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Advanced Technology from Pixar Animation Studios for Rendering VFX and Animation



Advanced Technology from Pixar Animation Studios for Rendering VFX and Animation



Advanced Technology from Pixar Animation Studios for Rendering VFX and Animation


World’s Most Versatile Renderer

With a new state-of-the-art framework optimized for physically-based rendering, RenderMan can deliver unmatched flexibility for any production pipeline.

Outstanding Features, Performance, and Price – See what RenderMan can do for your creative vision.

Production Proven

Not only is RenderMan used for our own feature films at Pixar, it is also used throughout the industry for rendering Visual Effects and animation, making scalability and versatility one of its core strengths.

That’s Show Business

Because RenderMan has been used on every kind of production, the software has already been pushed to every extreme, so it’s ready to render anything you can throw at it.  Just take a look at some of these movies…


Alien: Romulus

A Quiet Place: Day One



Deadpool & Wolverine

Inside Out 2

Kraven the Hunter



Ultraman Rising


List of All Movies

Cutting-Edge Tools

RenderMan delivers out-of-box production tools straight from Pixar and ILM, including materials and light transport…no development required.

Photorealistic Images

Physically based shading allows RenderMan to deliver highly realistic lighting with minimal setup, including full support for multi-bounce ray traced global illumination and ray traced subsurface scattering.

MaterialX Lama

Thanks to a collaborative effort between Pixar and Industrial Light & Magic, RenderMan ships with a state-of-the-art material layering system called MaterialX Lama, a component of the MaterialX standard.

Created for Artists

Pixar materials come fully loaded with all of the creative options for look development demanded by the shading artists at Pixar. Use Pixar Surface to create everything from glass to the most incredibly subtle skin you can image.

Analytic Physical Lighting

This new library of physically based lights offers standard features like color temperature, exposure, and IES profiles … but also includes specialized Light Filters which have been developed for feature film.

Extensive plugin support

RenderMan has seamless Xgen integration with Maya and supports the leading plugins, including Unreal Shave and Haircut, and Peregrine Labs’ Yeti.

Production Denoising

RenderMan ships with a state-of-the-art Denoiser, which uses machine learning and is trained with Pixar datasets, significantly reducing render times.

The Magic Button!

Now available interactively in Katana and Blender when using RIS, the RenderMan Denoiser is a completely new state-of-the-art denoising technology developed by Disney Research, which takes a new approach to denoising, using machine learning and training data from Disney, Industrial Light & Magic, and Pixar.

Limitless Creativity

The innovative Stylized Looks toolset allows RenderMan to deliver images beyond photorealism. Artists can render images that look like cartoons and illustration.

Beyond Photorealism

Move beyond physically based shading and lighting into a world where you can easily create a variety of styles for your projects. You can non-destructively control outlines, create sketch patterns, and develop a wide range of unique looks, including Anime, by using the same familiar toolset. This flexible system is limited only by imagination.

Built for Collaboration

RenderMan ships with the latest open source tools and comprehensive APIs so you can develop complex collaborative environments, for maximum pipeline flexibility


For studios using the latest pipeline tech, RenderMan can render directly to USD Hydra. Learn how Pixar uses USD in our Pipeline.

Native USD Support

A key aspect of RenderMan is support for the Houdini native USD “Solaris” workflows, enabled by RenderMan’s USD Hydra delegate. These new tools are the result of close collaboration between SideFX and Pixar’s RenderMan & USD teams.

Native USD workflows are also being embraced and developed in the Katana and Maya toolsets.

Bridge Tools >

Digital Humans

RenderMan ships with MaterialX Lama, a new layered material system developed by Industrial Light & Magic to meet the needs of the most demanding visual effects.

Historic Collaboration

ILM’s innovations with MaterialX Lama are exemplified in films and series such as Avengers: Endgame, and The Mandalorian and are being shipped with RenderMan thanks to a longstanding technical collaboration.

Production-Driven Innovation

MaterialX Lama allows you to mix and match entire material networks and layer them modularly. This system, a component of the MaterialX standard, is flexible and incorporates the latest developments in shading.

RenderMan at ILM >

Resource Agnostic

With RenderMan XPU™ artists can greatly speed up their look development workflows by harnessing the power of their GPU and can expect perceptually identical results when rendering final frames.

