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3D Renderman FAQ


This is the Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) list for the
comp.graphics.rendering.renderman newsgroup.  Please review this FAQ
before posting questions to c.g.r.r.

You can find translations of this FAQ in the following places:
        Russian - http://www.dream.com.ua/cgrr_faq.html
	Japanese - http://www.gimlay.org/~andoh/cg/faq/renderman.html



Contents: (* indicates changes since last time)
---------

Administrivia:
  Q: Where can I get translations of this FAQ into other languages?
  Q: What is the charter for comp.graphics.rendering.renderman?
  Q: What other newsgroups have closely related material?
  Q: Where is comp.graphics.rendering.renderman archived?
General RI Questions:
  Q: What is "RenderMan"?
  Q: Where can I find documentation on the RenderMan Interface?
  Q: What's the difference between the procedural interface and RIB?
  Q: What features are required in the RenderMan Interface?  What features
     are optional?
  Q: What do I have to do in order to call my software "RenderMan compliant"?
Implementations:
* Q: What implementations of the RenderMan standard are available?
  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?
  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?
  Q: How can I make objects cast semi-transparent shadows in BMRT?
     When I try, the shadows look fully opaque.
Miscellaneous:
  Q: What alternate bindings exist to support the RenderMan Interface?
* Q: What front ends (modelers, etc) support the RenderMan Interface?
  Q: What other net resources exist which are related to RenderMan?
  Q: Where can I get the Pixar videos?
  Q: What is the correct capitalization of "Pixar"?


Nomenclature:
	RI = RenderMan Interface, often refers to the spec document.
	RC = _The RenderMan Companion_ by Steve Upstill.
	SL = Shading Language.
	PRMan = Pixar's PhotoRealistic RenderMan product
	BMRT = Blue Moon Rendering Tools
	ARMan = _Advanced RenderMan: Creating CGI for Motion Pictures_,
		by Tony Apodaca and Larry Gritz.


===========================================================================


Q: Where can I get translations of this FAQ into other languages?
-----------------------------------------------------------------
Russian - http://www.dream.com.ua/cgrr_faq.html
Japanese - http://www.nk-exa.co.jp/~andoh/cg/faq/renderman.html



Q: What is the charter for comp.graphics.rendering.renderman?
-------------------------------------------------------------

   comp.graphics.rendering.renderman is an unmoderated newsgroup
intended for the discussion of the RenderMan standard (e.g.
definition, semantics, usage, tips), the RenderMan Shading Language
(e.g. posted shaders, questions, tips), particular RenderMan
implementations, software that uses the RenderMan interface (e.g.
RIB-producing modelers, third party shaders), and comparisons,
comments and questions about RenderMan in general.

   This group is NOT intended for the distribution of images or RIB
files.  Large data or binary files should be uploaded to appropriate
FTP or web sites and announced on the newsgroup, but not posted
directly.



Q: What other newsgroups have closely related material?
-------------------------------------------------------

    comp.graphics.animation		: computer animation
    comp.graphics.algorithms		: algorithms for graphics
    comp.graphics.rendering.raytracing	: the technique of ray tracing
    comp.graphics.visualization		: visualizing scientific data
    comp.sys.next.programmer		: programming NEXTSTEP
    alt.movies.visual-effects		: discussion of movie effects
    sci.image.processing		: technicalities of image processing
    alt.graphics.pixutils		: pixel and image utilities

The FAQ's for these groups (and most others) can be found at
	http://www.faqs.org/faqs/



Q: Where is comp.graphics.renderman archived?
---------------------------------------------

Try http://groups.google.com




Q: What is "RenderMan"?
-----------------------

Here's the most brief explanation I could come up with:

    According to RI (3.1 spec, p. 3): "The RenderMan Interface is a
standard interface between modeling programs and rendering programs
capable of producing photorealistic quality images."

    RenderMan is in many respects similar to PostScript, but for 3D
primitives.  The goal is to provide a standard mechanism for modeling
and animation software to send data to rendering systems in a device-
independent way, and with minimal regard to the actual rendering
algorithms being used.  A particular RenderMan implementation may use
scanline methods (z-buffer, REYES), ray tracing, radiosity, or other
methods.

    An important aspect of the RenderMan Interface is the Shading
Language (SL).  SL breaks the restrictive paradigm of surfaces being
described by a small number of parameters (Ka, Kd, Ks, etc.).  SL
allows the user to write her own arbitrarily complex descriptions of
how lighting and shading should be computed.



Q: Where can I find documentation on the RenderMan Interface?
-------------------------------------------------------------

    The book _Advanced RenderMan: Creating CGI for Motion Pictures_ by
Tony Apodaca and Larry Gritz (Morgan-Kaufmann, 1999) is quite
comprehensive and is *the* bible for RenderMan use these days.
There's also web materials available from http://www.mkp.com/renderman
You can order it from http://www.mkp.com or also from your favorite
online (or brick-and-mortar) book store.

