As you can see from the list below, there is a LOT of very useful information available regarding RenderMan. In addition to print-based material, there are a vast number of resources on the web. You are advised to peruse as much of the material as you can. But don't be overwhelmed. Start small, keep incrementally learning as you advance in your skill level and confidence.

RenderMan Courseware (TM)

Pixar is creating a set of high quality docs to cover every aspect of RenderMan. The course notes are available from Escape Studios.

RenderMan Spec

The 'Spec' is *the* last word on RenderMan, as it is the official, technical specification. Use it as a reference and to deepen your understanding of RenderMan. Also, if you want to write your own version of RenderMan [say, for the emerging handheld devices], this is the document that spells out what your software needs to do. Version 3.2 is the latest update of the Spec, with version 3.3 currently in the works.


SIGGRAPH course notes

Amazingly, all the past course notes [from '92, '95, '98, '99, '00, '01,'02, '03 and '06 - but not '91] are available on the web. Look for them at the RMR site (link below), under 'Books'. These notes are required reading for hard-core shader writer types and those wanting a detailed and advanced understanding of RenderMan.

Application notes [part of PRMan docs]

There is an excellent collection of documents called 'Application notes' which are short documents that focus on specific topics such as creating shadows, modeling for efficient rendering, anti-aliasing, etc.

Newsgroups, forums


The RenderMan User Group meeting takes place during SIGGRAPH (Wednesday) each year. Especially popular is the 'Stupid RenderMan/RAT Tricks' contest.. Links are at the 'RMR' site mentioned below.


The mother lode site for RMan-related info. Find it at If there is just ONE link you'd rather remember, make it this one.

Other courses, tutorials, links..

At the RMR site, under 'Offsite', look at the 'Misc' link for a bunch of sites with tutorials. Particularly useful are Steve May's Digital Lighting course and Katsuaki ["Kat"] Hiramitsu's site. Steve's 'RManNotes' is an excellent introduction to pattern generation using a layered shading approach. Simon Bunker's RenderMania site is also very helpful, as is the set of 'CG References and Tutorials' site by Malcolm Kesson. Deathfall contains wonderful tutorials on PRMan, Slim, BMRT, etc. There are even more resources available - RenderMan Academy,, etc.

It is also possible to use Blender (free!) and a free version of RenderMan (eg. Aqsis) together, along with additional (free) tools, to create a, you guessed it - free production tool chain. See blendertorenderman to get started.

A Brief Introduction to RenderMan - my course notes from SIGGRAPH 2006.

RIB files

Although you can use MTOR to translate *your* scenes into RIBs and study the results, you might find the collection of RIBs at the RMR site more useful. Look under 'RIBs' in the 'Examples' section. Even more RIBs are at my RfB site.


Shaders are RenderMan's currency [$$$] as they help calculate lighting and shading information. You can find dozens and dozens of them at the RMR site [under 'Shaders'] for your education and entertainment. It is often possible to start with an existing shader and modify it to do what you want rather than to start from scratch, so it pays [$$$] to know what is out there. My RfB site also has a lot of shaders.

Software, code

For those interested in writing RenderMan programs using Java, Perl, Tcl or Python, 'bindings' are available for those languages. Also, a large number of modelers, converters and scripts/utilities are also available as freeware, shareware or commercial software. Look in the RMR site under 'Offsite' for an extensive list.

Pixar - RenderMan info., trivia, merchandise..

Pixar's site contains a wealth of R'man information, both technical and non-technical. You can read about their feature films, shorts and commercials [all produced using RenderMan as the predominant software], look at a list of the movies where RenderMan was used, access all of the technical docs, get sample shaders and source code, etc.