When not fully justifiable crowing about ILM’s use of RenderMan on the latest Star Wars escapade, Pixar’s RenderMan team is also busily refining and building on the foundations laid by the switch to a new RIS-based architecture in version 18 of its industry-standard software. With version 20 on general release, the team is now inviting users to apply for participation in a beta test of the next iteration.
Described as a ‘game changing release’, RenderMan 21 will introduce more than 60 new features. Some of the key upgrades announced so far are aimed at Maya users, with a full redesign of the Maya user interface and the introduction of a new material and light rig preset browser. Pixar’s own movie experience has also directly influenced the featureset, with new lights workflow featuring the same lights used by the studio itself, along with new advanced materials as used in Pixar’s own productions.
Other improvements and additions including an improved RenderMan for Katana live render experience, built in OSL with support from Maya and Katana, a new and improved displacement window, volume rendering performance enhancements, deformation motion blur, plus GPU-accelerated de-noise.
Beta access is due to be available to all commercial customers on Pixar’s active maintenance scheme. No word yet on when it’ll be rolled out for all users. The beta access request page is availablehere.