    The official RenderMan Interface specification (now at release
3.2) is surprisingly readable for a standard document, but not in any
way a tutorial.  A must for any serious RenderMan user, it's available
online at Pixar's web site:
http://www.pixar.com/renderman/developers_corner/rispec/index.html

    _The RenderMan Companion: A Programmer's Guide to Realistic
Computer Graphics_, by Steve Upstill (Addison-Wesley, 1989, ISBN
0-201-50868-0) is an excellent introduction to the procedural API and
the Shading Language.  Unfortunately, it doesn't address RIB at all,
and the SL section is rather naive -- no antialiasing, relatively
simple shaders, etc.  The next step for the advanced user is 
the Siggraph '98 course notes, described below.

    If you're interested in SL, or procedural shading in general,
check out _Textures and Modeling: A Procedural Approach_, by Ebert,
Musgrave, Peachey, Perlin, and Worley (Academic Press, 1994, ISBN
0-12-228760-6).  The second edition was released in 1998, and contains
updates and new material.  The book web site is 
http://www.csee.umbc.edu/~ebert/book2e.html

    There are several good course notes from courses taught at
SIGGRAPH conferences:
  Siggraph '90 course 18 - The RenderMan Interface & Shading Language
  Siggraph '92 course 21 - Writing RenderMan Shaders
  Siggraph '95 course 4 - Using RenderMan for Animation Production
  Siggraph '98 Course #11 - Advanced RenderMan: Beyond the Companion
  Siggraph '99 Course #25 - (repeat with revisions of the '98 course)
  Siggraph '00 Course #40 - Advanced RenderMan 2: RI_INFINITY and Beyond
  Siggraph '01 Course #48 - Advanced RenderMan 3: Render Harder
  Siggraph '02 Course #16 - RenderMan in Production
Many of these are available downloadable in PDF form at
	 http://www.renderman.org/RMR/Books/index.html#Sig

    Here are some other technical papers that discuss either the
RenderMan Interface or some of the technologies behind its
implementation(s):

    Cook, Carpenter, and Catmull. "The Reyes Image Rendering Architecture",
	Computer Graphics 21(4):95-102, 1987.  (Describes the rendering
	method that prman uses.)

    Gritz, Larry, and J.K. Hahn.  "BMRT: A Global Illumination
	Implementation of the RenderMan Standard", _Journal of Graphics
	Tools_, Vol. 1, No. 3, pp. 29-47, 1996.

    Hanrahan and Lawson. "A Language for Shading and Lighting Calculations",
	Computer Graphics 24(4):289-298, August 1990.  (Describes SL.)

    Reeves, Salesin, and Cook. "Rendering antialiased shadows with
	depth maps", Computer Graphics 21(4):283-291, July 1987. (Describes
	the methods that prman uses to compute shadows.)

    Slusallek, Pflaum, and Seidel. "Implementing RenderMan--Practice,
	Problems and Enhancements."  Proceedings of Eurographics '94.
	(Describes their implementation.)





Q: What's the difference between the procedural interface and RIB?
------------------------------------------------------------------

   Two official bindings exist for the RenderMan Interface.  The first
is a procedural API, i.e. a collection of library routines callable
from an ANSI C program.  Those functions all start with Ri, for
example RiBegin().  The procedural API is explained in great detail in
_RC_ and in the RI standard document.

   The second binding is called RenderMan Interface Bytestream (RIB).
RIB is an ASCII (or binary) metafile format.  In general, there is a
one-to-one correspondence between the API calls and their equivalent
RIB directives.  RIB is useful for archival and later rendering,
rendering over a network, and hacking scenes by hand.  RIB is
unfortunately not documented in _RC_, but is exhaustively detailed in
_RI_.

   The usual way that RenderMan is used is for a program (modeler) to
make the procedural API calls.  The program is linked to a library
which, for each API call, outputs the corresponding RIB to a file.
That archived RIB can later be sent to a standalone renderer which
inputs the RIB and outputs rendered images.




Q: What features are required by the RI?  What is optional?
-----------------------------------------------------------

    The full list of requirements for a RenderMan-compliant renderer
is given in the RenderMan Interface Specification.

    Basically, a RenderMan-compliant renderer should minimally provide
the following features:

	Complete hierarchical graphics state
	Orthographic and perspective viewing transformations
	Hidden surface removal
	Pixel filtering and antialiasing
	Gamma correction and dithering before quantization
	Produce images containing any combination of RGB, A, and Z at a user
	  specified resolution
	Support all of the geometric primitives of the standard (including
	   quadrics, polygons, bilinear and bicubic patches, trimmed NURBS,
	   and subdivision surfaces)
	Programmable shading of lights, surfaces, displacements, and
	   volumes with shaders in RenderMan Shading Language.
	Provide the ability to index texture, environment, and shadow maps.
	Provide the 15 standard light source, surface, volume, and
	   displacement shaders

    This is actually quite a lot -- you'll find few rendering systems,
free or commercial, which provide as many features as even the minimal
RenderMan requirements.

