RenderMan is able to channel the combined technology resources of The Walt Disney Company.
Using the Denoiser couldn’t be easier. The denoising technology can be enabled with a flip of a switch, and the process can be completely transparent. When RenderMan renders an images, extra channels are written out which the Denoiser uses during a post process to intelligently remove noise through statistical filtering and preserve the details of the original image. The post process is quick, at approximately 2 to 4 minutes on a full 1080HD image. Because the Denoiser requires extra channels, the pre-denoised image can be much larger, but the requirement for additional storage is the only penalty for using the Denoiser.
Animation? No Problem.
The Denoiser can handle tricky animated sequences using “cross-frame filtering” mode, where the filtering for each frame also takes into account the pixels from the frames immediately before and after.
The Denoiser provides many knobs and buttons for controlling precisely how the Denoiser filterers an image, so whatever special challenges your scene presents, the Denoiser can be fined tuned to generate the best results possible.
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. Additionally, the highly efficient Visualizer provides extremely fast feedback for interactive production rendering, especially on large scenes that can otherwise be cumbersome to work with. Simply switch on the Visualizer, and quickly position the camera, dial in depth of field, and adjust motion blur.
RenderMan now ships with a 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. This advanced model for simulating hair provides four specular components, including an unique backscatter control for creating the most realistic results possible.
In reality nothing is perfect, and the new Physical Camera in RenderMan fully embraces the imperfections of real-world cameras. Now you can fully simulate 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 simple, 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, & 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 & 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.
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