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Pixar's Renderman For Blender


Now that Renderman is available for free for non-commercial use, there were many requests for an integration with Blender. And guess what? An initiative spearheaded by Pixar now presents the first Blender to Renderman plugin!

MWY3510 writes:

With the release of PRMan 20, a small group of developers headed by Brian Savery of Pixar have been working on support for using Renderman and Blender together. This plugin is still in early alpha but has had many great developments in the last few weeks. If you are interested in harnessing the power of Blender and Renderman this plugin is for you.



    • I installed RM20 and Win 7 had correct path but it turns out that the DOS command terminal environment variable was still set to point to the RM19 bin. Restarting Win 7 synced the DOS env and Blender was then able to load the addon. Fantastic that Brian and group are doing this!

  1. So how does Renderman compare to Cycles? Do they have similar features and workflow? Not trying to start a flame war or anything, but would like to know strengths and weaknesses of each.

  2. Actually, the new Renderman RIS engine is very, very similar to Cycles. It uses the same Unidirectional Path-Tracing as Cycles and has a lot of familiar features like a wide range of BRDF shaders for making all sorts of materials. In fact I'd say that Renderman, Cycles and Arnold are on par in terms of pushing Physically Based Rendering as the future of CG. Where RM has the advantage over Cycles, is with its VCM integrator which adds Bi-direction Path-tracing which dramatically cuts down on noise in renders with difficult lighting. On top of that, RM 20 has a Denoiser tool which can filter out most of the noise which makes Cycles take so much time. Over all, RM is where Cycles should be in a couple of years and has so many things in common that it should be really easy for Blenderheads to pick up.

    • How can you even put Cycles in the same category as Renderman or Arnold.. Cycles is very immature, full of bugs, and only a simple renderer. It is no way near pushing Physically Based Rendering as the future of CG, that's just silly to say and shows how little you know about renderers.

      • Cycles is less mature, that's for sure, but it's become a viable alternative for the work I do, which is mostly product renders. I quite like it.

        I hope they put a lot more effort into Cycles soon, as it's attracting people from other communities to Blender, which can only be a good thing.

      • I can put Cycles in the same category because they all work the same way. They're all Brute force uni-directional path tracers -- all three use *exactly* the same approach to rendering so *by definition* they are in the same category. Renderman and Arnold both have the advantage of years and years of production use so they are more robust and optimised in many ways but they are not fundamentally different.

    • @rafaelp: Good question! As far as I know, the Denoiser is a separate program which post-processes the render so as long as you provide the right passes (it needs RGB, Normal, World Position passes at least and maybe other ones) it shouldn't care what rendered the image in the first place. I've got RM20 at work -- I'll do a couple of tests tomorrow.....

    • Unfortunately, no. There are some special outputs from PRMan that the denoiser requires. Basically they have to come from renderman.

      However I did add denoiser support to the blender bridge today...

    • 3delight? How about from 3delight TO Cycles?

      That would have immense appeal, in that sunday artists would suddenly have
      an expedient path from DAZ Studio and all their wonderful "content" TO Blender,
      where maybe a complex scene has been modeled, except for the human(oid) characters!

  3. Any Arch Linux user tried to use this? i keep getting a "PRman: exited" error. To install it i've used the makepkg to extract the rpm file and put the files in the /opt, i'm i missing something?

    • Ok i've fixed it, just needed to setup the environment variables, now i just don't know how to use it xD

      • Make sure the RenderMan files are in:
        and your license file pixar.license (that was downloaded by the installer) is in that folder also (or in another directory you like).
        Then add to your environment variables file:
        PIXAR_LICENSE_FILE=[path to your license file] (optional, in case the license is not on the default path)
        Restart your system session and the PRMan addon should work fine

  4. Very cool to see after all these years - big congratulations to Brian Savery who has done a lot of work bringing the old code up to date and pushing the fork so much further with all the modern PRMan features.

