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Pixar To Give Away 3D RenderMan Software

Soulskill posted about 2 months ago | from the building-a-community dept.

Movies 147

nairnr sends this news from the BBC: 'The 3D rendering software behind films such as Toy Story, Monsters Inc and Harry Potter is to be given away free for non-commercial use. RenderMan, which is developed by Pixar, has faced increased competition from rival animation rendering programmes such as VRay and Arnold. Although Pixar, which is owned by Disney, produces its own films, it licenses RenderMan to rival studios. In a statement, the firm said it would release a free version of RenderMan "without any functional limitations, watermarking, or time restrictions." "Non-commercial RenderMan will be freely available for students, institutions, researchers, developers, and for personal use," it added.'

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there is some evil in this (4, Insightful)

alen (225700) | about 2 months ago | (#47158677)

it's disney
the same company that makes me pay for ESPN even though i never watch it

Re:there is some evil in this (3, Interesting)

phrostie (121428) | about 2 months ago | (#47158737)

look up the history of BMRT

I'd be happy if they gave that back.

Re:there is some evil in this (3)

K. S. Kyosuke (729550) | about 2 months ago | (#47158915)

Oh, come on. They just want to kill off 3Delight or something like that.

Re:there is some evil in this (4, Informative)

Penguinisto (415985) | about 2 months ago | (#47159297)

Oh, come on. They just want to kill off 3Delight or something like that.

You're close - they likely want to kill off licensing money for 3Delight (you can get the engine yourself and use it for free). For instance, these guys [daz3d.com] license 3Delight as the render engine inside the DAZ Studio product, as do many other hobbyist and lower-end toolsets. They pay quite a bit for the privilege.

There's a decent amount of money to be made not by selling the engine as a product, but by licensing it out to other software houses, much like they licensed out the Unreal or Quake game engines. Making and maintaining a complex CG engine (rendering, game physics, subdivision, etc) is programmatically a PITA, and it's easier to use an existing wheel than to just re-invent it.

Re:there is some evil in this (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47158859)

Not "evil" but definitely "enlightened self interest"

They're trying to get poor/cheap students used to using their product so that when they graduate and become professionals they'll pressure their employer to buy them the software they're familiar with (which they can then charge huge commercial license fees for).

Re:there is some evil in this (2)

compro01 (777531) | about 2 months ago | (#47159063)

According to the site, the commercial licence is $495. Not all that huge.

Re:there is some evil in this (2)

ArcadeMan (2766669) | about 2 months ago | (#47159105)

Considering the cost of Adobe Photoshop, RenderMan for 495$ seems low-cost.

Re:there is some evil in this (1)

K. S. Kyosuke (729550) | about 2 months ago | (#47159413)

It used to be multiple thousand dollars per socket (or node?). Of course, now that all those people who were willing to pay for it had already bought it, they're aiming for people on tighter budgets.

Re:there is some evil in this (1)

wagnerrp (1305589) | about 2 months ago | (#47160245)

Does that include licensing for all your render nodes?

Re:there is some evil in this (1)

ldephil (868060) | about 2 months ago | (#47160673)

No. It's per node pricing.

Re:there is some evil in this (4, Insightful)

Charliemopps (1157495) | about 2 months ago | (#47158889)

It's just good talent retention. If your software is free to learn on... people will learn on it. Which increases your talent pool. Most of the Apple fanboys out there now are such because, when they were in highschool, apple was the only computer in the school... and therefor the only computer they had access to. You use what you know. It worked for Apple, it will work for Pixar... but kind of in reverse.

25 Years of RenderMan (1)

westlake (615356) | about 2 months ago | (#47159909)

It's just good talent retention. If your software is free to learn on... people will learn on it. Which increases your talent pool.

I don't see retention or recruitment as a problem for RenderMan, which has been around since "The Wrath of Khan." and "Young Sherlock Holmes."

Movies and Awards [pixar.com]

Re:25 Years of RenderMan (1)

K. S. Kyosuke (729550) | about 2 months ago | (#47160909)

I'm pretty sure that both of those films predate RenderMan, and I vaguely recall that Young Sherlock Holmes even didn't use the nascent A-buffer/REYES technology but rather was done using image manipulation rather than image synthesis (have to read up on that again, though).