The Future is Here!

Pixar’s hybrid solution for CPU + GPU rendering combines available computing resources to accelerate production path-tracing, leveraging the latest developments in multi-core CPU and GPU hardware. XPU has been developed to handle the scale and complexity of Pixar’s feature animation projects.

What’s New >

Volumes & Particles

Smoke, fire, clouds, dust, OpenVDB… RenderMan can render it better and faster than ever with XPU support.


RenderMan has the ability to resume interrupted renders, redefining the animation approval process.

Happier Dailies

Checkpointing allows the renderer to make repeated passes over the image, refining it a bit more with each pass. While the image will be quite noisy during the initial passes, it is usually sufficient to give an impression of how the final image will look, instead of having to wait for a final frame, allowing daily reviews and more iterations of animated sequences.

Advanced Hair Shading

RenderMan ships cutting-edge hair and fur materials developed at Pixar Animation Studios.

Secondary Passes

RenderMan AOV and LPE passes can be edited interactively, providing artist friendly and robust workflows for compositing.

Compositors Rejoice!

RenderMan provides elegant methods for breaking visual effects down into secondary passes for compositing, including DeepEXR and Cryptomatte support. With support for both AOVs and Light Path Expressions, RenderMan offers a multitude of ways of writing any element of a render (SSS, Diffuse, Shadows, Z-Depth, Object IDs, Per-Light AOVs, etc.) into many popular formats.

Intuitive Holdout Workflow

Compositing CGI elements over live action is crucial for VFX work and the new Holdout Workflow in RenderMan makes this process simple, making it straight forward to capture shadows, reflections, and other elements to combine them with a background plate during interactive rendering.


RenderMan has a unique way of dealing with light transport, by giving artists and developers creative control over camera rays.

Cutting-Edge Light Transport

RenderMan provides 3 out-of-the-box production integrators, including Pixar’s own integrator, Pixar Unified, which has been battle tested in all the latest Pixar productions.

Maximum Flexibility

The integrator system provides all the necessary tools for studios to write their own integrators, allowing development teams creative and non-destructive freedom to experiment with cutting-edge technology, as exemplified by our new Stylzed Looks toolset.


RenderMan on Demand

RenderMan can be used seamlessly with the leading Cloud Rendering solutions, providing extraordinary burst capacity.

Fully Featured Camera

RenderMan’s motion blur and depth-of-field can mimic the behavior of real-world cameras, so RenderMan’s synthetic images can realistically simulate their conventionally filmed counterparts.

VR Ready

RenderMan is fully capable of delivering high-resolution animation for VR, including the new omnidirectional stereo. Simply render with the VR camera.

Motion Blur

In live action film, motion blur is the result of objects moving during the exposure of the film. The faster the exposure, the less things will blur. Conversely, a long exposure results in more motion blur. Audiences are quite familiar with the look of motion blur and creating this effect in 3D fast and efficiently is critical for convincing visual effects. Pixar’s RenderMan can mimic the behavior of real cameras, with extraordinarily fast 3D motion blur.

By default, RenderMan renders scenes with an instantaneous shutter speed, an exposure which is impossible in the real world. However, without motion blur the effect would look unnatural, as moving objects would strobe across the screen, causing temporal aliasing. Thankfully RenderMan is extremely efficient at rendering motion blur and has a number of options to help tune the final look.

Depth of Field

In the real world, when a camera focuses on a close object, the background can go blurry. This effect is known as the depth of field, and Pixar’s RenderMan offers many controls for creating this effect. With Pixar’s RenderMan, we can decide, depending on requirements, whether we want finite or infinite depth of field, an instantaneous shutter speed or a long one to create motion blur.

RenderMan provides us with several options to control how our virtual camera behaves, which is important for creating believable 3D imagery. Depth of Field in RenderMan is dependent on three main factors: the focal length of the lens, the diameter of the aperture, and the focal distance of the camera. With these controls RenderMan can convincingly emulate real film cameras.

Production Proven Render Management

Included with every purchase of RenderMan, Tractor is a modern and robust solution for network rendering, currently deployed at some of the biggest VFX studios in the industry.