    In addition, RenderMan-compliant renderers may support several
optional capabilities.  Many of these features are very advanced, and
some rendering algorithms simply cannot support certain features, so
the availability will tend to vary from implementation to
implementation.  The optional capabilities include:

	Solid Modeling (CSG)		Special Camera Projections
	Multiple Levels of Detail	Motion Blur
	Depth of Field			Area Light Sources
	Deformations			Displacements
	Spectral Colors			Volume Shading
	Ray Tracing			Radiosity




Q: What do I have to do in order to call my software "RenderMan
---------------------------------------------------------------
compliant"?
-----------

    You must support all of the required features, including all of
the geometric primitive types.  You must implement all of the API
calls or RIB requests, even for features you don't support (i.e. at
least have function stubs so your library accepts the calls).  You
must not allow information to be sent through any alternative calls
not defined by the interface, and you may not use any alternate
language for programmable shading.

    If you write a RenderMan compliant renderer, you must obtain a
no-charge license from Pixar (in writing).  You basically attest that
your software is compliant with the standard and that you won't abuse
Pixar's trademark and copyrights.

    Modeling programs which use the RI standard (i.e. output RIB or
make the API calls) may do so without a license, but must display
Pixar's copyrights as follows:

	The RenderMan (R) Interface Procedures and Protocol are:
		Copyright 1988, 1989, Pixar
		  All Rights Reserved




Q: What implementations of the RenderMan standard are available?
----------------------------------------------------------------

   A lot has changed in the past few years, now there are a plethora
of RenderMan-compliant (or mostly compatible, or somehow related)
renderers.  Here are the main players, listed roughly in the order
that they were made available to the public.  The descriptions are
supplied mostly by the authors, and the FAQ maintainers makes no
specific claims or guarantees about the features or compatibility of
the packages, nor should inclusion in the list imply endorsement of
any products (except where noted).  Lists of RMan-compliant renderers
(even more extensive than this one) can be found at 
http://www.dotcsw.com/links.html and 
http://www.exluna.com/products/links.html

   Pixar's implementation of the RenderMan standard is a product
called PhotoRealistic RenderMan ("PRMan", for short).  PRMan is the
most widely used implementation, and in fact dominates the high-end
rendering scene for feature films.  PRMan has been used by many
production houses, including ILM, Digital Domain, Disney, Sony
Pictures Imageworks, Tippet, and others.  It was used to render
effects for The Abyss, Terminator 2, Jurassic Park, Casper, Apollo 13,
Contact, Starship Troopers, Toy Story (Classic and II), A Bug's Life,
Star Wars I, Dinosaur, and many many other films.  PRMan is sold by
Pixar as the "RenderMan Toolkit" and is available for SGI, Sun, DEC
Alpha OSF-1, Linux/Intel, Linux/Alpha, and Windows NT/Intel, all at
US$5000 per CPU.  See www.pixar.com/renderman/artist_tools/tools/ for
details.  Various older versions of PRMan were sold as MacRenderMan,
PRMan on the NeXT computer, and RenderMan for Windows, but these are
all defunct.

   The Blue Moon Rendering Tools (originally written by Larry Gritz,
then developed and maintained by Exluna) is probably the most widely
used implementation, in terms of number of users.  It supported ray
tracing, global illumination, caustics, area lights, full
implementation of Shading Language, volume and imager shaders,
displacements, and other advanced features, long before any other RMan
implementations even contemplated such features.  BMRT has been used
(to varying extents) on several film productions, including A Bug's
Life, Stuart Little, Gone in 60 Seconds, and Hollow Man.  BMRT was
discontinued after Pixar sued Exluna and several of Exluna's founders.

    RenderDotC (RDC), written by Rick Lamont of Dot C Software, is a
RenderMan-compliant REYES renderer for Windows 95/NT, SGI, and Linux.
More information from http://www.dotcsw.com/

   The University of Erlangen's Vision project is an object-oriented
RenderMan-compliant renderer.  Information may be found at:
http://www9.informatik.uni-erlangen.de/eng/research/rendering/vision
Also check out Philipp Slusallek's PhD about the Vision system,
available on the same site.  They're not terribly specific about
the distribution policy -- they seem able to distribute to "selected
institutions", but I don't believe they are widely distributing their
package.

    Advanced Rendering Technology (ART) promises a "raytracer
on a chip" which is supposed to be compliant with the RenderMan
Interface.  Info is at: http://www.art-render.com

    Just in alpha-test is AQSIS (pronounced "axis"), a new
RenderMan-compliant renderer.  Details from: http://www.maxdepth.demon.co.uk

   From Scott Iverson, Siren (DOS only) and AIR (Windows) are
RenderMan-compliant, plus a few interesting extensions.
Details from:
http://home.earthlink.net/~jiverson782/Siren.html
http://www.sitexgraphics.com/  (for AIR)

    3DLight is a RenderMan-compliant REYES renderer.  Available for
IRIX, Linux (Intel and PPC) and Windows.  Info from: http://www.3delight.com/

   Exluna, Inc.'s "Entropy" renderer was the commercial big brother of
BMRT.  But that really doesn't do it justice -- it was very fast and
efficient scanline renderer that also supports ray tracing, global
illumination, area lights, and caustics.  More Info from:
http://www.exluna.com.  Entropy was used on Star Wars Episode 2,
Stuart Little 2, Reign of Fire, Blizzard, Hero, The Returner, and The
Core.  Entropy and BMRT was discontinued after Pixar sued Exluna and
several of Exluna's founders.