Re:there is some evil in this (-1, Flamebait)

geekoid (135745) | about 2 months ago | (#47158935)

yes Disney MAKES you pay for cable. I"m sure they have a gun right at your head every month when you pay.

The cable company has a package of what they offer You take it or YOU leave it.

I should complain to Saturn* because they made me pay for a spare tire I never used.

*hahaha...

Re:there is some evil in this (3, Insightful)

alen (225700) | about 2 months ago | (#47158981)

disney says you have to put ESPN into the basic cable tier along with the three dozen other channels on it. i watch sports, but ESPN is crap. it's either talk shows or niche sports like drag racing

Re:there is some evil in this (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47159211)

but ESPN is crap. it's either talk shows or niche sports like drag racing

The supplemental ESPN channels are much better. In college I remember getting ESPN 2 and there were some good things on there. I remember coming back from a class and watching some sort of dogs-catching-Frisbees-as-they-highdive-into-a-pool competition for a while before I had to head off to my next class. Still no idea how to find that again.

Also, don't forget ESPN 8 (the ocho).

Re:there is some evil in this (1)

alen (225700) | about 2 months ago | (#47159257)

they do have a lot of college sports, but i don't follow it that much. Mets, Yankees, Nets and Rangers is all i have time for

Re:there is some evil in this (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47159321)

Rags suck!
  -- an Islanders fan

Re:there is some evil in this (2)

viperidaenz (2515578) | about 2 months ago | (#47159739)

Islanders suck!

-- A whateverthefuckgametheIslandersplay non-supporter.

Re:there is some evil in this (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47159337)

ESPN is not in basic cable most places. It is in extended basic. You don't need to pay for it if you just want basic. There have been many studies that show that even though we all think we want a la cart channel selection that it would end up being more expensive for most people...

What does "basic cable" mean to the majority? (1)

tepples (727027) | about 2 months ago | (#47160211)

ESPN is not in basic cable most places. It is in extended basic.

I was under the impression that to most people, "basic cable" meant expanded basic (which Xfinity now calls "Digital Starter"), not limited basic (locals + public access + home shopping).

Re:there is some evil in this (1)

westlake (615356) | about 2 months ago | (#47160021)

i watch sports, but ESPN is crap. it's either talk shows or niche sports like drag racing

must be a lot of drag racing fans out there.

3,259,000 Prime-time Average Viewers Week Ending June 1, 2014

[about 1/2 adults 18-49]

ESPN Wins Week With Cable Primetime Adults 18-49 & Total Primetime Viewers [zap2it.com]

Re:there is some evil in this (5, Insightful)

Penguinisto (415985) | about 2 months ago | (#47159609)

yes Disney MAKES you pay for cable.

I think his point is this: Try getting cable or sat television without a Disney-owned channel on it.

Sure, you can cut the cable and all, but it's kind of funny that Disney has insinuated themselves that damned deeply into the entertainment industry, no?

Think of it as not being able to get municipal water without being forced to have Brawndo pumped into the pipes at regular intervals throughout the day. I mean, sure you can drill a well and get your own water and all, but...

Disney owns ABC (1)

tepples (727027) | about 2 months ago | (#47160225)

Try getting cable or sat television without a Disney-owned channel on it.

That's impossible because of must-carry. Try getting broadcast television without a Disney-owned channel on it.

Re:Disney owns ABC (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47160575)

Must carry does not exist anymore. It was part of the dergulation in the 90s. But now ABC can ask to get paid (and they do).

Re:there is some evil in this (2, Interesting)

westlake (615356) | about 2 months ago | (#47160495)

Sure, you can cut the cable and all, but it's kind of funny that Disney has insinuated themselves that damned deeply into the entertainment industry, no?

You have got to be kidding.

Disney has a ninety year backlist of family-oriented feature films, shorts and television productions.

Its archives essentially intact and in a state suitable for commercial distribution.

