RenderMan

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One of the fundamental pillars in the entertainment industry is a little program that goes by the name of Renderman.

RenderMan started out some 30 years ago when a group of researchers, headed by Edwin Catmull, began a very ambitious project to create a rendering algorithm that could develop photo-realistic CGI that was indistinguishable from live action counterparts. They came up with REYES, an acronym for Render Everything You Ever Saw.

REYES would become the backbone to soft-ware that would eventually take up the name of RenderMan in 1989, providing its true power and allowing it to shape the industry for years to come.

Today Renderman has truly cemented itself as the industry standard for every major production out there. To quote their official website “Pixar’s RenderMan has been used on every Visual Effects Academy Award Winner of the past 15 years…”

No small feat.

With each new multi-million dollar project that comes down the pipeline Pixar has refined RenderMan to an amazing level of polish that truly makes it worthy of the accolades underneath its belt. Its ability to process fur along with lighting/shading is something that leaves us Render geeks in awe. Combine that with particle effects, hybrid rendering, depth-of-field/motion-blur, and you have one hell of a tool that can handle anything you could possibly throw at it.

Considering where this fascinating piece of soft-ware started out and where it is now, it is inspiring to think where it might end up in five or ten years. Further developments in Global Illumination maybe? Or possibly further developing how textures are processes. The possibilities are endless.

RenderMan offers its services for the modest price of $495 per license on their official website. The average animator probably won’t be looking to purchase a license anytime soon but if you’re operating your own studio and looking to give your work that professional edge, then this is definitely something worth investing into.

Author

Zachary Green

Zachary Green is an award winning 3D artist currently working in Simulation Design and Development for the Oil and Gas Industry. zacharygreen614@gmail.com

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2 Comments

    • Zachary Green June 16, 2014 at 12:42 pm

      Definitely worth it if you’re not looking to make any sort of profit off of your work, as an exhibition piece.

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