Lighting and Shading
RenderMan ships with built-in production-quality shaders and lights, the same shaders and lights in use by Pixar Animation Studios on their feature films. Pixar shaders are loaded automatically at startup and available through the standard Material node or the PrmanShadingNode. Pixar lights can be created in GafferThree with a single key-stroke or directly via the menu. Mesh lights can also be created by simply selecting the geometry and creating a PxrMeshLight. Viewer Modifiers and Manipulators are also included for the built-in lights and light filters.
For more information, see the following documentation:
RenderMan For Katana supports studio customizations as much as possible. See the Developing for Katana documentation for more information on what customization is supported.
Image Tool (it)
RenderMan includes "it", a robust framebuffer/render view window which offers complete floating point support and a powerful and flexible catalog. "it" is a fast and powerful imaging tool that is capable of production-quality image manipulation and compositing usually found only in high-end standalone products. Thanks to its integration with the plugin and an all-new Python scripting interface, "it" gives users the ability to incorporate sophisticated post-render image operations into their rendering pipeline.
Photo Realistic RenderMan (PRMan) is designed to be fast and easy to use while generating production-quality renders and global illumination works out of the box and live rendering provides rapid iteration for artists. RenderMan for Katana supports all aspects of PRMan through both standard and PRMan-specific nodes.
Analytic Area Lights
Area Lights are a powerful way to create physically accurate lighting while optimizing sampling budgets and, in turn, performance. PRMan's area lights support light filters, as well as light-linking, groups, per-group AOVs, and IES profiles and portals.
Sometimes called "Indirect Illumination," RenderMan for Katana supports Global Illumination effects, subtle diffuse shading effects that are created by sampling the lighting of a scene many times from a given point. This technique can yield highly realistic results. Occlusion, which merely samples the "coverage" of a point (and is cheaper than Indirect Illumination), is also supported automatically or through the PxrOcclusion Integrator.
RfK supports PRMan's first class volumetric rendering capabilities, enabling the creation of volumetric effects including motion blur, multi-scattering, non-homogenous, etc.
True Curved Surfaces
Tessellation settings are never an issue with RenderMan when rendering NURBS and subdivision surfaces. Since RenderMan renders true curved surfaces, NURBS and subdivision surfaces will never have faceting artifacts.
RenderMan for Katana supports subsurface scattering, an important effect for realistically rendering translucent materials, like skin, flesh, fat, fruits, milk, marble, and many others. Subsurface scattering is responsible for effects like color bleeding inside materials, or the diffusion of light across shadow boundaries. RfK includes support for ray-traced subsurface scattering through materials shipped with RenderMan.
RenderMan for Katana supports secondary outputs (AOVs, or Arbitrary Output Variables), which can be any arbitrary information contained in a shader. Users may also take advantage of Light of Light Path Expressions Expressions (LPE) for powerful control over outputs.