the integration of renderman support…yeah!!
There are 2 different projects:
a) the blenderman script
b) aqsis plug-in
the difference of the aqsis plug-in is , that it aimes to convert native blender-shaders into aqsis shaders. this project it still is a part of the tuhopuu-tree, but has to be rewritten from scratch. so: all the work done so far is facing complete-re-coding. quite a task!!
it originally limited itself to this : convert blender-shader to aqsis. so the real power of renderman, namely the use of custom procedural aqsis-shaders, were not planned in this integration…at least thats what I heard
aqsis is a reyes renderer = scanline, it does not have raytracing incl., but thinking that the original Pixar PRman , didnt have it until recent years, and what it aws able to do…
anyway: the renderman interface is THE most complex 3d environment around. in the old days at pixars, everything was coded, even animation!! the most powerful part of the renderman interface is the ability to program custom shader. every shader has to be seen as a little program by itself and has to be compiled for the specific render-engine you are going to use.
when the blenderman script finaly came out with a neat interface, I thought hey, renderman. but it is far from just hitting the renderbotton and wait for your nice image to be rendered.
the blenderman script gives you a choice of different render- engines available atm.
pixars renderman is moving around 8000,-$ if Im not misstaken per node.
then there are a number of renderman compilant render engines:
aqsis - open source - check http://aqsis.sourceforge.net/
pixies - freeware- it does include raytracing, but is not quite ready yet.
3delight - free for non-commercial use- the most mature of the freely available renderman render engines
but as I said, it is rather complicated to get anything done what looks nearly as good as the blender native renderer (without raytracing)
I would not hope that a fully renderman integration will happen any time soon, just because of the complexity of the matter.
Ive been fooling around with it for quite a while now, and have to say, that it is a hard nut to crack! It does involve coding knowledge or at least basic knowledge of c (so you know what a variable, etc. is) as the shading language SL is based on c
I was using liquid lately and things turned out to work quite nicely, as I aproached it a bit different.
so what do I need to render with renderman? an exporter to .rib files. blenderman is very limited in what it can do and so is ribbit (the wings plug-in for .rib export)
the only real good exporters to .rib are commercial (pixars RAT-renderman artist tools, a bundle of programs to export from maya) and very expensive. in fact RAT cost more than maya ! then there is liquid, again for maya, open-source , but far from user-friendly, when it comes down to it. the renderman interface is far from user friendly!! it takes skill to use it (and I dont have it…yet…hehe)
to understand what it is all about there are some sites to learn :
www.renderman.org where you find more than 200mb of sample shaders, .rib and .pdf s to read
and there are some interesting .pdf at www.3delight.com
learning it is a long term project, I have been on and off learning it and now I try to look into it a bit everyday. but-
it seems overkill at first glimpse, and it is! there are some “short-cuts”, for example programs for visual shader “writing” such as “the tool”= shaderman and shrimp for linux.
but it is of course still necessary to know how a shader is structured and that knowledge has to be learned, reading, so at least you know where to cut and paste in e-macs…hehe.
anyway, I am looking forward to an aqsis integration in blender, but frankly would not recommend having high-fly expectations in the beginning, as aqsis still is in full developement and the integration will not free all the potencial power it has…yet
yafray is right now going through restructuring its code, so further developement after that will become easyer. I would not say, that once aqsis is integrated, that yafray will suffer from this.
example is mental-ray and maya. you can have both liquid and aqsis (or 3delight, etc.) for free and it is not taking maya users by storm. why? because it is so darn complicated!!!
pls. excuse any wrong-spelling! I just hacked that one in in a hurry