Versions and Pricing for RenderMan Studio 4Pixar used to have two product lines. The cheaper RenderMan for Maya which was a limited plug-in but with an embedded render license and the more expensive RenderMan Studio which had all the regular tools like Slim and "it" but needed a RenderMan Pro Server license to actualy render anything at all. Pixar has consolidated their two Maya plug-ins into one and has adjusted the pricing and functionality. The RenderMan for Maya product line no longers exists and only RenderMan Studio is now available. RenderMan Studio still has all functionalities but Pixar added an embedded render license. In combination with the price drop to $1300 a license this will give bigger companies a considerable expense cut and gives smaller companies the full set of tools for only $300 more than the old RenderMan for Maya license.
This new pricing gives smaller studios the opportunity to start building their RenderMan pipeline without the huge investment that it used to be.
New Features in RenderMan Studio 4RMS 4 contains the following applications.
- RenderMan for Maya 5
- Slim 10
- "it" 10
- Pixar's RenderMan 17 (embedded version)
- Tractor 1.6
There is a long list of improvements and efficiency updates but one of the more interesting features is "Phisically Plausible Shading". This is a new easy to use advanced shading and lighting workflow which creates very realistic results. Keep in mind that this new workflow is not compatible with the older RMS 3 workflow although the old workflow is still available if you wish to use it. You have to choose which workflow you like to use at the start of your project and stick with it.
Some interesting features of the new RMS 4 plausible shading workflow.
- Raytraced and point-based global illumination: This is controlled with special global GI lights. It supports light linking so it is possible to use pre-computed point clouds for a set while rendering the hero objects with raytraced global illumination.
- Image based lighting is now de-coupled from global illumination. The new RMSEnvLight is a bit slower to calculate but the quality has improved a lot.
- New Area Lights: Area lights are quite hot nowadays. They provide realistic lighting and soft shadows.
- Light Blockers: Although I used this feature many years ago as a custom light shader they have now included this as a standard. This is incredibly handy to subtract light in certain areas of your scene.
- Subsurface scattering trough raytracing: No need to compute pre-passes anymore. This can be handy for relighting purposes as pre-passes can take up too much time.