What’s New

RenderMan®version 26 delivers advancements in interactivity and scalability for feature film animation and VFX

Interactive Denoiser

Now available interactively in Katana and Blender when using RIS, the RenderMan Denoiser uses machine learning to deliver state-of-the-art results

Fast and Accurate

The Interactive denoiser is capable of removing noise on images with very low average sample counts and is predictive of the full offline denoiser.

XPU Advancements

RenderMan XPU expands its use in production pipelines with a series of feature enhancements and core updates.

XPU, Better and Faster!

With adaptive sampling and light selection, XPU reaches another milestone in the road to full production rendering.

Production Lighting

XPU now provides a comprehensive shot lighting toolset thanks to support for all analytic light types and light filters, as well as light linking, and more.

Better Performance

Significant updates to RenderMan’s core give XPU and RIS greatly improved performance when
creating and editing scenes with many instances and textures.

Easier Stylization

Updates to the Stylized Looks toolset give artists new ways to express line work, hatching, and toon effects, as well as a new Canvas layer, which simplifies an important step in the stylization process.

More Features

Better Camera – Expanded XPU support for Pixar camera features, including tilt-shift, lens aberrations, split diopter, shutter controls, and more.
Bridge Updates – Support for Houdini 20, Katana 6.5, Maya 2024, and Blender 4.1
Faster Textures – Texture read parallelism has been dramatically improved, resulting in significantly faster time to first pixel in complex scenes.
Advancements in USD – Houdini’s Solaris receives several improvements including mesh lights and light handles, as well as new artist centric workflows to manage light filters.
Progressive Pixels – Fractional iterations in XPU can now be dialed in for greater control.
VFX Reference Platform – Updated to the 2023 standard.
For more see the Release Notes

Production Proven Tools for Artists

RenderMan now supports more 3D applications than ever before, allowing you to get creative with your favorite tools.


Production Technology

RenderMan bridge tools are used and tested by the biggest VFX and animation studios in the world.

MaterialX and Solaris

RenderMan is capable of rendering native MaterialX networks via openUSD, making material exchange easy and predictable.

Preset Browser

Access an extensive out-of-the-box library of materials and lighting presets with every RenderMan bridge product or make your own and share them between apps.


Robust support for the industry standard ACES color management system in all bridge products.

Next Gen Rendering

Look develop with XPU and transition seamlessly to RIS for final shot production in all bridge products.


  • Interactive and Offline Machine Learning Denoiser
  • RenderMan XPU™
  • MaterialX Lama, Layerable Materials
  • Stylized Looks for non-photorealistic rendering
  • Live statistics
  • Use RenderMan Inside the Viewport
  • Interactive Shading, Lighting, and Geometry Edits
  • Interactive editing of AOVs and LPEs
  • Interactive Displacement Edits
  • Light and Pattern Baking
  • Pixar Surface Material approximation for Mari
  • Plugin Support (Shave and Haircut, Yeti, Golaem, Realflow…)
  • Image Checkpointing
  • Advanced Pixar Patterns
  • Self-configuring installation with multi-version support
  • Dynamic Shader Binding
  • Easy Deep Data Output
  • OpenSubdiv
  • Precompiled and Fast Shading
  • Arbitrary Variables via Tokens
  • Comprehensive Python API
    For more see the Release Notes

Live Statistics

Watch your rendering resource usage live, thanks to a completely redesigned statistics system focused on interactivity and extensibility.

Made for Creatives

From the biggest studios in the world to the single artist, each RenderMan bridge tool is made with artists in mind, giving your creative ambitions direct access to Pixar’s toolbox.

