May 10-2019
Pixar Animation Studios’ RenderMan 22.5 version is set to accelerate workflow across the ecosytem

 Pixar recently released RenderMan version 22.5, that packs a completely rewritten RenderMan for Houdini plugin along with important new features and performance gains.

Pixar’s brand new RenderMan for Houdini plugin has been completely rewritten to support the latest interactive workflows in RenderMan 22. RenderMan’s greatly improved integration with Houdini includes interactive modelling, shading, and lighting. It’s also set for geometry ranging from curves, points, volumes, meshes and packed primitives. It’s interactive editing of lights and cameras and manipulation of light filters is also going smooth out many of the challenges that users hitherto faced.

RenderMan For Houdini

Blue Sky Studios Production Technology technical director Chris Rydalch said, “The new plugin is excellent. The integration is tight, it makes it easier than ever for our Houdini artists to work in Renderman! We’re all very excited to see the Houdini/RenderMan workflow get better and better!”

Universal Scene Description (USD) is Pixar’s open source file format and API is designed for describing CG scenes and data in a composed manner, facilitating concurrent workflows across multiple applications and artists.

Renderman Intel

RenderMan and USD are the backbones of Pixar’s production pipeline and RenderMan Development is working closely with Pixar’s USD team to make USD a first-class citizen within RenderMan. The ability to load USD archives in RenderMan is similar to traditional RIB Archives. Support for rendering USD is direct with RenderMan, that is with the command “prman myfile.usd”. These latter two will likely arrive in close proximity, but the final delivery date is still to be determined.

RenderMan business director David Laur said, “We are excited to launch RenderMan 22.5 with a new feature: SIMD hardware acceleration of OSL.  With this new capability, we’ve seen up to 2x faster full renders, and 15 per cent average speedups on a wide range of Pixar scenes using Intel Xeon Scalable processors with Intel Advanced Vector Extensions. Our joint development work with Intel and Sony Pictures Imageworks will be integrated into the open source OSL project to benefit all of its users.”

Pixar and Intel collaborated to bring hardware acceleration of OSL to RenderMan version 22.5. RenderMan now provides fully enabled SIMD hardware acceleration of CPU intensive OSL operations. Previous experimental work on this capability has been significantly updated for production use at Pixar and is now enabled by default.