Disney jump-started the ABC television network beginning in 1954 with Disneyland. Disney and Warner Brothers were the first of the "majors" to move into network television production in a really big way. with a handsome pay-off for everyone involved.

Disney's move to all-color production in 1961 did the same for NBC and color TV sales.

The pattern repeats with the introduction of cable, VHS, DVD, Blu-Ray...and now streaming media.

The original Menzel version of "Let It Go" distributed free and without copy protection as licensed HD Disney Studio animation is approaching 250 million page views on YouTube. I'll let you work out how that word-of-mouth translates into rental and sales of the movie and soundtrack alone.

Re:there is some evil in this (1)

viperidaenz (2515578) | about 2 months ago | (#47159373)

It's a sales tool.
The more people who use it and know how to use it properly, the more paying customers they'll get.
If everyone coming out of university and design schools already know how to use RenderMan, what do you think companies will buy?

Re:there is some evil in this (1)

viperidaenz (2515578) | about 2 months ago | (#47159423)

Some of the channels in basic packages are there to lower the cost.

Re:there is some evil in this (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47159537)

they own the copyright on anything you create for your life span plus seventy years.

I'll get back at them! (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47159875)

I plan on using this software to make a movie like "Cars" only called "Dildoes".

Then there's my porn movie the "Awesomes" and you guess it, it'll be like the "Incredibles."

Oh, and wait till you see MY version of Toy Story - Oh! There WILL be toys!!

But is it (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47158729)

A Mickey Mouse product?

Wow... this is actually pretty big (1)

Em Adespoton (792954) | about 2 months ago | (#47158763)

"Non-commercial RenderMan will be freely available for ... developers...," it added.'

Forget the others; they're basically saying anyone not making commercial feature films can use it for free -- which means small software developers can now create excellent animation sequences for free, as long as they can actually do decent animation. This could usher in Pixar-level animation in App-style games, which would be significantly better than the current options.

Here we come, Bendy Luxo apps!

Re:Wow... this is actually pretty big (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47158821)

you have no idea what you are talking about. Pixar renderman in an app?

Re:Wow... this is actually pretty big (1)

K. S. Kyosuke (729550) | about 2 months ago | (#47158973)

PRMan, I believe, has always been linkable as a shared library. But that still provides rather limited benefits.

Re:Wow... this is actually pretty big (5, Funny)

PRMan (959735) | about 2 months ago | (#47159979)

I am most assuredly NOT linkable as a shared library! ;)

Re:Wow... this is actually pretty big (4, Funny)

K. S. Kyosuke (729550) | about 2 months ago | (#47160699)

Ah, the ancient trick with registering yourself under a relevant nick ten years before I make a comment? Like I'm going to fall for that!

Re:Wow... this is actually pretty big (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47159621)

I think he's talking about cut-scenes. At least i hope that is what he's talking about.

Re:Wow... this is actually pretty big (1)

Hadlock (143607) | about 2 months ago | (#47158823)

What happens to Blender? Will RenderMan have the ability to replace Blender as an all-in-one 3D modeling/sculpting/rigging/animation/rendering engine, or is RenderMan only an animation/rendering engine?

Re:Wow... this is actually pretty big (1)

Narcocide (102829) | about 2 months ago | (#47158923)

Blender will stay exactly where it is because some people will still want to have a tool that's actually free not just "free for educational uses only."

Re:Wow... this is actually pretty big (1)

Hadlock (143607) | about 2 months ago | (#47159033)

Does blender have a greater, lesser or parity feature set compared to RenderMan? That's an important question for the casual user. I use blender quite a bit for 3D modeling for Kerbal Space Program, but if Render Man is better, and has the features I need, then I might look at their free edition. I use blender because it's free and do about 20 hours a year of 3D modeling a year for hobbyist purposes.

Re:Wow... this is actually pretty big (0)

K. S. Kyosuke (729550) | about 2 months ago | (#47159069)

The usual response (applicable to many similar questions): If you have to ask what this means for you, then PRMan is not for you.

Re:Wow... this is actually pretty big (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47159285)

The site says Renderman has no GUI. It's a plug-in. They don't list Blender, but it's worth a shot to try to see if Renderman will work as a render engine for it. Maybe with BRAT or Mosaic.

