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Pixar releases RenderMan Pro Server 16.0

Tuesday, May 10th, 2011 | Posted by Jim Thacker

Pixar has released a major update to its flagship rendering package.

RenderMan Pro Server 16.0 features a number of changes to the software’s raytracing technology, including a progressive raytracing feature intended to provide interactive updates during lighting.

The update also features “new deep compositing features”, about which no extra details are provided, but which is presumably the same technology that has been in the news a lot this week.

Pricing remains constant at $2,000 per licence, following a 40% cut last year.

PRESS RELEASE (Excerpts)
Pixar Animation Studios has released version 16.0 of its Academy Award®-winning RenderMan Pro Server software. This monumental release represents another milestone for Pixar’s core rendering technology, offering a diverse selection of innovations, enhancements, and performance gains targeting the broad spectrum of requirements faced in today’s VFX and feature animation production.

This latest release features a large number of innovative advancements in RenderMan’s ray tracing technology, including a new ray tracing hider, a radiosity cache, and physically plausible shading. These milestones allow RenderMan to take full advantage of the ever-increasing processing power of multi-core architectures, while also delivering the tools to implement these new features with efficiency and elegance. Moreover, RenderMan’s new progressive ray tracing provides interactive re-rendering for production shading and lighting.

Additionally, RenderMan Pro Server 16.0 unveils new deep compositing features invaluable for post production, while continuing to advance Pixar’s award-winning point-based rendering technology with full support for spherical harmonics, enhanced threading scalability, and accelerated baseline performance. Along with many other features, such as vector textures and more realistic motion blur, RenderMan Pro Server 16.0 delivers an abundance of production-proven features and cutting edge innovations.

Finally, RenderMan Pro Server 16.0 introduces a free downloadable library to help the computer graphics community take full advantage of Pixar’s file formats in the cause of promoting open standards including a C++ binding for RIB and access to Deep Textures, with additional formats forthcoming.

“RenderMan Pro Server 16.0 fulfills every need on our feature request list. It lets us focus on the customizations we really care about for ray tracing physically-correct lighting in the cleanest way possible,” said Dan Evans, Head of Shaders at Framestore, London. “The speed of the new radiosity cache makes ray-traced global illumination practical in a single render pass, and we can now refine our test frames live using the new progressive ray tracing. Multi-bounce glossy specular, importance sampling, area shadows, and direct lighting are now a breeze thanks to the renderer supporting them all directly. Better still, regular ray tracing is staggeringly faster at 8X on some of our more complex stereo renders.”

“RenderMan Pro Server is one of those tools that keeps surprising release after release. The new version 16.0 incorporates so many enhancements and brand new features such as radiosity caching and an outstanding physically-based shading pipeline, that it represents a true milestone in the product’s evolution,” said Max Liani, Lighting Lead at Animal Logic, Sydney. “Spanning from the new feature set, to in-depth render logging, to the extensive documentation and customer support, it is very hard to find another product that is so balanced and versatile.”

Read more about RenderMan Pro Server on the Pixar website

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