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 for A Bug's Life?  Toy Story 2?
----------------------------------------------------------------------

   PRMan IS NOT A RAYTRACER.  It uses the Reyes algorithm (much as
described in the 1987 SIGGRAPH paper, though with many enhancements
and improvements).  Environment and reflection mapping do quite
reasonable approximations to reflection and refraction, in a fraction
of the time it usually takes a ray tracer.  Sometimes the reflections
don't look quite correct compared to a ray tracer, but this is almost
never a problem and almost always worth the time savings.

   Pixar used the very same version of PRMan for Toy Story (and all
their other work) as they sell to the public.  You can see examples of
how well PRMan does reflections and refractions, not only in Toy
Story, but also in The Abyss and Terminator 2.

   However, ray tracing *was* used for 15 shots of "A Bug's Life."
(Look for the glass bottles!)  For these shots, BMRT and PRMan were
used together (with BMRT doing the ray tracing, PRMan doing everything
else).  The same technique of combining BMRT and PRMan was also used
for "Stuart Little."  The method used to combine the renderers is
described in the _Advanced RenderMan_ book, as well as in the BMRT
documentation (release 2.4 and later).

   This technique was not used in Toy Story 2.  All the reflections
in TS2 were good old PRMan environment maps.





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 ?
---------------------------------------------------------------------

   Exluna has hinted that they will probably support OS X soon, but
no timetable has been announced.  Other, more exotic platforms (like
BeOS) are not planned.  Exluna cannot release the source code for
other people to do the port, even under nondisclosure.




Q: How can I make objects cast semi-transparent shadows in BMRT?
   When I try, the shadows look fully opaque.
-------------------------------------------------------------------

If your object is semi-transparent and the shader sets Oi to something
less than 1 (i.e. it uses "compositing transparency"), then you just
need to add this to your RIB file (in the attribute scope of the
object in question):

	Attribute "render" "casts_shadows" ["shade"]

(See the BMRT documentation for other options for this command.)

BUT... if you have something computing true refraction (like the
glass.sl shader that comes with BMRT), then your shader looks 
something like:

	...
        color cr = Krefr * trace (P, refract (I, N, eta));
	Oi = 1;
        Ci = Cs * (Ka*ambient() + Kd*diffuse(Nf)) +
	     specularcolor * Ks*specular(P,Nf,V,roughness) +
	     transmitcolor * cr ;

So that will still cast an opaque shadow because you are explicitly
setting Oi=1!  (Get it?)

The most straightforward way to deal with this (if you have BMRT 2.4
or later) is to use the new built-in isshadowray() function to make
your shader set Oi differently for shadow checks:

	if (isshadowray() == 1) {
	    /* shadow -- fake Oi to be <1 */
	    Oi = color(1,1,1) - (Kr * transmitcolor);
	} else {
	    /* viewing ray */
            color cr = Krefr * trace (P, refract (I, N, eta));
	    Oi = 1;
            Ci = Cs * (Ka*ambient() + Kd*diffuse(Nf)) +
	         specularcolor * Ks*specular(P,Nf,V,roughness) +
	         transmitcolor * cr ;
	}

In combination with the "casts_shadows" ["shade"] attribute, this
should do the trick.




Q: What alternate bindings exist to support the RenderMan Interface?
--------------------------------------------------------------------


Java Bindings for RenderMan from Sean Cier are available from:
http://www.PostHorizon.com/RenderMan-java

A Perl 5 binding for RenderMan available from Glenn Lewis:
http://www.gmlewis.com/renderman
Also, Ron Mayer has a page demonstrating the Perl binding at
http://www.geocities.com/ResearchTriangle/8869/RenderSpiders.html

"Terry" Python binding for RenderMan: 
http://www.lysator.liu.se/~ture/terry.html

SnakeMan is another Python binding for RenderMan:
http://reality.sgi.com/newquist_engr/snakeman

The Python Computer Graphics Kit has RenderMan bindings:
http://cgkit.sourceforge.net

Michael Johnson has "Adam", a Tcl binding for RenderMan:
ftp://ftp.media.mit.edu/pub/WavesWorld/adam.tar.gz

Hardcore Processing has a set of Standard ML bindings (!):
http://www.HardcoreProcessing.com/pro/riml/index.html

If the "client libraries" (C-callable libraries that output RIB)
from PRMan or BMRT don't suit your needs, there's also one included
(with source) in Thomas Burge's Affine Toolkit: http://www.affine.org/





Q: What front ends (modelers, etc) support the RenderMan Interface?
-------------------------------------------------------------------

This information was supplied by many people, so it's hard to verify
its accuracy, and it certainly contains individuals' opinions.  Often,
this info comes from the companies supplying the products.  I do not
necessarily endorse any of the products listed, though if I find out
that any are particularly good or bad, I will note it.  The products
are listed in no particular order, though I've broken it into the
categories of: modelers, plugins or converters, and "other".  If you
know of other front ends or products which use RenderMan, please send
me a short paragraph and I will include it here.

