Pixar Renderman for Blender
An Intro to Pixar RenderMan for Blender, Tutorial using the RenderMan plugin for Blender, the free and open source 3D creation suite.
With the release of PRMan 20, a small group of developers headed by Brian Savery of Pixar have been working on support for using Renderman and Blender together. This plugin is still in early alpha but has had many great developments in the last few weeks. If you are interested in harnessing the power of Blender and Renderman this plugin is for you.
Step 1: Install the plugin.
If you already have, then feel free to skip this part. For those who still need to, go to this link https://github.com/bsavery/PRMan-for-Blender and download the .zip file. When you have it, locate the addons folder for your Blender directory. It will be Where_ever_you_installed_blender\Blender-2.XX\2.XX\scripts\addons (XX denotes the version you have ie: 2.75 or 2.74). Place the unzipped folder into the addons folder and start up Blender.
Step 2: Activate the plugin.
Go into the user preferences (Shortcut: Control-Alt-U) and enter the addons tap. Search for PRMan-for-Blender and it will come up. Enable it and you are ready to get started.
Step 3: Model the geometry.
Model your geometry like you normally would. My scene consists of simple geometry and looks like this. The camera is also a simple setup. If you want to follow along exactly, I have included a base scene without any renderman setup for download.
Step 4: Switch to the prman renderer.
At the top of Blender, you have a pull down menu that can be used to switch between render engines like cycles and blender internal. Just switch it to prman. Also when you start the plugin it defaults to putting all of your prman files in the documents directory. If you want to change this you can specify a location in the RIB output path option (in the renderman options panel). This only changes this for the file you are working on if you want to changes this option for all files then change the path in the add-on user preferences.
Step 5: Set up your lights.
For this scene, we are using geometry as our lights. I have placed a flat plane on the celling and assigned a PxrConstant material with a StdAreaLight attached. When you first place a material, you need to click the add renderman nodetree button, then you can add shaders. This lighting setup is quite useful and functions similarly to the cycles emission node but with way more options. The only two settings you need to concern yourself with are the color of the area light and the intensity. With different size scenes, you may need a different value for intensity (If your scene is black then use a higher intensity I had to use 20 for my scene).
Step 6: Set up the basic diffuse materials.
For my scene, I chose to make it resemble a Cornell box so I have three diffuse materials. Each one is a PxrDiffuse material with a different color. Red for the left wall, green for the right, etc. The PxrDiffuse material is a very simple shader and most of the time you can set the color and leave the rest of the options alone. The other options are too specific to get into here.
Step 7: Create the sphere material.
The sphere is the most complex material in this scene. It is a combination of a PxrDisney material and a displacement shader. To start, add the PxrDisney material. The Disney material is one of the most versatile shaders that is available. You can think of it as a combination of the diffuse, metallic and subsurface shaders in cycles. To add displacements, go to the displacement panel (below the shader panel) and add a PxrStandardDisplacement shader. Next, go to the node graph and add a PxrWorly pattern shader and connect it to the scaler displacement value of the displacement shader. A pattern shader is an input, like a texture or property, such as UV texture mapping (called manifolds in prman). If you want better control of the texture, you can add a PxrManifold2d pattern shader to the PxrWorly shader.
Step 8: Texturing.
For the example scene, I added a plane to the back wall with a simple texture attached. This material setup is similar to the cycles image texture setup. First, add a PxrDiffuse material. Second, add a PxrTexture pattern shader to the color input of the Diffuse shader. Now you can set the texture input. The same trick used for manifold mapping will also work for image textures. It’s that simple, but there are a few cautionary warnings. If you do not have a square image, it will be converted to one before rendering by adding black borders to the short edges. This may mess up your UV mapping. Textures also do not repeat. Any uv coordinate outside of the image will be black. Excessively large textures will take a minute to convert, so if Blender hangs up, wait patiently for it to catch up.
Step 9: Rendering.
Now that you have everything set up, you can simply click the render button or hit F12 and the render will start. If you like to use IT (Pixar’s image tool), make sure you have renderman studio installed (Maya plugin) and then switch the display driver to “it.”
If you want further information or need help, simply drop by the forums. https://renderman.pixar.com/forum/showthread.php?s=&threadid=28298
This concludes a simple overview of the PRMan-for-Blender plugin. From here you can start striking out on your own and make something truly amazing. If you are around long enough, there might even be another tutorial. Source: Renderman Community
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