Re:Wow... this is actually pretty big (4, Informative)

K. S. Kyosuke (729550) | about 2 months ago | (#47159481)

There's a feature disparity. Blender is mostly polygon oriented, but PRMan rather likes to chew on smooth patches. Blender's NURBS features are of lackluster quality, though, so you're basically left only with Catmull-Clark subdivision surfaces as the lowest common denominator. It's not that polygons wouldn't work, but you'd be missing on some of the coolest features of PRMan - or you'd have to make some geometry transformers of your own for the exporter. It's like running a car's engine on idle all the time. (Also, PRMan loves humongously complex scenes, which Blender is probably unable to provide. Again, you're running your engine on idle.)

Re:Wow... this is actually pretty big (3, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47159533)

RenderMan is primarily a rendering interface specification and a shading language definition. For convenience, implementations are also called RenderMan.
Pixar's own implementation and toolset (previously called Photorealistic RenderMan/PRMan and RenderMan Studio Tools) is by far the most successful. There are multiple other software implementations of RenderMan: commercial (3Delight) and open-source (Pixie, Aqsis). Also some dead ones (RenderDotC, BMRT).
Finally, there are renderers that have borrowed the concept and a lot of ideas from it (Houdini's integrated Mantra renderer).

Re:Wow... this is actually pretty big (1)

gmueckl (950314) | about 2 months ago | (#47159221)

In very simple terms: RenderMan is a software that is used to convert 3d scenes into 2d images. It would never replace Blender or other 3d modeling tools - they complement each other.

Re:Wow... this is actually pretty big (1)

luckymutt (996573) | about 2 months ago | (#47159477)

Renderman is a rendering engine with its own material and lighting system.
It is essentially a suite of plug-ins. You would still do all of your modeling and animation rigging, camera work etc. in Blender as you already know it, then use the Renderman materials and lighting and then Renderman would do all of the rendering passes and output.
Just like using v-ray in 3dsMax or Maya.
However, you would need to hope they have built a version for Blender, or have made a scene exporter and a stand-alone version of Renderman.
I haven't messed with Renderman in years, but the last I saw was it was only available for Maya. I hoped that's changed because I'd love to try it again, but I only use Max these days.

Re:Wow... this is actually pretty big (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47159641)

Don't worry, blender users can continue pretending they have a great tool while the rest of the planet ignores them because of the retarded choices of the Blender Foundation.

Re:Wow... this is actually pretty big (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47159783)

Could you be more specific about the retarded choices, please?

Re:Wow... this is actually pretty big (1)

exomondo (1725132) | about 2 months ago | (#47160651)

What happens to Blender?

Nothing, RenderMan is a renderer and some Blender users already use RenderMan, others use Yafaray or 3Delight or whatever. If anything more Blender users may use RenderMan as their renderer of choice.

Re:Wow... this is actually pretty big (3, Insightful)

vux984 (928602) | about 2 months ago | (#47158827)

Pretty sure you reading it wrong. You can get a copy of it for free as a developer; presumably to play with it, maybe develop free plugins for it etc.

I certainly don't read it as being free for you to make animation for commerial apps. (regular paid apps, freemium, or ad supported)

Re:Wow... this is actually pretty big (1)

Em Adespoton (792954) | about 2 months ago | (#47158997)

Shoot... I think you're right. Oh well :(

Re:Wow... this is actually pretty big (2)

timeOday (582209) | about 2 months ago | (#47159003)

No, but if there is really no watermarking, they are effectively giving up on controlling small-scale commercial use.

They must only be getting licensing fees from other big companies (too big to use it on the sly), and decided to sacrifice any potential of selling it for a couple hundred bucks per pop, in order to cement their market at the high end.

Re:Wow... this is actually pretty big (3)

gmueckl (950314) | about 2 months ago | (#47159311)

The high end is where RenderMan shines. This is a tool for experts. The studios that use RenderMan pay people to become experts in very specific domains (modeling, shading and lighting are separate domains for these people) and this software has been the ultimate tool for the shading and lighting stages for the last 2 decades.