      • Oh dear. I guess CPU is fine for huge render farms, but for most users with a CPU and any average GPU in their PC, Cycles is going to remain much more useful for now.

  5. I have been using this, and I have to say, I really like it.

    I think it should be called "Blenderman" though :)

  6. This is great news, and now I hope to find this plugin to work well on OSX and Linux and there is some kind of continual support for it.

    Cycles is beginning to crawl, but I lack control or it and it is so slow for 1920x1080 animation. RenderMan will always be far ahead (because of the experts who develop it). Now I'm seriously tempted to save cash for RenderMan licenses.

    So, please don't abandon this plugin.

    - yearly updates
    - Export from Blender on Linux and Osx

    • "Cycles is beginning to crawl".... "RenderMan will always be far ahead...":

      ...except Renderman doesn't run on the GPU! Any average Blender user with any average nVidia GPU is going to get a lot more joy out of Cycles - unless Renderman's engines are so *vastly* more efficient than Cycles that a Renderman CPU render can beat a Cycles GPU render.

      • I'm willing to bet that Renderman on CPU could be faster than Cycles on GPU for certain types of scenes. For example, VCM is *much* better at finding lights than even Light portals for indoor scenes and the Denoiser is amazing in the way it can improve a render. I'd have to do some tests but I wouldn't be surprised if Renderman rendering 100 samples could achieve the same image quality as Cycles rendering 1000 for difficult scenes.

      • I suspect the 'average blender user' has little concept of how large of a scene that actual production level cpu-based renderers like prman can handle.
        Hint: If it can fit in the RAM of a $500 graphic card, it's not a large scene.

  7. Alejandro Dominguez on

    i have tried to installed it on linux in particular arch linux based distribution Antergos and had no sucess :(

    • Have you extracted the rpm using a PKGBUILD? a simple one for extract rpm will work, you will have to do this two times, the first one you'll get the renderman-installer in the /src folder (dont try to install the pkg created), run it and in the installer GUI follow the process, this will download the license file pixar.license, and the RenderMan rpm file to /tmp folder in your filesystem, copy it elsewhere and make another PKGBUILD to extract the RenderMan files from the rpm, now in the /src folder you'll have the RenderMan files inside /pixar folder, copy /pixar to the /opt folder in your system, and setup the environment variables:
      PIXAR_LICENSE_FILE=[path to your license file] (optional, in case the license is not on the default path)
      Restart your session, the addon should work now.
      I'm not sure if this is the proper method, but so far so good.

      • Alejandro Dominguez on

        i extracted the installer file got the gui file and download proserver and also got my license file then i extracted the proserver file (with a normal right click extract here)
        all the files are in te right place opt/pixar..... and then i set the environment variables , i copied and pasted the commands that you give and run them i tried
        export PIXAR_LICENSE_FILE=/opt/pixar/pixar/pixar.license
        export RMANTREE=/opt/pixar/pixar/RenderManProServer-20.0
        but the addon still not works
        i get this

          • Alejandro Dominguez on

            yeah ! i just notice that and fixed now the addon works pretty well , and i have to say its very impresive has so may features for been just an alpha or early version

  8. crushkittykitty on

    after installing this plugin my newer blender no longer can import .obj files. this pluging works fine for blender 2.74, but if you have 2.75 also it will break and throw errors. Then like in my case you can no longer import.

  9. Tried it yesterday a little and it looks really promising.. However I'm a little confused on how to use IBL/HDRI lighting using blender and renderman. Cause with cycles there is the "world" setting which can use a hdri in scene... Would creating a sphere and using environment light shader be a correct way of lighting a scene using HDRI??

    • That could work fine. However the CORRECT way would be to create a lamp (attach an RenderMan nodetree) and set the light type to environment and attach your HDRI in the map on the env light shader

  10. After registtry do i need maya to install in Windows ?
    How do i activate or license?
    I only use blender :)
    Can so me explain me how to instAll ame activate plz
    How The instalation works not so clear for me
    Thanks :)

  11. Very flaky on a Mac. Had to uninstall it. Also, I got crap-ware from the downloads that are posted. ZipCloud... not happy with this.

