Renderman Non-Commercial Testing

It was a bummer that I went to test Maya 2016 out and found that Mentalray had to be downloaded separately. I couldn’t find it in the list of educational software (my student license should allow me to use pretty much anything there for free as long as I don’t use it commercially), I’m hoping that doesn’t mean it’s no longer available.

In the meantime, Renderman Non-Commercial is available to download! Yay! Here’s to staying up until 5AM playing with Pixar’s rendering engine (there’s never been a better reason)!


For one, Renderman uses it’s own lighting system, I was mainly testing out my lights by using test renders (which you should do anyway, and this one above still looks dark). Another thing that’s different from Maya, I put in 10 as a brightness value and it was still a tad too dark. With most Maya lights anything over 2.0 is too bright.

Screw the rules I have green hair.

I picked this shader and messed with the specular a bit, haven’t done anything with bump maps yet…


I’m also finding that if I save in PNG format (like I like to do), the output image appears darker than the render viewport, it’s also got a bit of a yellow tinge although I initially had a light with a tinge of yellow. Turned that to a paler blue and it still seemed to have the faintest tinge… For example, the above render looked closer to white and milk chocolate, where here I’m seeing sandstone and very deep brown.


See what I mean? It’s nothing colour correction couldn’t fix though, very seldom is a render used “as is” in the industry. I should really be touching up some of my own 3D work, but I don’t (at least not often).

This simultaneously creeped me out and made me laugh

Ultimately I started swapping out Maya materials (mostly lamberts) and testing Pixar’s shaders with my textures.




The tweaks I made to the specular don’t show in the viewport, so he looks very oily.


Tried fixing the skin tone looking so “washed out” in the renders, on top of the yellow tinge it tended to look overexposed if it was too bright.


A little brighter, but not enough!


Later, with more textures applied. His hair looks really dark here…Landontexturetest_003

An attempt to brighten it up, now it’s orange!Landontexturetest_004

This was better…


Here I tweaked the colour gain on the skin shaders.

Finally, I experimented a little bit with colour correction in Photoshop. I don’t really do this often with anything, although professional renders are seldom left alone. At least not when you’re working with something that’s going to be on film. I think I gained some appreciation for the people working at Pixar who make the colours look good in the final movie, it’s not as easy as it looks!


Pre-skin shader adjustments… when I compensated for the skin I used lots of adjustment layers but some things look too dark while others are too overexposed.


After the skin shader adjustments. It’s not perfect but it’s a step in the right direction. His sleeves turned out blue-ish, which wasn’t what I intended but doesn’t look terrible either.


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