Also, additional lists of related products and tools can be found
at: http://www.exluna.com/products/links.html
and http://www.renderman.org/RMR/OtherLinks/index.html


Modelers & Animation Systems which can output RIB natively
----------------------------------------------------------

   Side Effects' Houdini system (modeling & animation) has very
good RenderMan support (both PRMan and BMRT).  It also includes the
ability to create shaders *within* the program by a visual means and
export out the shader source for tweaking and compiling.  [ed. note -
I have heard great things about this package.]  Details at:
www.sidefx.com

   Rhino is a Windows (NT or 95) based NURBS modeler which recently
added RIB support.  Their site has a free beta available for download:
http://www.rhino3d.com/
Related tools that suppliment Rhino's RIB export (e.g., by making
shader assignments easier) include RhinoMan
(http://rhinoman.renderology.com/).  Also check out J. Aberg's page 
with tips on using BMRT with Rhino (http://home5.swipnet.se/~w-52046/).

   Steve May at the Ohio State University has written an animation
language ("AL"), inspired by the Menv system that's used at Pixar.  It
has great RIB support and is programmable in some very interesting
ways.  It runs on Linux and UNIX platforms and provides a complete,
procedurally-oriented interface to PRMan and BMRT.  More info is
available from:  http://www.cgrg.ohio-state.edu/~smay/AL

   AC3D is a 3D modeler by Andy Colebourne.  It's polygon based, but
does extrusions, revolutions, etc.  It's quite nice, runs on Linux,
SGI, Sun, and now Windows, and demo versions are available as
shareware.  And it outputs RIB, among other formats.  More info, and
downloading the software, available at:
http://www.comp.lancs.ac.uk/computing/users/andy/ac3dlinux.html

    Vertigo's Animation Machine software (modeler & animation system)
has very nice support for RenderMan output, but it's only a polygon
based modeler.  You can generate RIB files or render directly.
Vertigo comes with the prman runtime library linked in for integrated
rendering, or you can buy Vertigo bundled with prman.  Their phone
number is 604-684-2113.

    Macromedia's MacroModel's was a spline-based modeler for Mac and
Win, with pretty good RIB export.  But it's now defunct.  So it goes.

    3DReality from Stone Design Corp. (505) 345-4800 info@stone.com
Runs on NEXTSTEP.  A little long in the tooth and has some quirks, but
it's built of dynamically loadable bundles and offers a very accesible
API for adding your own shapes, tools, etc. Reads and writes RIBS just
fine. Really, really good academic discounts and very friendly tech
support.

   Amapi 2.05 is mainly a modeller that is fairly good for creating
characters.  It uses NURBS, Splines and Polys.  Intuitive interface
unlike any. http://www.tgs.com

   Alias PowerAnimator (also for SGI), versions 5 & 6, output rib,
NURBS including trim curves.  [ed. note: Alias's RIB output is
notoriously mediocre.]

   Intuitiv'3d from Intuitive Systems, Inc. tel: 415-852-0245
fax:415-852-1271, info@intuisys.com.  Runs on NEXTSTEP.  Sports a
terrific interface but is rather slow.  Great realtime previews of
lighting and shape, so-so modeling tools, great shader manipulation,
including "MetaShaders" which store surface, color, displacement and
lighting shader info in a single entity.  Reads RIBS but saves to its
own proprietary format (.i3dw)

   solidThinking from Gestel Italia, Phone: ++ 39 0444 99 11 00
Fax: ++ 39 0444 99 11 08
Email: info@solid.gestel.it, WWW: http://www.gestel.it
   For Windows 95/NT, this industrial-strength modeler from Italy
approaches Alias in its power and refinement. Great modeling tools
including NURBS, control of every RenderMan parameter, fast and smooth
manipulation of objects and lights. Reads and writes RIBS, support for
both PRMan and BMRT, reads Wavefront, TDDD and DXF files too.

   Breeze Designer is a 32-bit 3D modelling and design tool for
Windows NT, Windows 95 and Win32s with exports for the Persistance of
Vision raytracer, RenderMan, and VRML.  Breeze Designer is still under
developement, and updated are posted regularly. The beta latest beta
version is available from the above location. All beta's are
distributed as copyright freeware.
ftp://ftp.povray.org/pub/povray/utilities/modellers/breeze/BreezeDesigner.html

   The Valis Group's Pixel Putty Solo for the Mac ($349 retail, $299
direct?) offers an extremely versatile and fluid spline-based modeler
featuring nine different NURBS, lattice deformations and boolean
operations on patches, direct rendering to RenderMan using .slo
shaders, and event-based key frame animation with inverse kinematics.
More information can be had from Valis at: VALISGROUP@aol.com or
1-800-VALIS-04.