    • Dave and anyone else. Not sure where the link to zipcloud got posted, but I would suggest only downloading RenderMan from Pixar directly and the addon from github. I can't vouch for downloads from any other source.

      • I only downloaded from Pixar directly and the addon from github. I check my Time Machine backup and both apps were installed at the same time. Beats me where ZipCloud came from... ZipCloud has a bad rep being installed (in the background) with other apps.

        Just a heads-up for you guys...

        • I don't think your heads up is required - I don't know where you got zipcloud from, but it wasn't from either Pixar or GitHub. I've installed on 2 different Macs a week apart, and the second one I ran Casper Composer during install in order to be able to create a single unified installer package + create my own uninstaller. I just checked, and there's no ZipCloud going on anywhere...

        • Additionally, it all runs perfectly on both Macs at my end, so the "Very flaky on a Mac" statement can be taken with a grain of salt, especially given you somehow managed to get ZipCloud installed on your Mac without knowing how... I mean, God knows what else you've got going on in your system, right? :-o

          • David Brewer on

            God knows what your talking about.

            My Mac (system) is clean and safe. As for how PRman runs on my Mac is another thing.

            I'm not going to get into a back and forth dialogue why things happen or that (as you suggest) my Mac system is crap. PRmam doesn't run right as it should. I have never had any problems with Blender... it runs fast and clean on my Mac.

        • David,
          I really can't possibly imagine how zipcloud got on your machine. But I can assure you it didn't come from Pixar. Unless github is packaging malware in zipped downloads...

          If you want to email me off here, I can personally walk you through any installation issues, you can reach me through the github page.

        • Dave, I wasn't suggesting your Mac was crap - perhaps I wasn't being very clear.
          What I am suggesting is that your blanket statement of "Very flaky on a Mac" was inaccurate.
          It's clearly very flaky on YOUR Mac, but given that it runs fine on the 2 different Macs I've installed on (a 5 year old Mac Pro running Mavericks and a 2 year old MacBook Pro running on Yosemite, for the record), plus at least 2 other Macs that I personally know of that a couple of colleagues of mine use, would you not agree that the flakiness you're experiencing is likely to be specifically an issue with your setup?

          You go on to state "PRmam [sic] doesn't run right as it should."

          Again, on YOUR machine! The language and tone of your posts suggest you aren't prepared to accept that the problem you have may very well be specific to your particular setup.

          You've also provided no meaningful information about the issues you've had - simply stating "very flaky" and "doesn't run right" is pointless; how on earth can anyone help you to troubleshoot the cause if that's all the detail you're going to offer up?

          Hopefully now both you AND God know what I'm talking about...

          • The problem is the render hangs at the end of the rendering. I have ti force quit the PR exe file and no image file is saved.

  12. I installed this:

    This package will install RenderManNC-Installer for Mac OS X. This application will download and install:

    • Your non-commercial license to RenderMan
    • RenderMan Pro Server
    • RenderMan for Maya

    I'm I missing something?

  13. can anyone tell me how to change the output path for prman blender to a different location as in another drive. it appears to be working but I don't want output files going to my c drive. I also would have preferred to load renderman 20 on a different drive but it auto installed on c drive and the output is going to documents folder associated with user on c drive. I want it to go to E:\pixar I see RENDERPATH shadercompiler path shader info path texture optimizder path OUT SHD PTC and I have to chg all of these to get my renders to store on drive E??? not recommended??? it seems I would only nn to chg OUT which is currently $userprofile\my documents\prman_for_blender\{blend} it seems I would just need to chg this one but what is the $?? does anyone know. I can't find anything about it. I want output to go to E:\programfiles\pixar\prman_for_blender\ and what is the {blend} for? i'm still very new at this so sorry if this is a stupid question? help

  14. Is there a way to export from IT an image sequence. Right Now I can only render and export the timeline from Blender .

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