So: What is the REAL Story on RenderMan?

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Old 01 January 2013   #16
In my massive class we used PRMan to render. I used my research from my thesis in delayed read to set up each agent as their own ribbox. That way PRMan only loaded the agents it could see.

wancow PRMan and i am assuming the other Renderman compliant renderers have neat dynamic read techniques. Similar to the binary proxy in MentalRay. You can assign some attributes to a proxy object, either a low rez standin or even a cube. In theory rman will only access and load the geometry when its bucket sees the geometry. Also it makes rendering animations more manageable, instead of creating a rib with a ton of high detail geometry per frame, you get a bunch of small rib files when you use standin geometry. PRman 17 now supports instancing. I would like to see how it works.

I know both MentalRay and Vray have made great strides in large scene rendering as well. i am just now learning vray so i do not know how it works. I think it uses a method of instancing, or something.
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Old 01 January 2013   #17
I would like to comment on a misconception that Pixars renderman is expensive and only for big studios. Recent changes in their pricing means that you can purchase Renderman studio 4 for maya for $1300, this is for the full pro version of Rfm which means you get the full functionality of RIB in and out and all the pipeline coding you ever wanted to dabble in if that way inclined (I'm not), full slim node based shading, advanced ray tracing, and a complete version of the latest prman renderer (exactly the same functionality as the standalone version minus the relighting workflow bit) in an embedded renderer in maya. If you wish to extend it to a render farm then add another $2000 for the standalone proserver renderer. The point I would like to make for a hobbyist or freelance, $1300 buys you all you need to have terrifically fast vdm displacement, pixars subdivision surfaces, flicker free motion blur and real dof, seamless ptex workflow, and great slim shading options out of the box without knowing a single jot of coding. Pixar have made quite an effort with RMS4 to make a simple friendly user oriented solution for people like me. Dont underestimate the power of renderman to chew through data without coughing up a spitball, or render gorgeous hair and fur with their deep shadow technology, or let you fiddle in the shading networks in slim. You can adopt a hybrid workflow depending on your needs which is quite flexible. I have used mental ray and vray for a few years and (Pixar) rendermans power and ease of use is quite a revelation. Also since its derived out of Pixars own toolbox its development proceeds apace and is targeted on producing a tool that provides real solutions to real rendering requirements. I have also found the support forum answers every question put to them and very helpfull. And no, I have no affiliation with Pixar just a happy hobby customer.
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Last edited by tonytrout : 01 January 2013 at 05:41 PM.
 
Old 01 January 2013   #18
Tony - I'm actually quite curious about the availability of Renderman for Maya. So the Renderman Studio and Renderman for Maya are the same thing? When I follow links to their store, there's only Renderman Studio.

http://renderman.pixar.com/view/renderman-studio

And the Maintenance Fee is what you paid annually to extend the license?
 
Old 01 January 2013   #19
Rms is made up of rfm pro, slim, it, tractor and renderer, but they all are integrated within maya (with embedded render in my case) so you never leave Maya when working with it. You are presented with a Renderman shelf where you open slim, rendering globals etc just as you would any other maya GUI. You can work your shading networks in either slim or the hypershade. I agree it's a bit confusing on their site. Email them with any questions, just a note, I wanted a single nodeocked licence but able to move it between a couple of machines and I was able to have the licence tied to a little USB nano stick which I can move as required. I haven't taken up the maintenance option yet but they quoted $300 per annum so I probably will for updates. The $1300 licence for my current version I believe is valid for 20 years but check with Pixar.
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Last edited by tonytrout : 01 January 2013 at 05:47 PM.
 
Old 01 January 2013   #20
Could be way off the mark here, but could it have to do with Renderman having its strengths in procedural shaders? From my (limited) experience people tend to learn texture painting and how to paint various maps can be used in more areas such as real-time graphics, is less abstract, and builds art/painting skills, a decent software render with nice lighting to show it off and its good. Renderman seems like using a sledge hammer to crack a nut in many cases.
 
Old 01 January 2013   #21
More off than on the mark.

You can hardly find more art directed work than Pixar films.


Originally Posted by conbom: Could be way off the mark here, but could it have to do with Renderman having its strengths in procedural shaders? From my (limited) experience people tend to learn texture painting and how to paint various maps can be used in more areas such as real-time graphics, is less abstract, and builds art/painting skills, a decent software render with nice lighting to show it off and its good. Renderman seems like using a sledge hammer to crack a nut in many cases.
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Old 01 January 2013   #22
RMS supports all forms of texture painting/mapping workflows. Ptex is a particular strength, but you can go the usual uv mapped route as well if you do a lot of texture manipulation in photoshop. Mudbox painting and displacement via ptex (seamless) is particularly well integrated, Im not a Mari user but I believe thats effective too.
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Old 01 January 2013   #23
Originally Posted by Mic_Ma: More off than on the mark.

You can hardly find more art directed work than Pixar films.

You know, I'm wondering if many of the misconceptions about Renderman come from people's experience trying to use BMRT (Blue Moon Rendering Tools)... in which everything was an abstraction and required tech skills above and beyond most artists' abilities...
 
