- Series: The Morgan Kaufmann Series in Computer Graphics
- Paperback: 560 pages
- Publisher: Morgan Kaufmann; 1 edition (December 22, 1999)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1558606181
- ISBN-13: 978-1558606180
- Product Dimensions: 7.5 x 1.2 x 9.5 inches
- Shipping Weight: 2.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 13 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,889,899 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Advanced RenderMan: Creating CGI for Motion Pictures (The Morgan Kaufmann Series in Computer Graphics) 1st Edition
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More powerful and inspiring than the superheroes it moves on the big screen, the RenderMan 3-D graphics engine pushes animation toward the photorealistic as anyone who has seen A Bug's Life, The Iron Giant, or the Toy Story can attest.Advanced RenderMan, written by two long-time employees of Pixar Animation and early participants who helped define the RenderMan standard, is a clear, concise, and technical exploration of this computer graphics and animation rendering tool.
The first section introduces RenderMan, computer graphics concepts, and mathematics, followed by a section on "Scene Description." This includes chapters on "Describing Models and Scenes in RenderMan" and "Handling Complexity in Photorealistic Scenes."
Sections 3 and 4, "Shading," and "Tricks of the Trade" supply the meat of the book and make it worth the cost of admission. These sections include examples and insight from not only a technical perspective but also a cinematic one. The chapter "Storytelling Through Lighting" should be required reading for beginning computer animation artists.
There are numerous color plates, including some rendering tests from Toy Story. These show the same scene (Andy's room) using different lighting and color palettes, each suggesting a different time of day.
Given the difficulty of the book's subject, 3-D artists or animators with limited technical chops, amateurs, or hobbyists might be better served by something more general. This is, however, an outstanding reference for CG technical directors or anyone with experience in graphics and 3-D programming. It is filled with coding examples used to create RenderMan shaders and case studies citing which techniques were used to create a specific look in, for example, Toy Story or A Bug's Life.
The book has no accompanying CD-ROM, but the publisher maintains a Web site from which code snippets and examples can be downloaded. At first, this may seem inconvenient and merely a way to cut production costs, but it's actually an excellent way to keep the examples current. The field of computer graphics and animation is moving at the speed of light, and the examples and tutorials must move with it. But have no fear--RenderMan is here. --Mike Caputo
From the Back Cover
Advanced RenderMan: Creating CGI for Motion Pictures is precisely what you and other RenderMan users are dying for. Written by the world's foremost RenderMan experts, it offers thoroughly updated coverage of the standard while moving beyond the scope of the original RenderMan Companion to provide in-depth information on dozens of advanced topics. Both a reference and a tutorial, this book will quickly prove indispensable, whether you're a technical director, graphics programmer, modeler, animator, or hobbyist.
Explore the Power of RenderMan:
*Use the entire range of geometric primitives supported by RenderMan
*Understand how and when to use procedural primitives and level of detail
*Master every nuance of the Shading Language
*Write detailed procedural shaders using texture, displacement, pattern generation, and custom reflection models
*Write shaders for special effects relating to volumes, custom lighting, and non-photorealistic media
*Use antialiasing to ensure that your shaders are free of artifacts
*Minimize the expense of rendering scenes by optimizing input
Other Features from Advanced RenderMan:
Offers expert advice and instruction applicable to any RenderMan-compliant renderer
*Filled with technical illustrations and many full-color representations of effects supported by the RenderMan standard
*Includes a chapter reviewing key math and computer graphics concepts
Top customer reviews
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I got most of everything working, but was ending up with some random crashes that seemed almost impossible to trace through GDB or strace since they seemed to be all over the place. After some conversation with coworkers, we were able to track down the problem to how data was getting passed off to PRMan. However, if you've worked with PRMan at this level and have had to consult the RI spec day in day out, you might remember that one of the major holes is the lack of a detailed data layout scheme for data being passed from primitive variables to shaders.
Like an older viewer said, I spent hours one night look all over the net to find some information. Nothing too useful. Finally, I decided just to look up a keyword in Advanced Renderman to see what if it might possibly have some discussion in it. Boy did it ever! It describes in details how variables break down at the primitive level and how they're promoted as they're passed on to the shader. This discussion is done primitive type by primitive type. Even though it's so detailed, they're all in just a few paragraphs! Not some crazy laborious description that just hurts your head to read. It's amazing. I felt so foolish that I didn't look in Advanced RenderMan earlier.
This isn't the first time I've gone back to Advanced RenderMan and found details to a problem I'm working on. But I often second guess myself, there's just no way that one book could have almost all the answers to a particular subject. I'm happy to say I'm wrong.
The RI spec is great, but the wording makes certain things a bit hard to digest and you have to guess on a lot of things.
Advanced RenderMan is the exact opposite of that. It's so well written and easy to understand. It's like the Tyndale phrasing that the King James translators would eventually find themselves circling back to. Everything is succinct and well said.
It's almost 2010 and if you're serious about knowing RenderMan, specifically PRMan, on a very deep level - I would suggest you get 5 copies of this book. I'm not kidding. You'll need 4 to read and mark in and 1 to keep around in case one of the other 4 falls apart.
While Renderman is the ostensible subject, the authors actually cover the entire graphics workflow-- and explain the "why" of it all. Their section on anti-aliasing, for example, is concise, complete, and makes clear the implications of all those little doo-hickeys in 3DS -- you remember the AR explanation better, because its based around how rendering works, rather than how a particular application works (which may change in the next rev, anyway)
Smart guys, smart book-- highly recommended.
Oh, and since these reviews are not supposed to reveal cruical plot elements: There IS a self shading cloud shader!
You don't have to be a rocket scientist to read it, but there's still a lot of good stuff, especially about writing shaders, which was my main interest.
To the authors: Great work! More! More! :-)