Pixar ships RenderMan 22.5
An image created by Pixar marketing manager Dylan Sisson using RenderMan for Houdini, a “completely rewritten” version of which has been released alongside the 22.5 update to the core renderer.
Pixar has released RenderMan 22.5, the latest version of its production renderer, adding support for editing displacement and volumes in the IPR, and providing SIMD hardware acceleration for OSL operations.
The RenderMan for Houdini integration has also been “completely rewritten” to support the new functionality introduced in the core renderer since RenderMan 22.0.
In the core renderer: live editing of displacement, parallel evaluation of OSL shading networks
In RenderMan 22.5 itself, the main change is the option to edit displacement and volume density in interactive preview renders, although at present it isn’t possible to create or delete a displacement in the IPR.
In addition, OSL shading networks can now be executed in parallel on Intel’s SIMD hardware.
Pixar says that it has seen an average resulting speed boost of 15% on a “variety of real scenes” rendered on Intel Xeon CPUs supporting the AVX2 and AVX-512 instruction sets.
Updated: Pixar tells us that the performance improvements should also apply to AMD CPUs that support AVX2, although the biggest speed boosts are with AVX-512, which AMD does not implement directly.
Other changes include a new planar projection mode for the PxrProjector node.
When using PxrSurface, RenderMan’s universal material, it is now possible to render mattes in a reflection or through a refraction, including points in world space.
There is also the usual list of smaller features and bugfixes: you can find a full list via the link below.
Integration plugins also updated to 22.5 – including RenderMan for Houdini
The integration plugins for other DCC applications have also been updated to support the new features, with RenderMan for Maya 22.5 getting the IPR changes and batched OSL execution.
The biggest change is to RenderMan for Houdini, which wasn’t updated at the time of RenderMan 22.0’s release: it has now been “completely rewritten” to support the new functionality added in 22.x.
Greater support for USD to follow later this year
Pixar has also announced a roadmap for its ongoing work to switch from RenderMan’s old RIB-based scene description to a new scene graph based on its Universal Scene Description format.
The firm plans to release a RenderMan Hydra Delegate compatible with RenderMan 22.5 in June 2019, making it possible to support third-party tools built on USD’s Hydra imaging framework.
Support for loading and rendering USD archives directly inside RenderMan should follow in “late 2019”.
Pricing and availability
RenderMan 22.5 is is available for 64-bit Windows 8.1+, macOS 10.12+ and CentOS/RHEL 7.2 Linux. The integrations are compatible with Maya 2017+, Katana 2.6+ and Houdini 16.5+.
New node-locked or floating licences cost $595.
There is also a free non-commercial edition of RenderMan 22.5, which can also be used for tools development. To download it, you will need to register for a free account on Pixar’s site.