Tech Specs

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

Merging the Best of Both Worlds

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

State of the Art

The RIS technology in RenderMan is a game-changing rendering paradigm, a highly-optimized framework for rendering heavy geometry, hair, volumes, and irradiance with world-class efficiency in a single pass. This evolution in technology offers best-of-class in rendering for both VFX and feature film animation. Today RenderMan is the most flexible, powerful, and reliable tool for rendering cinematic imagery.

RenderMan’s RIS framework was designed from the start to trace rays as fast as possible. With a new framework consisting of integrators, BRDF’s (written in C++), and intelligent light services, RIS is setting new standards for both speed and memory efficiency when rendering complex production scenes.


For visual effects artists, RenderMan has never been more accessible and efficient. Today there are many options for integrating RenderMan into VFX pipelines, including solutions from Pixar for Autodesk’s Maya, The Foundry’s KATANA, and SideFX’s Houdini. 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 the art of lighting.

This intuitive system for physically-based rendering and Pixar-standard production shaders and lights, allows artists to create the most photorealistic imagery conceivable.

Light Transport and Integrators

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 with complex lighting setups and caustics, VCM is a valuable tool to have at your disposal.

Custom Development

The integrator system allows for the most artistic choices and continued development. This allows our development team to introduce new integrators and experiment with cutting-edge technology, this allows non-destructive development for the future.

The integrator system provides all the necessary tools for studios to write their own integrators for full control, as exemplified in this Non-Photorealistic Rendering case study by Lollipop Shaders.

“What began as an interesting artistic exercise is now an indispensable tool.”

-George Lucas – Chairman of Lucasfilm

Cross Platform

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

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, RSL, SeExpr, Ptex, UDIM, USD.


To maximize interactivity, RenderMan has great scalability on machines with many cores.

Additional Features

  • Unique Unbiased Path Traced Subsurface Scattering
  • Physical and Artistic Hair Shading
  • Multiple Importance Sampling
  • Adaptive Sampling
  • C++ BXDFs
  • OSL
  • Robust and Programmable AOV and LPE passes
  • DeepEXR Data Support
  • Re-Written Watertight Displacement
  • Daylight Simulator
  • Analytic Area Lights
  • Gobos, Blockers, Filters, Portals
  • Emissive Geometry
  • Camera Projections
  • Global Light Sampling
  • Interactive Lighting and Look Development
  • Maya Fluids, openVDB
  • Multi-lobe Bump and Normal mapping
  • GGX and Beckman specular
  • Oren-Nayar Diffuse
  • Complex Surface Layering system
  • Physical camera
  • Tilt-shift, chromatic aberration, rolling shutter
  • Sophisticated visual diagnostic tools
  • Texture Baking
  • Occlusion integrator and pattern
  • Light temperature
  • IES profiles

Out of T
his World Reliability

Developed specifically for animation and VFX, this release is continuing to raise the bar for performance, quality, and stability.


Embracing New Technology

Now that the RIS Framework has been fully embraced, all legacy attributes and options have been removed (everything related to the now deprecated Reyes), allowing artists to focus less on knobs and levers and more on the creative process.

In version 21, RenderMan provides even greater memory optimizations and significant speed increases including volumes and sampling.

Operating System Compatibility

64-bit Linux

Compatible with gcc 4.4.5 and glibc 2.12 or higher

64-bit Mac OSX

Compatible with versions 10.11, 10.10 10.9

64-bit Windows

Compatible with Windows 10, 8 and 7

DCC Compatibility


Compatible with 2018, 2017, 2016.5, 2016, 201


Included with version 15 and beyon


Compatible with 2.0 through 2.


Compatible with version 2.76 or highe

Hardware Requirements


Make sure your processor (CPU) has the: SSE4 instruction set introduced in 2007. Cutting edge rendering requires cutting-edge processing!


Using the GPU Denoise requires CUDA 7.0 (compute capability 2.0 or later) and a capable NVIDIA graphics card with support. If not, Denoise will fallback to CPU automatically.


RenderMan needs a minimum of 4GB of RAM. For best performance we recommend 8GB of RAM. Maximum RAM depends on scene complexity.

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



  • 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
  • HTML 5 support

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+.