Issue: Volume 37 Issue 4: (Jul/Aug 2014)


Pixar Continues Rendering Push

Pixar Animation Studios has announced a series of innovations in the latest version of its forthcoming RenderMan software that will radically impact the way film imagery is rendered and accessed by everyone, the company maintains.

This generational shift in RenderMan establishes an entirely new modular rendering architecture called RIS that provides highly optimized methods for simulating the transport of light through multiple state-of-the-art algorithms, including an advanced Unidirectional Path Tracer and a Bidirectional Path Tracer with Progressive Photon Mapping (also known as VCM). Along with major feature and performance enhancements, physically based, artist-friendly workflows, progressive re-rendering, and the established advantages of RenderMan’s traditional REYES architecture, RenderMan now offers two rendering modes within one unified environment.

With rendering technology constantly evolving, RIS represents a forward-looking framework through which Pixar can deploy additional rendering methodologies as they become available. RenderMan is the conduit through which applicable advanced research from within the Walt Disney organization will be channeled into the production industry, including in the forthcoming release, Disney’s Principled BRDF shader and supporting materials.

As a commitment to the advancement of open standards and practices, Pixar is announcing that, in conjunction with the new release, free non-commercial licenses of RenderMan will be made available without any functional limitations, watermarking, or time restrictions. Non-commercial RenderMan will be freely available for students, institutions, researchers, developers, and personal use. Those interested in exploring the new capabilities can register in advance on the RenderMan website for a free downloadable license at release.

The price of the current version of RenderMan is $495 per license for commercial use, with customized peak render packages offering built-in “burst render” capability. The upcoming RenderMan release will combine the functionality of the previously separate RenderMan Pro Server and RenderMan Studio through a flexible license, providing unmatched versatility in allocating artist or batch render assets at different stages of production.

The new RenderMan is being released in the SIGGRAPH 2014 timeframe and will be compatible with the following 64-bit operating systems: Mac OS 10.8 and 10.7, Windows 8, 7, and Vista, and Linux.

The Foundry Reveals ColorWay

The Foundry has introduced ColorWay, a brand-new application that speeds up and changes the process of iterating on and finalizing an image.

The offering accelerates the creative design process, giving users access to a simple environment where they can develop looks of 3D objects and scenes and then share a selection of iterations with clients.

The ecosystem also includes ColorWay Presenter, a free desktop app that lets clients pick the images they prefer and make real-time changes, allowing for instant feedback on designs.

A ColorWay kit for Modo, to let users import and export their ColorWay files into the main app, is available today. A kit compatible with Maxon’s Cinema 4D will be available soon. Using the ColorWay kit, users can export a .DCI file into the main app. They can then send files over to a client or colleague working in the Presenter app who can tweak it, then send it back. All color, texture, and light changes stored in the signed-off looks can then be sent directly back from ColorWay to the source 3D application in the .DCI file for final rendering.

Blackmagic Starts DaVinci Resolve 11 Public Beta

Blackmagic Design has begun public beta for DaVinci Resolve 11, a major upgrade with over 100 new editing and color-grading features. This new update includes major improvements in online editing plus context-sensitive trimming, onset file cloning, photographer-style color-grading tools, and a new collaborative workflow that allows multiple users to work simultaneously on the same timeline. The new version supports dual monitors and customizable keyboard shortcuts, a new spline curve keyframe editor integrated into the edit timeline, better collaboration with Apple Final Cut Pro X, and more. The public beta is available now free of charge for all DaVinci Resolve customers.