However, as the summary notes, Arnold is the new shooting star among production renderers. It's a completely different beast - different basic algorithms which imply different ways of dealing with it, but at the benefit that the results usually obey the laws of physics without further ado. RenderMan was never designed to work that way, yet this is what the VFX industry moves towards.

Re:Wow... this is actually pretty big (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47159577)

Do you think there are small-scale commercial developers that are dumb enough to take the risk of using RenderMan without a license when fully free alternatives like Blender 3D exist? It's a tiny, tiny risk but tiny are the benefits, if any, that RenderMan has over Blender 3D for such small-scale use, at least.

Re:Wow... this is actually pretty big (1)

cheater512 (783349) | about 2 months ago | (#47158835)

Erm aren't "small software developers" usually excluded by the non-commercial bit?

Re:Wow... this is actually pretty big (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47158927)

What about developers that are not small? I mean just because I am a big man does not mean I do not like to render.

Re:Wow... this is actually pretty big (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47158941)

Why only small developers. Just because I am a big man does not mean I should be excluded.

Re:Wow... this is actually pretty big (1)

angularbanjo (1521611) | about 2 months ago | (#47158841)

... no it reads like 'any' commercial use. So we're safe from versions of Candy Crush Saga with sub-surface scattering for a while yet

Re:Wow... this is actually pretty big (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47158873)

As long as those games are free (and not free-to-play, but actually free). If it's being sold, it's commerical.

Re:Wow... this is actually pretty big (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47159895)

As long as those games are free (and not free-to-play, but actually free). If it's being sold, it's commerical.

Just to further clarify your point: it would be required to be ad-free and donation-free, as well.

Re:Wow... this is actually pretty big (5, Insightful)

Registered Coward v2 (447531) | about 2 months ago | (#47158949)

"Non-commercial RenderMan will be freely available for ... developers...," it added.'

Forget the others; they're basically saying anyone not making commercial feature films can use it for free -- which means small software developers can now create excellent animation sequences for free, as long as they can actually do decent animation. This could usher in Pixar-level animation in App-style games, which would be significantly better than the current options.

Here we come, Bendy Luxo apps!

If I read their pricing schedule correctly a commercial license is only $495; so someone could create some animation and later buy a license at a reasonable price if they decide to do a commercial release.

Re:Wow... this is actually pretty big (2)

K. S. Kyosuke (729550) | about 2 months ago | (#47158955)

which means small software developers can now create excellent animation sequences for free, as long as they can actually do decent animation

Oh, come on. Compared with 3DS Max or Lightwave, working with RenderMan is like flying a Jumbo Jet instead of driving a car. "Why would small software developers" try to do that when many really small media studios don't bother? And I'm talking about people dedicated to doing video/film work, you're talking about a part-time activity.

This could usher in Pixar-level animation in App-style games, which would be significantly better than the current options.

Uh? What does that even mean?

Re: Wow... this is actually pretty big (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47159489)

That's what she said.

BMRT (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47158781)

I'm sure they own your ass when you get that animation done and someone wants to pay you for it.

Recruiting Tool (3, Insightful)

rodrigoandrade (713371) | about 2 months ago | (#47158855)

This is Disney we're talking about here.

And TNSTAAFL.

They'll obviously use it as a recruiting tool.

1. Release tool
2. Watch amateur animations spring up online
3. Hire amateurs who create awesome animations
4. Save on training costs
5. Profit

Re:Recruiting Tool (2)

geekoid (135745) | about 2 months ago | (#47158959)

Just like any other companies have done.

You overlook the part where people learn the skills also can make competing companies. Start there own company, and get free training.

Re:Recruiting Tool (1)

kevmatic (1133523) | about 2 months ago | (#47159169)

And are you implying that there is there something wrong with this?

People get to play around with a tool used in industry if they want, Disney (AND other Renderman companies) get better, more passionate hires, people have a way to get their foot in the door for jobs they want without having to put up money...

What's the problem?

Re:Recruiting Tool (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47159881)

Larger employee pool means lower salaries in a market that already has starvation level wages.