   Alias Sketch 2.0 for the Mac is a spline and polygon surface
modeler which supports NURBS but does not have shader support.  Price
is around $600.

   Autodesys form*Z is a CAD modeler on the Mac and Win95/NTwhich goes
for $1500.  Polygons, CSG, and spline meshes are supported.  No direct
shader support.

   VIDI's Presenter Professional for the Mac ($1500) is a
spline/patch-mesh based modeler with excellent RenderMan support; you
can manipulate shader parameters and everything.  More info at:
	http://www.vidi.com
There's also a site at 
	http://www.webnation.com/vidi/
which contains more info and some useful shaders.

   FastCad 3D by Evolution Computing; 437 South 48th Street, Suite
106; Tempe, AZ 85281; Phone: (602) 967-8633.  FastCad 3D is a 3-D
modeling system capable of producing a RIB file for rendering with a
program like Pixar's Renderman for Windows.  This DOS program can
produce 3D models quickly due to the fact that it is written in
Assembly language.

   DesignCad 3D for the Mac and Windows ($500) is a polygonal surface
modeler which outputs RIB.  Supports CSG.  No direct shader support.
More information from http://www.viagrafix.com

   VisLab 3D Animation Software by Engineering Animation Inc.has a
full renderman interface.  Normal rendering is done entirely in
hardware, but everything can be automatically piped over to prman, or
written out as an .rib file. Both hardware and prman can also be
combined in the same scene. The interface is really great.  Contact:
Engineering Animation Inc., 2321 North Loop Drive, Ames, IA 50010,
515-296-9908

   Poser 4 is a human shape and pose modeler from Curious Labs Inc.
which supports animation, clothing, and exchanging body parts with
various 3D objects.  It runs on Mac, PowerMac, and Windows.  It can
export RIB.  Details can be found at http://www.curiouslabs.com/ or
by calling (831) 462-8222. (note: the RIB export was fixed by a patch
which had the unfortunate timing of coming out right before BMRT's path
convention was changed to UNIX-style, thus exported RIB files will
require hand editing where texture maps are called) 

   ThreeD, by Kieran Jones is a scene modeler that runs under NEXTSTEP
and supports RenderMan.  I haven't tried it, but it's available for
FTP from 
ftp://next-ftp.peak.org/pub/next/apps/graphics/2D_3D/ThreeD.06.NIHS.b.tar.gz
You can contact the author at kjones@vcn.bc.ca.

   ShellyLib2.0, a shell-shape-generator which outputs RIB (among
other formats). is available from http://www.shelly.core.de/

   VTK, Bill Lorensen's OO scientific visualization toolkit, can now
output RIB.  It's not really a modeler, but if you're into SciVi, you
may think this is very cool.  See http://www.crd.ge.com/~lorensen/vtkrib

   PhotoSynthesis 1.0 is a primitive modeler that has full support for
RenderMan on PowerMac platform. Rendering features include automatic
reflection and shadow generation, softbox reflections, and easily
set-up Depth of Field blur. Shaders are fully supported with unique 3D
cursor that replaces Up/At Vector. Exports RIB file format.  Full
featured NURBS, Boolean Operations and 3DMF File Import/Export will be
available in Spring of '97. Available directly from Silver Creek
Software.  For more information call 888/880-0551, e-mail 
SilverCSW@aol.com, or see their WWW site at
http://www.navicom.com/~silvercsw

Ayam (formerly known as Mops), from Randolph Schultz, is a free
modeling environment which can write RIB files.  It's available
precompiled for SGI, Linux, and NT.  The home page is:
http://www.ayam3d.org/

"Shade" is a modeler/renderer that, among other things, claims to
be able to export its object models as RIB.  It runs under NT.
More details are available from:
http://www.ex-tools.co.jp/product/shade/shddeb_e.html

Geometique is a subdivision surface modeler that can output RIB. It
runs under NT.  More details are available from
http://www.geometique.com/

Julian Fong has written "L2RIB" (http://www.levork.org/l2rib.html)
which converts Lego (yes, the toy) models created with LDraw
(http://www.ldraw.org/) into RIB files.




Converters & plug-ins for modelers
----------------------------------

   Pixar's new MTOR product is a Maya plugin that produces excellent
RenderMan output, just as ATOR was for Alias.  Also includes
compositing software and a system for distributing rendering jobs
across a network.  Details available directly from Pixar.

