Pixar's RenderMan Pro to support HPC Server

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A shorty, but interesting to everyone who does HPC and has kids

Famed animation studio Pixar is set to celebrate the 20th anniversary of its Academy Award winning RenderMan Pro Server software with the introduction of a new version, the 14th release so far. Named simply RenderMan Pro Server 14.0, the upcoming software will feature performance enhancements, accelerated ray-tracing, faster processing of large polygon datasets, optimized hair performance, faster AOV’s, and enhanced threading scalability. Moreover, the updated version will come with a new SDK and full compatibility with the 64bit version of Windows Vista and the yet to be released Windows HPC Server 2008, a little something that Microsoft could only salute.

This is the technology behind kid-friendly features like The Incredibles, Toy Story, Ratatouille, and Monsters Inc. As recent purchases by film companies like Weta Digital indicate, film making is increasing an HPC business.


  1. Brent Gorda says

    Back in the early 90’s, when NERSC was at LLNL, there was a program called the “Superkids”, which invited one high school student from each state, and one from Canada (and I think Mexico) to LLNL for a few weeks in the summer.

    One of the applications for instruction was Renderman – on a Cray (1, then YMP el). These kids were usually picked based on academic standing (though some were the govn’er kids). They were (and probably still are) brilliant!

    On one particular occasion, I recall the presentations wherein a group of students predicted computers with more than 1,000 cpus in them. One of the Lab’s physicists at the time – who shall remain nameless – got his dander up and blasted the kids for not knowing anything: 100 cpus in a system was far too parallel, thousands would not happen.

    That was a great program mostly run off the shoulders of volunteers (lab employees brought students into their homes). Its too bad it went away and appears unlikely to return.

    Anyhow – RenderMan has run on supercomputers in the past in the hands of superkids!


  2. Brent -an outstanding story. Organizations never seem to be able to institutionalize these things. They seem to flourish or fail based solely on the energy of someone who will champion them, and handle the endless stupid details that have to be handled.