Re:Recruiting Tool (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47160123)

a market that already has starvation level wages.

We must have a different definition of "starvation level wages."

I would bet that Disney is more concerned with making the talent pool more familiar with their particular software rather than just 3D software in general. It's probably less about lowering wages than it is about ensuring that other animation studios license their software because that's what most of the talent is familiar with.

Re:Recruiting Tool (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47160895)

Yes releasing a free non-commerical license and lowering the commercial license cost for their distributed 3d renderer is all a big conspiracy to lower wages!

I would bet that Disney is more concerned with making the talent pool more familiar with their particular software rather than just 3D software in general.

Assuming you know what Renderman is how does this affect "3D software in general"? Or the industry for that matter when you have competing renders like 3Delight that are already free and watermark free versions of competitors like Arnold?

Re:Recruiting Tool (1)

Graydyn Young (2835695) | about 2 months ago | (#47159185)

This is also a great way to get their application featured in college courses. And if people learn how to do 3d animation in RenderMan first, they are going to more inclined to use it on future projects.

Re:Recruiting Tool (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47159409)

Damn! You found out.

Blue Moon Rendering Toolkit (2)

c0d3r (156687) | about 2 months ago | (#47158911)

Anyone remember http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Blue_Moon_Rendering_Tools? There was a free version a long time ago.

Re:Blue Moon Rendering Toolkit (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47159801)

Ya it rocked.. but then the author sold it and started work at Pixar I think.

tl;dr (1)

alphatel (1450715) | about 2 months ago | (#47158937)

Damn I thought this said they were giving away Slenderman on Bluray. Kind of creepy considering...

Re:tl;dr (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47159125)

Didn't some stupid little cunts try to kill someone over this Slenderman character? Like yesterday?

Renderman old news, Presto new news (5, Informative)

clawsoon (748629) | about 2 months ago | (#47159027)

It might be that Pixar considers rendering old news, considering what they've come up with for animators:

http://www.cartoonbrew.com/tech/watch-a-rare-demo-of-pixars-animation-system-presto-98099.html [cartoonbrew.com]

If you're not familiar with computer animation, that might not seem like much. To the animators where I work, though, it induced a weird combination of frenzy (as they lusted after it) and depression (once they re-opened the scenes they were working on in Maya). The rest of the industry has to spend hours rendering (in Renderman, or Vray, or whatever) to get a result that Pixar is now creating in-house in real time.

Re:Renderman old news, Presto new news (3, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47159259)

Presto is not even directly related to rendering.

In terms of rendering, try making an architectural visualization with PRman. Try doing product shots. Try doing anything besides exactly what it was built to do within the confines of Pixar. There's a reason other rendering tools exist, and price alone is not it. Keep in mind that PRMan couldn't even do accurate reflections for the longest of times, and the general sentiment at the time was that it didn't need to be able to anyway, as few things in the movies it was being used for had reflective surfaces, and where they did, they could always find a work-around or use another tool. It didn't take very long for them to add a raytracing subsystem, though.

That said, rendering is more or less old news, simply because the computational power now exists to render things using physically accurate equations within a reasonable time frame without having to resort to cheats like photon mapping, render cache, etc. (even if many still opt to do so), and flexible enough to let artists bend the rules of physics where they feel it delivers a better aesthetic result. Moreover, this is within reach of prosumer budgets. Anybody serious enough can buy a decent graphics card, and VRay for [choice of animation package here], and off they go. There haven't been particularly great advances in core rendering technology shown off at, for example, Siggraph [realtimerendering.com] or EuroGraphics [realtimerendering.com] for a while now. Most of it is just about speeding up the existing computations a little bit more, or finding somewhat more efficient ways to do X, where X is usually a somewhat obscure portion of rendering that might not even be related to the visual at all, but e.g. transfer of properties, sound propagation, and others). If anything, there appears to be more research in Non-Photorealistic Rendering than there is in photorealistic.

So if all rendering is practically equal, where do you get artists to focus? On modeling tools, animations tools, rigging tools, etc. All the actual artist-side-of-things which can interface with whatever renderer they want (as long as they use reasonably agnostic shaders); which are exactly the areas where Pixar's tools shine.

