Intermediate RenderMan

Taught by Manuel Kraemer

Course Number:
Software Version:
Original Run Date:
April 2010 
6 hours 3 minutes 
RND201 is our second in a series of RenderMan courses at fxphd. In our previous installment, RND101, we introduced the RenderMan specification and exposed some of the fundamental features that have now become the cornerstones of Photorealistic RenderMan, Pixar's own implementation. Students should have taken our rnd101, or have basic working knowledge of Renderman before attempting this course.

This course will build upon the concepts that were introduced in our first set of courses and explore more advanced features as well as refine our understanding of how the geometry and the shaders interact. We will be experimenting with look development through custom procedural shaders for special effects with case studies of problems such as flames and fire as were used in feature films. We will also be taking a closer look at some of the common pitfalls of CGI rendering and some of the methods used to remedy or mitigate these undesirable visual artefacts. And if time allows, we will be introducing some ray-tracing in our images.

This course squarely aimed at the intermediate level shading technical director or students interested in delving deeper into shading and rendering techniques. As part of this short introduction, we'd like to put forward a little disclaimer : some mathematics are required for this course. I have dedicated specific sections to cover in detail the topics that we will be using.

Also, this course really focuses on Photorealistic Renderman (PRMan). As such, while Kraemer will be using Maya plugins and other Pixar software such as Renderman Studio and SLIM for convenience, he will not be focusing on their functionality. These tools are a topic on their own and covering their intricacies would take too much time away from the topics introduced here.

Manuel Kraemer is currently a software engineering technical director in the Production Engineering group at Pixar Animation Studios. He received a M.Sc. in Computer Science at the University of Teesside (UK) in 1996. In London, he contributed to projects such as the BBC Science documentary “The Planets” and Universal's sci-fi thriller “Pitch Black”. In 2000 he relocated to the US at the Walt Disney Company, working on the stereoscopic ride "The Magic Lamp" and then moving on to the research project "Gemini Man", exploring photorealistic facial capture and rendering technologies. He started at Pixar Animation Studios in 2002, developing the skin rendering software for the Oscar winning "Incredibles" movie and contributing to the shading and rendering technologies of titles such as "Cars", "Ratatouille", "Wall-e" and "Up".
Intermediate RenderMan
Watch our overview of the course

Class Listing

Class 1

Interpolation Maths. Linear, Cubic, Bezier, bspline, hermite / catmull-rom, continuity.

Class 2

Manipulating colors : Mix, smoothstep, spline shader operations.

Class 3

Look Development Part 1 : procedural animated flames texture - research and implementation.

Class 4

Look Development Part 2 : refining the look, adding user controls, problem solving.

Class 5

Visual Effect Part 1 : applying our flames shader to create a super-heated plasma effect in a shot using Renderman Studio.

Class 6

Visual Effect, Part 2 : applying our flames shader to create a super-heated plasma effect in a shot using Renderman Studio.

Class 7

Shader-intercommunication Part 1 : displacement to surface shader communication.

Class 8

Shader-intercommunication Part 2 : light to surface shader - introduction to RSL 2.0

Class 9

Ray-Tracing Introduction : REYES & global visibility - using the trace shadeop.

Class 10

Ray-Tracing : implementing a glass shader.