   DriveMan from Gestel Italia converts IGES and Alias Wire files
to RenderMan, for use with either PRMan or BMRT.  There's both
a freeware version and a more complete commercial version.
More information from: http://www.gestel.it/driveman/index.html

   SoRender is a freely distributed interactive graphical interface
from Softimage to the RenderMan standard.  The interface is currently
composed of eight tools that are all written as plug-ins to Softimage
and are built on Softimage's DKit.  Features Include: Interactive
Previewing of RenderMan rendered images from within Softimage;
Interactive tools for working with shaders and adjusting parameters;
Tools to make working with shadow maps and environment maps easier;
Shader Keywords to facilitate parameter animation; Support of both
PhotoRealistic RenderMan and BMRT; Access to all tools from within
Softimage; Support of motion blur.  SoRender can be obtained at
http://www-viz.tamu.edu/software/SoRender.homepage.html

  A MentalRay-to-RenderMan converter: 
http://www.dctsystems.freeserve.co.uk/ethel.html

   WaveMan, a Wavefront-to-RenderMan conversion tool, is available
from Minds Eye Graphics (mindseye@infi.net, 804-643-3713).

   Animal Logic sells plugins for both SoftImage and 3D Studio Max
that output to RenderMan and BMRT.  Details about SoftMan and MaxMan
Details can be found at: http://www.animalogic.com/Products

   Lost In Space makes a product called Siren which converts SoftImage
scenes into RIB files.  Info is available from siren@lostinspace.com.
Siren converts Softimage 3D scene and model files into RenderMan RIB
and shader files. Siren 2.0 works only on SGI's running IRIX 4.0.5 or
later. It can read Softimage 2.66 scene/model files. SiRen only has a
comandline/scripted interface, but is now being upgraded to a point
and click version 2.1.  To run siren you must have a copy of the
Softimage Developers Kit.  US$2000 per license, bulk discounts
available. 30% discount for educational institutions. Source licensing
is available. Siren + Renderman deals available.  Pay for Siren2.0 and
get a free upgrade to Siren2.1 when it is released.

   There is a 3D Studio to RIB converter by Alex Segal on the net, see
http://www.r-m-c.ru/video/3ds2rib.htm for details.

   Envisions Solutions sells Envision-It, which converts DXF to RIB.
Not a modeler.  Sells for around $200.

   Okino Computer Graphics, Inc. has two products called the 'NuGraf
Rendering System' and 'PolyTrans', which include Renderman export
capability. It can convert from DXF, 3D Studio, Lightwave, OpenFlight,
IGES 5.3, Wavefront, SoftImage and many more (the latter 3 formats
allow output of trimmed NURBS to Renderman in a clean form). Output of
animation data from Lightwave and 3D Studio to Renderman will follow
in v2.1 of PolyTrans. A demo and other info are available from the WWW
site: http://www.okino.com/conv/conv.htm Contact: 905-672-9328 (voice),
905-672-2706 (fax).

   Viewpoint Datalabs has a product called InterChange (formerly
Syndesis InterChange) for Windows and SGI, that converts between more
than fifty 3D file formats, including Softimage, Alias, LightWave, 3D
Studio and many others.  It can export geometry to a simple RIB file.
For info, see:  http://www.viewpoint.com/

   Cow House has a free converters from Inventor2.0 and VRML to
RenderMan & BMRT.  For details, see:
	http://www.cowhouse.com/Home/Converters/converters.html

There's a plugin for Moray (a modeler for POV-Ray) that will output RIB.  
Only geometry is exported, and only for the simple primitives.
Details at:  http://pages.hotbot.com/arts/are/index.html

LtoR is a plugin for NewTek's Lightwave 3D to output RIB.  The web
page is in Japanese, but the software reportedly works fine and has
its UI in English.  The software home page is:
    http://www.win.ne.jp/~s-shirai/html/plugin/ltor.html

Another Lightwave-to-RIB converter is CeX3D.  It's commercial, but
a demo version is available at http://www.CeX3D.net/

LightMan, by Tim Dapper, is a LightWave plugin that exports to
RenderMan-compliant renderers.  Info can be found at:
http://www.td-grafik.de/softw/lightman.php3

The Cornell Theory Center has an extension to Data Explorer
(http://www.opendx.org/index2.php) that exports for BMRT (and
presumably for other compatible renderers).  Info from:
ftp://ftp.tc.cornell.edu/pub/Data.Explorer/extensions/Rendering/README

   Mike Hough has written a RIB export plugin for Hash Animation
Master '99, available from: http://free.prohosting.com/~olana/plugins/am2rib/

   Another Hash Animation Master plugin by Nicholas Yue is 
available at http://users.tpg.com.au/tmyue/




Other Tools
-----------

   RenderWrapper (RW) is a simple Tcl/Tk script for conveniently
setting the parameters for the rendrib, rgl, and rendribv renderers
from BMRT.  It provides a GUI for rendering single or multiple frames
in wireframe, polygon, and photorealistic modes. RW runs on Unix and
Windoze95/NT systems.  It is FREE and can be downloaded from:
http://tangle.seas.gwu.edu/~gogo/rendwrap.html

   The Affine Toolkit by Thomas E. Burge contains a number of RIB
filters and massagers, including binary RIB dumping and conversion
utilities, utilities to parameterize NURBS in RIB files by arc length,
polish up RIB files generated by Alias, etc.  More info and download
at: http://www.affine.org/

   Cinema Graphics is now selling a product called "Shade Tree"
which is a dataflow system for writing RenderMan shaders.  Info
at http://www.cinegrfx.com/

   Pixar used to sell Showplace for the Mac and Typestry 2 for the
Mac and PC.  They're nice little programs if you can get your hands
on them, but Pixar no longer sells these.