Re:Renderman old news, Presto new news (1)

gmueckl (950314) | about 2 months ago | (#47159549)

That system is indeed quite nice. While I can totally believe that they can push that level of geometric complexity through a modern GPU at that speed, I am a bit at a loss about how they apply the animation modifiers while maintaining the frame rate. I guess you could get away with doing that on the CPU considering the low complexity of the control meshes.

Still, it's awesome. That's what you can pull off once to can afford to throw a bunch of programmers at such a problem for sufficiently long time...

An Intoduction To Presto (3, Informative)

westlake (615356) | about 2 months ago | (#47159595)

Presto is Pixar's proprietary, fully featured, animation package. Besides the main interactive application, Presto is built on top of a rich set of reusable libraries. The application supports integrated workflows for a variety of feature film departments including rigging, layout, animation and simulation. It also provides built in media playback and asset management tools.

For the purposes of this course, we will mainly discuss Presto's Execution System. We will use two common disciplines, rigging and animation, to illustrate how the system works.

One of the challenges in Presto is its integrated architecture. In a single session, the user may wish to animate or do some rigging or run a sim or all three without an explicit context switch. Some of these tasks do not lend themselves well to a multithreading environment, and yet must coexist seamlessly with all features of the application.

Presto Execution System: An Asynchronous Computation Engine for Animation [multithreadingandvfx.org]

[George ElKoura, Pixar Animation Studios, July 24, 2013]

Re:An Intoduction To Presto (1)

UnknownSoldier (67820) | about 2 months ago | (#47160141)

Mod parent up as informative

That PDF was a great read on the design of Presto. Interesing they are using Python in a multi-threaded context binding with C++.

One thing to note about this situation is that if, in the main thread, the call was made from C++,
then there would be no need to hold the GIL in the main thread, and everything would be fine. If,
however, it is called from Python, we get the hang. Moreover, neither subsystem knows about
the other, the locks are taken in client code. The client code could be smarter about the order in
which the locks are acquired, but that's not always a viable solution. In this case, the client is
calling out to a function in a library, and may be unaware about it taking the GIL to begin with.

One solution in this case is that, in the main thread, we no longer need to be holding the GIL
once we make a computation request in C++. Ideally, you would structure your bindings to
always release the GIL upon reÂentry to C++.

Re:Renderman old news, Presto new news (1)

UnknownSoldier (67820) | about 2 months ago | (#47159799)

Thanks for that link.

I didn't realize Rhythm & Hues filed for bankruptcy recently this year?!
http://www.scpr.org/blogs/econ... [scpr.org]

Yeah! (1)

nospam007 (722110) | about 2 months ago | (#47159209)

A gazillion Buzz Lightyear 3D porn on Youtube.

Comming soon to Youtube! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47159215)

Toy Story XXX

What's Pixar's RenderMan? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47159415)

Pixar's RenderMan and RenderMan Interface are two differentent things. Pixar's RenderMan is one of the best 3D rendering programs available because has beed developed by some of the best computer scientists for two and a half decades. It's expensive because it's power relies on crushing numbers in several computers (i.e. several expensive licences), there's almost no point to use it in a project with only one computer, but you still can do it. Also it's somehow complicated to use, and the secret of its power is that RenderMan is highly configurable using a shading language, you can program the look of every surface in the virtual world being rendered.

RenderMan Interface is a file format especification designed by PIXAR so other people can create rendering programs and transfer files between programs (the most common comparison is a Postscript for 3D scenes). There are several commercial, free and open source RenderMan compliant programs, some are: Pixie Renderer (http://www.renderpixie.com/), 3Delight (http://www.3delight.com/en/index.php) or Aqsis (http://www.aqsis.org/).

'Free' (1)

LetterRip (30937) | about 2 months ago | (#47159421)

So what they really mean is that to increase adoption rate, they need more people trained on it.

personal use? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47159435)

Renderman available free

Requirement: 200 core i7 server farm.

