RenderMan has been Pixar's core rendering technology for over 25 years. It's goal is to meet the ever-increasing challenges of 3D animation and visual effects. Today, RenderMan has been completely modernized, with a state-of-the-art ray tracing architecture. Used in the biggest blockbusters, such as Rogue One: A Star Wars Story and The Jungle Book, RenderMan is capable of delivering the highest quality visual effects with unparalleled creative flexibility and artistic control.
RenderMan is a CPU-based, multi-threaded rendering application, therefore the more processor cores the better.
In general, 3-6GB of RAM per CPU core is recommended. For example, if you select a single 12-core processor, 32GB will suffice for basic tasks or 64GB for more demanding workloads.
We recommend having two solid-state drives which provides the best performance:
- Primary Drive: SSD for the operating system and applications
- Secondary Drive: SSD for active projects; a dedicated SSD will offer optimal performance
2.5-inch SATA SSD performs at ~500MB/s
M.2 NVMe PCIe 3.0 SSD performs at ~2500MB/s
For long term storage or backup, infrequently accessed files, we recommend a 4TB to 18TB hard drive. Hard drives also work well for storing export files as the export/rendering process is generally not write intensive.
GPUs are an important aspect of the future direction of rendering that Pixar is currently researching, some of which has already demonstrated in public. RenderMan 21 introduces GPU accelerated denoising, with further GPU support planned in upcoming releases. Therefore given current software design decisions, your budget is better spent on more CPU cores rather than multiple graphics cards. We recommend the NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1070 for this application.
The HP Z8 G4 Workstation is recommended if you would like dual processors and/or multiple high performance graphics cards.
The HP Z6 G4 Workstation is recommended if you would like to start with a single high-end processor and single high-performance graphics card with the potential of upgrading in the future. With the Z6 G4, you can add a second matching processor and double the memory using the optional second processor riser. The power supply will also support two mid-range graphics cards.
The HP Z4 G4 Workstation is recommended for majority of workflows. Since Intel now produces single Core i9 and Xeon processors with up to 18-cores and high clock speed, there is no need for dual processors unless you will have heavy CPU rendering or intensive tasks demanding more than 18-cores. Also, the HP Z4 G4 has an optional 1000W power supply that will support the most powerful graphics cards inluding the GeForce RTX 3080 and Quadro RTX A5000.