From Academic Kids

RenderMan is the name of a rendering software package developed by Pixar Animation Studios; it implements Pixar's photorealistic 3D description standard, the RenderMan Interface Specification.

RenderMan is often used in creating digital visual effects for the Hollywood blockbuster movies of today such as Star Wars and The Lord of the Rings.


The name RenderMan can cause confusion because it is often used to refer to two different things:

  • The RenderMan Interface Specification (RISpec) ( Pixar's technical specification for a standard communications protocol (or interface) between modeling programs and rendering programs capable of producing photorealistic-quality images. This is a similar concept to PostScript but for describing 3D scenes rather than 2D page layouts. Thus, modelling programs which understand the RenderMan Interface protocol can send data to rendering software which implements the RenderMan Interface, without caring what rendering algorithms are utilized by the latter. The interface was first published in 1988 and was designed to be sufficiently future proof to encompass advances in technology for a significant number of years.
  • PhotoRealistic RenderMan (PRMan): A RenderMan-compliant rendering software system developed by Pixar based on their own interface specification. PRMan is chiefly a Reyes algorithm implementation, although recent versions also include ray tracing features. PRMan is used internally at Pixar and also licensed to third parties as the RenderMan Pro Server™ software package.

What set the RenderMan Interface Specification apart from other standards of the time was the specification of a Shading Language (SL), which allowed material descriptions of surfaces to be described not only by adjusting a small set of parameters, but in an arbitrarily complex fashion by using a C-like programming language to write shading procedures commonly known as procedural textures and shaders.

RenderMan has much in common with OpenGL, despite the two APIs being targeted to different sets of users (OpenGL to real-time hardware-assisted rendering and RenderMan to photorealistic off-line rendering). Both APIs take the form of a stack-based state machine with (conceptually) immediate rendering of geometric primitives. It is possible to implement either API in terms of the other.

Further reading

External links



Academic Kids Menu

  • Art and Cultures
    • Art (
    • Architecture (
    • Cultures (
    • Music (
    • Musical Instruments (
  • Biographies (
  • Clipart (
  • Geography (
    • Countries of the World (
    • Maps (
    • Flags (
    • Continents (
  • History (
    • Ancient Civilizations (
    • Industrial Revolution (
    • Middle Ages (
    • Prehistory (
    • Renaissance (
    • Timelines (
    • United States (
    • Wars (
    • World History (
  • Human Body (
  • Mathematics (
  • Reference (
  • Science (
    • Animals (
    • Aviation (
    • Dinosaurs (
    • Earth (
    • Inventions (
    • Physical Science (
    • Plants (
    • Scientists (
  • Social Studies (
    • Anthropology (
    • Economics (
    • Government (
    • Religion (
    • Holidays (
  • Space and Astronomy
    • Solar System (
    • Planets (
  • Sports (
  • Timelines (
  • Weather (
  • US States (


  • Home Page (
  • Contact Us (

  • Clip Art (
Personal tools