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Tech Specs

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

Terminator: Dark Fate © Paramount Pictures.

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 24 is a landmark release with innovation in look-development and industry collaborations, making it the most flexible, powerful, and reliable rendering engine for cinematic imagery.

The RIS technology in RenderMan has matured and evolved into a highly-optimized framework for production needs and RenderMan 24 expands this toolset even further with new Stylized Looks for non-photorealistic renders, a new layered material system developed at Industrial Light & Magic, and an all new live statistics system.

With the launch of Pixar’s hybrid CPU + GPU renderer, RenderMan XPU™, artists can look-develop faster than ever, giving pipelines a suite of exceptional tools for advancing look-development workflows for feature film animation and VFX.


RenderMan provides major upgrades to Look Development, with many tools that improve artist workflows and complement the creative process, including the highly anticipated RenderMan XPU™.

Today there are many options for integrating RenderMan into VFX pipelines, including solutions from Pixar for Autodesk Maya, The Foundry KATANA, SideFX Houdini/Solaris, and an all new plugin for 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.

As we advance our animation pipeline, we look forward to using the new lookdev tools in RenderMan 24.

-Paul Baaske, Workflow Architect, DNEG Feature Animation

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.

The Lion King © Disney

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.

Soul © Disney/Pixar

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

Incredibles 2 © Disney/Pixar

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.

Godzilla vs. Kong © Warner Bros. Pictures.

Operating System Compatibility


64-bit Linux

Compatible with CentOS/RHEL 7.2 – gcc6.3 and glibc 2.17

64-bit Mac OSX

Compatible with versions 10.13, 10.14 and 10.15

64-bit Windows

Compatible with Windows 10



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 4GB of RAM and XPU needs a minimum of 11GB of VRAM. Maximum RAM depends on scene complexity.


VFX Reference Platform: CY2019. Custom plugins can utilize C++14 and must be compiled with gcc6.3


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

For more see the Tractor Overview

Cars 3 © Disney/Pixar

Tractor 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+.