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RenderMan Features



RenderMan for Maya supports advanced rendering features that are not native to Maya. Because these advanced features are not supported directly by Maya, RenderMan for Maya provides its own techniques for creating and controlling these effects. These techniques are usually as simple as attaching and configuring RenderMan-specific attributes to geometry, lights, and/or materials.


Here are some features provided by Pixar's RenderMan:


Tessellation settings are never an issue with RenderMan when rendering NURBS and subdivision surfaces. Since RenderMan renders true curved surfaces, NURBS and subdivision surfaces will never have faceting artifacts. Maya's tessellation mode settings are simply ignored and the benefits of RenderMan are immediately realized.


Deep Shadows are a feature-rich shadow map that supports transparency and volumetric data. Deep shadows can also be pre-sampled. Deep Shadows have the following advantages over traditional shadow maps, which make deep shadows ideal for fur or when shadowing any collection of small, semi-transparent objects. Deep Shadows allow:


RenderMan for Maya contains a sophisticated ray tracing sub-system. In RenderMan for Maya ray tracing is basically the same as in Maya. In general, you'll find that Maya's parameters are all that is needed for creating reflections and refractions. However, RenderMan for Maya has additional attributes that add a finer level of control over ray tracing operation. Some of these are:

Max Distance - Shoot rays a finite distance

Trace Sets - trace rays against diverse subsets of objects.

Multi-Sampling - Increase the quality of a reflections, for smooth anti-aliased reflections. 

Blur - Create blurry reflections and refractions, increase multi-sampling for a higher fidelity effect.   


Sometimes called "Global Illumination," RenderMan for Maya supports Indirect Illumination effects, subtle diffuse shading effects that are created by sampling the lighting of a scene many times from a given point. This technique can yield highly realistic results. Occlusion, which merely samples the "coverage" of a point (and is cheaper than Indirect Illumination), is also supported. 


RenderMan for Maya supports subsurface scattering, an important effect for realistically rendering translucent materials like skin, flesh, fat, fruits, milk, marble, and many others. Subsurface scattering is responsible for effects like color bleeding inside materials, or the diffusion of light across shadow boundaries.


RenderMan for Maya supports secondary outputs, which can be any arbitrary information contained in a shader.


Custom RenderMan shaders can be imported for use with RenderMan for Maya. This allows full exploitation of the expressive RenderMan Shading Language, providing a higher level of control than what is possible using the Maya Material Editor. Note that custom RenderMan Shaders must either be written (coded) or authored in a tool, such as Pixar's Slim.



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