Maya Houdini Katana Blender
Machine Learning Denoiser ✅ ✅ ✅ ✅
RenderMan XPU™ ✅ ✅ ✅ ✅
MaterialX Lama / Layered Materials ✅ ✅ ✅ ✅
Stylized Looks ✅ ✅ ✅ ✅
Bump Roughness ✅ ✅ ✅ ✅
OpenColorIO – ACES ✅ ✅ ✅ ✅
Native USD Support ❌ ✅ ❌ ❌
Viewport Rendering ✅ ✅ ✅ ✅
Light and Pattern Baking ✅ ✅ ✅ ✅
Offline and Optix Denoiser ✅ ✅ ✅ ✅
Image Checkpointing ✅ ✅ ✅ ✅
SIMD Hardware Accelerated OSL ✅ ✅ ✅ ✅
MNEE & Manifold Walk ✅ ✅ ✅ ✅
Pixar Surface Material System ✅ ✅ ✅ ✅
OpenVDB Support ✅ ✅ ✅ ✅
RIB & Alembic Archives ✅ ✅ ✅ ✅
RiProcedural Plug-ins ✅ ✅ ✅ ✅
Particles ✅ ✅ ✅ ✅
Fur and Hair ✅ ✅ ✅ ✅
Native Curve Rendering ✅ ✅ ✅ ✅
Native NURBS Rendering ✅ ✅ ✅ ✅
Advanced Pixar Patterns ✅ ✅ ✅ ✅
Dynamic Shader Binding ✅ ❌ ❌ ❌
Interactive Hair Grooming ✅ ✅ ❌ ✅
Interactive UV Editing ✅ ✅ ❌ ✅

Tractor 2

Managing the Toughest Renders

Tractor is a modern and robust solution for network rendering, capable of scaling up to the largest render farms.

For the Largest Jobs

Tractor is currently deployed at some of the biggest VFX studios in the industry including the Moving Picture Company, Double Negative, Cinesite, and Blizzard.

Production Ready

Tractor is production tested and specifically engineered to address the extreme scalability and performance requirements of today’s multi-core networks.

Cross Platform and Web Based

Tractor is packaged for each operating system, containing all of the Tractor components you will need, though each machine may only use a subset

The heart of it all

Tractor-Engine maintains the central job queue and dispatches tasks.

For Render blades

Tractor-Blade is aPython based execution server running on each remote node.

The Control Center

Tractor-Dashboard is a customizable web browser user interface providing centralized control of all render jobs.

Native Maya Integration

RenderMan® for Maya includes a Tractor License, coupled with out-of-the-box support. Which means native job submissions directly from your Maya session.


  • Powerful scripting interfaces
  • Native Maya Integration
  • Flexible resource-sharing controls
  • Python module extensions
  • Minimal computational footprint
  • Streamlined installation
  • Directory Mapping across Different OS
  • Major user interface enhancements
  • Open web standards
  • HTML 5 support
  • Can bridge to any application

For more see the Tractor Overview

System Requirements


Central job queue, installed on one host only Linux 64-bit (gcc4.4), Mac OS X (10.8+)


Task execution server, on render blades Based on Python 2.7, for: Linux-64, Mac OS X 10.8+, and Windows 7+.


Web-based user interface, job browsing and control Firefox, Safari, Chrome, IE11. No platform-specific plug-ins required


Job submission and advanced command line tools, on user workstations Based on Python 2.7, for: Linux-64, Mac OS X 10.8+, and Windows 7+.

New Features
Updated to Python 3 –Tractor is now compliant with the 2023 VFX Reference Platform.

New Tractor Product Layout –Tractor in now easier to install, maintain, and upgrade.

Query Tools – Introducing “tq” the tractor query command line tool. Based on proven Pixar studio tools, query live Tractor data from your terminal shell, from your Python scripts, or from the Dashboard.

Adaptive Farm Allocations – Dynamically allocate resources between people or projects using flexible limits.

Dispatching Tiers – Organize broad sets of jobs into site-defined priority groups. Create your own!

Custom Menu Actions – Create custom dashboard items to invoke centralized scripts.

Job Authoring API – Now easily create Job, Task, and Command objects linked together according to your dependency requirements, with Python scripts.

Simple Engine Discovery – Setting up Tractor is much simpler, with a new mode that doesn’t require manual nameserver (DNS/LDAP) configuration.

Blade Auto-Update – A new tractor-blade patch management system can automatically push out new versions to the entire farm.

Pluggable Authentication Module (PAM) support – A simplified system for password support.

Privilege Insulation – Allows Tractor’s normal day-after-day operations to assume the appropriate permissions associated with the specific users.

Dynamic Service Key Advertisement – Advanced usage cases can now take advantage of “Profiles.” For example, blades can offer a selection of capabilities depending on previously launched commands.

Resource Usage Tracking – Improved tracking of launched commands with the ability to record CPU, RSS, and VSZ metrics.

Configuration File Loading – A streamlined override system can help to clarify which files have been modified from their original “factory settings.”