Old 01 January 2013   #24
Originally Posted by wancow: You know, I'm wondering if many of the misconceptions about Renderman come from people's experience trying to use BMRT (Blue Moon Rendering Tools)... in which everything was an abstraction and required tech skills above and beyond most artists' abilities...


If there are any misconceptions about Renderman, it is because for many years Pixar priced Renderman totally out of the reach of the ordinary CG artist. They applied highend pricing, never tried to sell to the solo/ordinary CG artist, and working with Renderman used to be very technical/complicated compared to a more ordinary render engine.

Now, Pixar is probably feeling market pressure from up and coming renderers like Arnold and V-Ray that are marching into Renderman's market, so they are making an effort to lower price and make PRman more artist/user friendly.

There are artist-friendly connections to Renderman. If I am not mistaken, Cinema4D has a point-and-click/GUI interface to Renderman called CineMan that isn't very technical at all.

There may be others for Max, Softimage, et cetera.
 
Old 01 January 2013   #25
DePaint,

I do remember a lot of excitement surrounding Arnold especially in connection with the release of pmg:Messiah. (I just checked to see if that was still around, and it sure is: and at half the price it was, speaking of Market Pressure).

Anyway, those people I knew who were using Messiah used to love to rave about Arnold and how amazing it was. But it's interesting to me what you're saying because over the years, whenever someone brought up PRman the tone seemed to be tinged with awe and fear...

Assuming that you're correct, perhaps Pixar is deciding that this is not a good attitude for CG artists to have...
 
Old 01 January 2013   #26
Pixar doesn't care much for the sales of PRMan for the hard cash intake. Pixar cares about the sales and the userbase because it's additional and free testing and feedback, and because it means that a rather unique and circumscribed group is self sustaining.

I have yet to see them, ever, doing something to try to push more volume for the sake of sales/earnings.

If they ever change any formula it's to make sure they don't lose the client base they are interested in, seldom, if ever, they go after new markets, which would be what they would do if the point was making money off licensing (which is probably a single digit percentage of what the merchandising on just ONE cars or TS movie makes).
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Old 01 January 2013   #27
Originally Posted by tonytrout: Rms is made up of rfm pro, slim, it, tractor and renderer, but they all are integrated within maya (with embedded render in my case) so you never leave Maya when working with it. You are presented with a Renderman shelf where you open slim, rendering globals etc just as you would any other maya GUI. You can work your shading networks in either slim or the hypershade. I agree it's a bit confusing on their site. Email them with any questions, just a note, I wanted a single nodeocked licence but able to move it between a couple of machines and I was able to have the licence tied to a little USB nano stick which I can move as required. I haven't taken up the maintenance option yet but they quoted $300 per annum so I probably will for updates. The $1300 licence for my current version I believe is valid for 20 years but check with Pixar.

On that note, I have to say Pixar support is probably among the best I've encountered.
I no longer have a renderman license (can't justify the cost for personal use anymore), but when I did under a student license, they not only got joruneyed canada to offer it immediately(Wasn't on there before I asked).

they also routinely sent me lesson info/free tutorials if I asked on twitter (How many service reps can you say will respond on social networks?) and they fixed any issues I reported incredibly fast. I don't know many other vendors who would do that for anyone on a student license.
 
Old 01 January 2013   #28
The smaller, more selective vendors can be like that.
What and how you get things fixed though depends on where it's located and how pervasive it might be, but in general, yeah, they have an attentive support and solid communication channels.

DNA with 3Delight and SA with Arnold are the same thing, really, with no discrimination of type or size of license.

See the pattern there? Companies with a narrow userbase focus that hand pick their clients.
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Old 01 January 2013   #29
Originally Posted by ThE_JacO: The smaller, more selective vendors can be like that.
What and how you get things fixed though depends on where it's located and how pervasive it might be, but in general, yeah, they have an attentive support and solid communication channels.

DNA with 3Delight and SA with Arnold are the same thing, really, with no discrimination of type or size of license.

See the pattern there? Companies with a narrow userbase focus that hand pick their clients.

For sure, my point wasn't necessarily that they're the only ones, but just that they do seem very attentive to the customer. Some small vendors have been the opposite and some bid vendors have also been great.
 
Old 01 January 2013   #30
Originally Posted by ThE_JacO: Pixar doesn't care much for the sales of PRMan for the hard cash intake. Pixar cares about the sales and the userbase because it's additional and free testing and feedback, and because it means that a rather unique and circumscribed group is self sustaining


This may be true, but the strategy would be the same. An increased userbase means better sales, and more development. Weren't there rumours a while back that the guys developing 3DSmacks were basically pirating the software themselves to increase the userbase. That may or may not be true, but the same thing applies in that case if it was. Market insertion means a bigger userbase, more brand recognition and benefits development, which, you are saying, is what Pixar wants...

That's cool... it makes the industry BETTER...

Last edited by wancow : 01 January 2013 at 12:15 AM.
 
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