Proceduralism is a powerful concept in computer graphics, facilitating scenes of enormous scale, exquisite varieties of detail, and impressive efficiency. However, artists fluent in procedural techniques are still rare, and many studios miss out on the possibilities this exciting field offers. In this course we will explore how to create procedural shaders without programming, using Pixar’s industry standard renderer, RenderMan, and the Autodesk Maya based front-end, RenderMan Studio. Other popular packages will also be covered. The first section of the course will be an overview of RenderMan: its history, use in industry, important features, and how it works. We will explore the Reyes pipeline, and how it has helped create some of the most impressive visuals in computer graphics. Next, the pros and cons of proceduralism as applied to shading will be discussed. The second section will be a live demonstration of how to create a procedural animated shader for an orange: one that ages over time, from unripe, to ripe and fresh, to old and dusty. We will start with a sphere in Autodesk’s Maya and create all the detail using a shading network in RenderMan Studio. No textures will be used - the look will be created entirely using noise, splines, displacement, and more. Finally, we will see how this same procedural look can be created in other popular packages like Maya’s Hypershade, and we’ll see examples of how the techniques used in shading the orange apply in industry, and beyond.
Artists, technical or non-technical, wishing to know learn about procedural shading. The concepts learned will be directly applicable to animation and visual effects, and also valuable in real-time and game graphics where use and interest in procedural shading is growing.
Basic familiarity with computer graphics and rendering is preferred. Attendees should be able to open a 3D application, create a sphere, and click render. No programming or scripting experience is necessary, though some of the concepts presented will be more meaningful to those with a deeper understanding of rendering technology.
Pros and Cons
Survey of Procedural Tools
09:20-09:25 Intro to RenderMan
What is RenderMan?
09:25-10:35 Live Demo: Procedural Shading of an Aging Orange
Patterns & Displacement
Parameterizing the Shader for Aging
Examples using other procedural tools
10:35-10:45 Questions and Answers
Paul Kanyuk is a Lead Technical Director at Pixar Animation Studios and has worked on Cars, Cars 2, Ratatouille, Wall-E and Up. His specialty is crowd simulation, shading, and rendering, and he is responsible for the procedural animation and rendering of numerous crowd spectacles, including the hordes of rats in Ratatouille, the deluge of falling passengers in Wall-E, and the vicious pack of dogs in Up. Paul earned his BSE in Digital Media Design at the University of Pennsylvania and teaches courses in RenderMan and Crowd Simulation at the Academy of Art University.