   WavesWorld, a set of UI, modeling and animation objects available only
atop NEXTSTEP, available via http://xenia.media.mit.edu/~wave/
An object oriented framework consisting of two "kits" of objects and
lots of examples, WavesWorld is based directly atop the RenderMan
interface.  Wave has also made available a Tcl binding for RenderMan.





Q: What other net resources exist which are related to RenderMan?
-----------------------------------------------------------------

   Pixar home page:  http://www.pixar.com
Pay particular attention to
    http://www.pixar.com/renderman/developers_corner/rispec/index.html
which has the RenderMan spec and all of the documentation for PRMan.

The Exluna home page is:  www.exluna.com
Especially noted is the list of links: 
http://www.exluna.com/products/links.html

   Tal Lancaster of CalTech (now a TD at Disney) has set up a "RenderMan
Repository" for dissemination of shaders, RIB files, etc.  Among other
things, this site has pointers to just about everything else that has
RenderMan related stuff. Here's the URL:  http://www.renderman.org/RMR

The Ebert, et al. book _Texturing and Modeling_ (mentioned earlier)
has an FTP site with the examples from the book, including RenderMan
Shading Language source code:
	ftp://archive.cs.umbc.edu/pub/textures

Professor Ken Musgrave (one of the authors of the T&M book) taught a
graduate seminar at GWU on procedural texturing.  Student projects,
images, and shaders can be found at:
    http://www.seas.gwu.edu/graphics/ProcTexCourse/

Similarly, Stephen May recently taught a course on digital lighting
at Ohio State.  A Shading Language tutorial and student projects
can be found at these addresses:
	http://www.cgrg.ohio-state.edu/~smay/DigitalLighting/Course.html
	http://www.cgrg.ohio-state.edu/~smay/RManNotes/RManNotes.html

Michael B. Johnson (a.k.a. "Wave") has a home page at:
	http://wave.www.media.mit.edu/people/wave/
He's built a lot of software that runs on top of RenderMan (see
the description of WavesWorld earlier in this FAQ).

   Geomview is an interactive 3D geometry (in the mathematical sense)
viewing program written at the Geometry Center.  It can export RIB.
URL is http://www.geom.umn.edu/software/download/geomview.html

   Doug Ward has a site that's about using VIDI Presenter 3D.  If you
look on: http://www.webnation.com/vidi/ (select the shaders button on
the frame) you'll find some shaders and other goodies that may be
useful even if you don't use Presenter.

Tips on using Houdini and RenderMan together are available from:
http://www.renderman.org/RMR/rmHoudini/

RenderMania, maintained by Simon Bunker, is another collection of
links and useful information about rendering and production, and in
particular things related to BMRT and RenderMan:
http://www.rendermania.com/

Shaders, textures, models, and so on are available from TurboSquid
(http://www.turbosquid.com).  There are a bunch of RenderMan shaders
compiled for both PRMan and BMRT available for $10 each.

Malcolm Kesson has course notes on using RenderMan available at
http://cmpa.ca.scad.edu/faculty/kesson/Ca301/bookindex.html



Q: Where can I get the Pixar videos?
------------------------------------

Pixar's animation video (which contains Luxo Jr, Reds Dream, Tin Toy
and Knickknack) is available directly from Pixar.  The cost is $25.00.
Just call 1 800-888-9856 or 510-236-4000.  The tape is available in
both VHS NTSC and PAL formats.

The Pixar shorts were released by Disney Home Video as "Tiny Toy
Stories".  You should be able to find them at your local video store
for around $10.

Recently, Pixar shorts have been made available in quicktime format on
their website, at: http://www.pixar.com/shorts/index.html





Q: What is the correct capitalization of "Pixar"?
-------------------------------------------------

   It's written "Pixar", just as it is throughout this FAQ.  I don't
know why people keep capitalizing it, perhaps they are trying to
duplicate the logo, which is in a particular typeface and happens to
be all caps.  In any case, it's not an acronym like IBM.  It's a
regular company name like Disney.



----------------------------------------------------------------------

This FAQ was mostly written and maintained by Larry Gritz, who wishes
to thank the contributions of: Antoine Durr, J.J. Hoesing, Steve
Hollasch, Michael B. Johnson, Joshua Kolden, Andrew MacRae, Nino
Mendolia, David Milner, Pohl Longsine, Steve Weintz, and others.

Please send comments, additions, gripes to: lg AT larrygritz DOT com

--
Larry Gritz
lg AT larrygritz.com

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