RenderMan® Artist Tools™ Release Notes

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The RenderMan Arist Tools 6.5 release contains many new features and improvements, including significant MTOR features, powerful new Alfred data mining tools, support for RenderMan Pro Server 12.5, and dramatic enhancements to Slim, as well as (for the first time) support for Mac OS X. The 6.5.1 release extends support to three Maya versions — 6.0, 6.5, and 7.0 — and also includes several updates and bug fixes.

 Major highlights include: 

  • MTOR
    • Accelerated RIB generation — A new automatic RIB archiving mode has dramatically accelerated RIB generation times for large scenes, by up to a factor of ten.
    • Hierarchical Subdivision Surfaces — MTOR now provides full support for Maya hierarchical subdivision surfaces, including hierarchical UVs.
    • Maya Hair — MTOR now renders Maya Hair automatically, without additional setup. Additionally, MTOR also renders Maya Fur automatically.
  • Slim
    • Sleeker, More Efficient
      • A Revamped UI — The Appearance Editor, List View, and the Palette Editor have been significantly improved.
    • Better Shader Management
      • Bundles — Now simplify shader networks by “bundling” sub-hierarchies of a network with its own custom parameters.
      • Shader Instances — Instead of duplicating an entire shader network to create another version of a shader, create a lightweight “instance” and tweak its parameters independently from its master.
    • New Slim Nodes
      • Streamlined shader library  — Slim's default shading nodes have been revisited and streamlined, allowing a greater variety of shading models to be created with far fewer, yet more flexible, nodes.
      • 3D / 2D Bake Node  — Now any point in a shading network can be baked into a 3D brickmap or a surface-parameterized 2D texture map.
      • SL Boxes  — Build your own custom RSL functions directly into Slim shading networks.
      • Enhanced Image Based Lighting  — Image based lighting schemes, including HDRI techniques, are now fully integrated into Slim's standard nodes.
      • Better AOV Support  — Now Slim's shading nodes can automatically generate pre-defined set of arbitrary output variables (AOVs).
  • Alfred
    • MySQL Data Mining: Project BatCave — The BatCave is a sophisticated render management system that can present a complete up-to-the-minute view of all Alfred jobs in a studio and can also construct a job history of an entire production. The BatCave gives direct control over any Alfred job on the network for more efficient render wrangling. All this is possible now that Alfred can store network data in a SQL database. 
    • Unicast Metrics — Alfservers may now communicate directly with the maitre_d, which can substantially reduce Alfred's impact on network traffic.