RenderMania






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.

Books

Newsgroups
  FAQ

Very informative, with the following contents. Here's a link to it.

    I.Administrivia:
        1.Q: What is the charter for comp.graphics.rendering.renderman?
        2.Q: What other newsgroups have closely related material?
        3.Q: Where is comp.graphics.rendering.renderman archived?
   II.General RI Questions:
        4.Q: What is "RenderMan"?
        5.Q: Where can I find documentation on the RenderMan Interface?
        6.Q: What's the difference between the procedural interface and RIB?
        7.Q: What features are required in the RenderMan Interface? What features are
          optional?
        8.Q: What do I have to do in order to call my software "RenderMan compliant"?
  III.Implementations:
        9.Q: What implementations of the RenderMan standard are available?
       10.Q: Is PRMan a ray tracer? How can PRMan do reflections if it's not a ray tracer?
          Was a ray tracer used for reflections in Toy Story? How about A Bug's Life? How
          about Toy Story 2?
       11.Q: Is there a Macintosh/OS X/Be/Other port of BMRT? In the works? Will the author of
          BMRT let me do the port to Mac/OS X/Be/Other?
       12.Q: How can I make objects cast semi-transparent shadows in BMRT? When I try, the
          shadows look fully opaque.
  IV.Miscellaneous:
       13.Q: What front ends (modelers, etc) support the RenderMan Interface?
       14.Q: What other net resources exist which are related to RenderMan?
       15.Q: Where can I get the Pixar videos?
       16.Q: What is the correct capitalization of "Pixar"?

RMUG

The RenderMan User Group meeting which takes place during SIGGRAPH each year. Especially popular is the 'Stupid RenderMan Tricks' contest hosted by Larry Gritz.

RMR

The mother lode site for R'man-related info. Find it at www.renderman.org

SIGGRAPH course notes

Amazingly, all the past course notes [from '92, '95, '98, '99, '00 and '01 but not '91] are available on the web. Look for them at the RMR site, under 'Books'. 

These notes are required reading for hard-core shader writer types and those wanting a detailed and advanced understanding of RenderMan.

Other courses, tutorials..

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.

Application Notes

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.

Shaders

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

RIB files

Although you can use MTOR to translate *your* scenes into RIBs, you might the collection of RIBs at the RMR site useful. Look under 'RIBs' in the 'Examples' section.

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.

BMRT is a **free** [EVEN for commercial use!] independent implementation of the RenderMan spec. by Larry Gritz, now at Exluna which he co-founded . The latest [as of Oct' 2001] BMRT version 2.6 and is available for Windows, Linux and SGI. Get it at the BMRT site . It is the perfect tool for  learning RenderMan and eventually for creating your own artwork and animations. Entropy is the commercial flagship product from Exluna currently shipping.

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, the latest update of the specification [July 2000], is available at the Pixar site.

Pixar & RenderMan info., trivia, merchandise..

Pixar's web 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.