3D rendering is really great. (1)

140Mandak262Jamuna (970587) | about 2 months ago | (#47159485)

Forget Toy Story, and other pixar stuff. The 3D rendering has made real impact for the fans of the Superstar. It means the Superstar has become immortal. His latest release [wikipedia.org] has Rajnikant rendered by 3D software. Hollywood touches up its actors and actresses on the sly and pretends it does not do it. Kollywood shows the way, unabashed 3D rendering, quite openly, flagrantly! It says, "OK OK our Superstar is an ageing balding fella. [forbesindia.com] But look! he is young and spritely [ndtv.com] dancing with the twentysomething all thanks to 3D rendering".

Free, unencumbered license for "non commercial use"? Makes no difference, they already have it all boot legged.

smart move on their part (1)

WindBourne (631190) | about 2 months ago | (#47159561)

Get ppl to learn it, so that they do not have to train them.

In addition, if they give it away, but block their competitors, it means that they have a leg up.
Of course, many of their competitors are using OSS, so.....

Answer to Blender? (1)

NotInHere (3654617) | about 2 months ago | (#47159601)

My guess would be that they see the popularity of FLOSS Blender as a threat and want to gain market share by giving it away for free for non-commercial movies. Perhaps they also got tired of training their new personell, which used Blender before, to use their software.

Re:Answer to Blender? (1)

jones_supa (887896) | about 2 months ago | (#47159843)

RenderMan is only a renderer. It cannot replace the modeling interface of Blender anyway.

Re:Answer to Blender? (1)

luckymutt (996573) | about 2 months ago | (#47159855)

It is a rendering engine. It is not in direct competition with, nor do they see Blender as a "threat."
They are not even making a Blender compatible version.
RenderMan is only available for Maya.
If they are doing this in response to anything they see as a threat, it is in response to V-Ray who recently (past couple of years) released a version for Maya and it has been widely adopted in film and vfx.
V-Ray has been around for years as a rendering engine for 3dsMax and has really dominated. (I can't remember the last time I even heard about anyone using Final Render, Brazil, or even mentalray for that matter) Chaos Group has aggressively pursued the other major 3D platforms these past couple of years and has been adopted quite widely, and for good reason.

Re:Answer to Blender? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47160077)

Too bad Renderman cant do what Blender can. OR dont you know they are two completely different types of software?

Re:Answer to Blender? (1)

exomondo (1725132) | about 3 months ago | (#47160961)

Answer to Blender?

No.

I'll download and play with it . . . (2)

nehumanuscrede (624750) | about 2 months ago | (#47160059)

just to see what the differences are between it and Mental Ray and / or V-Ray. ( I own both ) Unless it adds some serious " just gotta have it " reasons over Mental Ray or the other commercial renderers, then most folks probably won't bother with it.

The new hotness, however, is GPU rendering. ( eg: I-Ray or Octane )

If Renderman supports GPU rendering, then it will gain a lot more interest as it won't be considered a deprecated rendering solution.

Renderman (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47160433)

Effective immediately, Pixar is also announcing that the price of the current version of RenderMan is $495 per license for commercial use.

beware if you use Windows: Renderman only works on 64 bit Windows Vista, 7 and 8. Too bad it won't run on my cheap laptop running 32 bit Windows 7. Oh well, the video card probably is too slow any ways. 3D graphics probably use more than 2 GB of memory too. I get low memory errors with Daz Studio 32 bit and Luxrender. yeah, I'm using Luxrender on a dual-core laptop... hopefully the CPU won't melt. lol and I thought Pentium 4 computers ran hot. hah.

I mean, I can barely play Second Life which uses OpenGL and some new DirectX 10 games are slow. Anyways, thanks for the post.

Re:Renderman (1)

fleabay (876971) | about 2 months ago | (#47160507)

I hope this is a troll post and you're not serious.

Because Blender and Luxrender on GPU is free. (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47160761)

I've been using Renderman on and off for over a decade but the combination of Blender And Luxrender being so fast these days has made caused advantages of Renderman to diminished significantly.

Great... (1)

rolias (2473422) | about 3 months ago | (#47160981)

Great... more non-commercial licensed stuff to confuse with open source...
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