Task Concurrency Throttle – Constrain the maximum number of tasks

that may run concurrently for any job.

Automatic Blade Error Throttle – Prevent blades from picking up new work

if they encounter too many errors within a given time interval.

Job Spooling Improvements– The many upgrades include faster

processing, better error checking, and bundling of required subsystems.

For more see the Release Notes


Deployed at the most demanding studios, RenderMan and Tractor have the power and reliability to achieve your creative vision

Modern Physically-Based Rendering

RenderMan offers a combination of unbiased and biased rendering techniques which provide both accuracy and technical efficiency

State of the Art

RenderMan version 26 features major updates to interactivity and scalability, thanks to significant advancements to Pixar’s next-generation renderer, RenderMan XPU

RenderMan 26 also features an interactive version of the advanced machine learning Denoiser from Disney Research. This release also sees enhancements in the features and user experience of Stylized Looks, notable speed increases in instancing workflows, and expanded compatibility with the newest 3D applications, making it a comprehensive update for professionals in the industry.


Today there are many options for integrating RenderMan into VFX pipelines, including solutions from Pixar for Autodesk Maya®, The Foundry KATANA®, SideFX Houdini®/Solaris, as well as Blender®. For lighting and look development, RenderMan offers a state-of-the-art system for interactive rendering that is capable of dramatically increasing the throughput of production scenes while allowing artists to focus on their art.

This intuitive system for creating photoreal and stylized looks, allows artists to create the most versatile and unique imagery conceivable.

Production-Ready Light Transport

Uni-Directional Path Tracer

The most used integrator, ideal for outdoor lighting and large direct light sources, this industry standard unidirectional path tracer combines samples from materials at hit points with light samples to estimate direct lighting, then spawns additional rays to handle indirect lighting.

The path tracer ships with source code for further customization.

Bi-Directional Path Tracer

For scenes problematic for unidirectional path tracing, the bi-directional Path Tracer, also called VCM integrator, can save the day. In addition to tracing paths from the camera, bi-directional path tracing also sends rays from light sources and then connects them. VCM can resolve complicated indirect paths and caustic effects that may be prohibitively slow to converge with unidirectional path tracing. Ideal for rendering interiors.

Pixar Unified

Pixar Unified offers both unidirectional and bidirectional path tracing which can be controlled on a per-light basis, so you get the best of both. It also delivers state-of-the-art light path guiding based on work from Disney Research for computer learning. The Pixar Unified integrator also contains functionality for quickly resolving caustic paths, a technique called Manifold Next Event Estimation, allowing caustic paths to resolve much quicker.

Custom Development

RenderMan’s robust APIs provide all the necessary tools for studios to write their own integrators and materials, allowing development teams creative and non-destructive freedom to experiment with cutting-edge technology.

Multi-Threaded and GPU Ready

To maximize interactivity, RenderMan has great scalability on machines with many cores and provides fast look-development workflows with XPU™.

Additional Features

  • GPU + CPU hybrid rendering for look development
  • Layerable Materials from Industrial Light & Magic
  • Non-Photorealistic rendering
  • Live statistics and instrumentation
  • Pixar Unified Integrator
  • Unique Unbiased Path Traced Subsurface Scattering
  • Physical and Artistic Hair Shading
  • True Opacity
  • Dispersion
  • Importance, Blue Noise, and Adaptive Sampling
  • OSL Patterns
  • Programmable AOV and LPE passes
  • DeepEXR Data Support
  • Cryptomatte Support
  • Watertight Displacement
  • Interactive Displacement Edits
  • Daylight Simulator
  • Analytic Area Lights
  • Gobos, Blockers, Filters, Portals
  • Emissive Geometry
  • Global Light Sampling
  • Interactive Lighting and Look Development
  • Maya Fluids, OpenVDB
  • Multi-lobe Bump and Normal mapping
  • GGX and Beckman specular
  • Tilt-shift, chromatic aberration, rolling shutter
  • Texture and Light Baking
  • Occlusion integrator and pattern
  • Light temperature
  • IES profiles

For more see the Release Notes

Out of This World Innovation

Developed specifically for animation and VFX, this release is continuing to raise the bar for look development and industry collaborations.

The Future is Here!

