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LinkedIn Learning

Pixar's RenderMan Essential Training

via LinkedIn Learning


Discover the basics of rendering animations, visual effects, and visualizations with RenderMan, Pixar's high-end 3D rendering software available for noncommercial use.

Ever wondered how Pixar makes all their animated feature films and how most studios around the world do their visual effects? Meet RenderMan. Created by Pixar, and available for the first time ever for noncommercial use, RenderMan is the high-end 3D rendering package that can be used for any 3D rendering projects: animation and visual effects, but also architecture, visualizations, and commercial work. This introduction teaches the basics of using RenderMan with Autodesk Maya, including features such as arbitrary output variables (AOVs), the path tracer, and integrators. It dives into all the lights offered in the software (area lights, mesh lights, etc.), as well as the main shading networks (PxrDisney and LM-layered materials) and beginner-intermediate rendering settings in RenderMan's new RIS path-tracing rendering engine. Shading architect Christos Obretenov also demonstrates techniques for creating realistic glass surfaces and still life scenes, so you can see what possibilities RenderMan offers straight out of the box.


  • Welcome
  • What you should know before watching this course
  • Using the exercise files
1. Getting Started with RenderMan for Maya
  • Background: RenderMan for Maya
  • Lay of the land in RenderMan for Maya
  • Your first render
  • IT basics
  • Your first render: Materials
  • Your first render: IPR (Interactive Render Preview) vs. regular render and LocalQueue
  • AOVs (arbitrary output variables)
  • AOVs in Maya
  • AOVs
  • AOVs in the IPR window
2. Rendering
  • Introduction to integrators
  • Path tracer vs. VCM integrators: A technical breakdown
  • Path tracer vs. VCM integrators: Diagrams
  • Setting up a scene: Mesh lights
  • Setting up an object as an emissive light
  • Adding a glass material and tweaking its settings
  • Comparing path tracer to VCM with glass and emissive
  • Comparing the test renders
  • Max Path Length
  • First look at the still-life scene
  • Max Path Length: Still life
  • Max Samples and Pixel Variance
  • Applying Pixel Variance to the still life
  • BRDF (bidirectional reflectance distribution functions) vs. light samples
3. Materials
  • PxrDisney BRDF overview
  • PxrDisney vs. PxrLM materials
  • Maya Material Viewer
  • LM-layered materials overview
  • LMDiffuse and Clear Coat
  • The making of still-life renders
  • Layering with LMLayer
  • Glass shadowing examples
  • Glass shadowing applied
  • Tangent fields examples
  • Tangent fields applied
4. Lighting
  • Area light overview
  • Area light, env light, and mesh light
  • Next steps: Exercises to try and more advanced topics

Taught by

Christos Obretenov

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