Version 26 delivers great improvements to interactivity with the interactive version of RenderMan’s machine learning Denoiser. RenderMan XPU, Pixar’s next generation renderer, also shows great advancements, including expanded support for shot lighitng.

Open Standards

In 1988 RenderMan established an open standard to describe 3D data: the RenderMan Interface Specification (the RISpec). Since then, Pixar has continuously developed RenderMan to push the limits of the core technology while helping to adopt and promote new standards for the creation of high-end visual effects and animation. In today’s continued efforts, RenderMan supports many open standards, among them: Alembic, OpenColorIO, OpenEXR, OpenSubdiv, OpenVDB, OSL, SeExpr, Ptex, UDIM, USD

Cross Platform

RenderMan and all its plug-ins are made for the three main operating systems: Linux, OSX, and Windows.

RenderMan Components

RenderMan DCC Plugin
The Interface
RenderMan is built specifically for every plugin to take advantage of the application’s maximum potential
RenderMan Pro Server
The Engine
RenderMan Pro Server crunches the data generated by your application plugin and renders the image.

Operating System Compatibility

64-bit Linux

Compatible with CentOS/RHEL 7.2 – 7.9

64-bit Mac OSX

macOS 10.15 – 13.x

64-bit Windows

Windows 10 and 11

DCC Compatibility


Hardware Requirements


RenderMan and XPU require a processor with AVX capabilities.


RenderMan XPU and the Optix denoiser require an Nvidia graphics card of Maxwell architecture or above.


RenderMan needs a minimum of 8GB of RAM and XPU needs a minimum of 12GB of VRAM.


VFX Reference Platform: CY2023. Custom plugins can utilize C++ 17 and must be compiled with gcc 9.3.1

Robust and Modern UX

Derived from years of experience, Tractor is a modern and robust solution for network rendering, capable of scaling up to the largest render farms.

Cross-Platform and Web Based

Tractor is packaged for each operating system, containing all of the Tractor components you will need, though each machine may only use a subset

Tractor Highlights

  • Powerful scripting interfaces
  • Native Maya Integration
  • Flexible resource-sharing controls
  • Python module extensions
  • Minimal computational footprint
  • Streamlined installation
  • Major user interface enhancements
  • Open web standards
  • HTML5 support
  • VFX Reference Platform 2023

For more see the Tractor Overview

System Requirements


Central job queue, installed on one host only. C++, Python, Postgresql (bundled). Linux 64-bit (gcc4.4), MacOS (12.x+).


Task execution server for render farm hosts. Pure Python (2.7 / 3.x). Linux-64, MacOS 12.x+, and Windows 7+.


Web-based user interface, job browsing, and control. Chrome, Safari, Firefox, and Edge. No platform-specific plug-ins required.


Job submission and advanced command line tools, on user workstations Based on Python 2.7, for: Linux-64, Mac OS X 10.8+, and Windows 7+.

Tech Questions

What’s new with RenderMan®?
What is the new Denoiser in RenderMan 26?
Which DCCs is the interactive denoiser available for?
What is RenderMan XPU™?
To what extent can I write customizations for RenderMan XPU™?
What kind of GPU should I have for RenderMan XPU™?
What are the improvements to artist tools integration in RenderMan 26?
What are RenderMan Stylized Looks and how do they work?
What are the updates to the Stylized Looks feature in RenderMan 25?
How can RenderMan 26 benefit artists?
Does RenderMan retain its traditional customizability?
Are there different versions of RenderMan for different studios?

Product Questions

What 3D applications does RenderMan support?
What about support for other applications like Cinema4D® or Autodesk 3ds Max®?
Is Tractor included in the latest version of RenderMan?
How closely does the RenderMan team work with Pixar’s USD team?

Non-Commercial Licensing FAQ

When is the free Non-Commercial RenderMan available?
Is RenderMan XPU now available in Non-Commercial RenderMan?
Can I download previous version of Non-Commercial RenderMan?
How does Pixar define “non-commercial” use?
Can I use RenderMan Stylized Looks with the free non-commercial RenderMan?
Is the free non-commercial RenderMan restricted in any other way?
Is Non-Commercial RenderMan appropriate for Educational Institutions?

The Future Of RenderMan

What is the relationship between RenderMan and other R&D groups within Disney?

Contact sales for pricing

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