Friday, May 30, 2014

Pixar Revamps RenderMan, Offers Free Non-Commercial License - 

Pixar Animation Studios has announced a "generational shift" in RenderMan, which will debut a new framework, the RenderMan Integrator System (RIS), in the latest version scheduled for release at SIGGRAPH. Pixar described RIS as a "modular rendering architecture" that optimizes lighting simulation and allows new rendering technology to be deployed as Disney develops it — such as the Principled BRDF shader, a physically based shading technique that will be included in the new RenderMan.
Other features to be included in the forthcoming RenderMan release include an advanced Unidirectional Path Tracer and a Bidirectional Path Tracer with Progressive Photon Mapping (sometimes referred to as vertex connection and merging, or VCM), meaning RenderMan will offer the ability to switch rendering modes for different scenes in a single system, the company said.
"For certain types of shots such as exteriors, the unidirectional path tracer excels," Pixar said in an FAQ detailing some of the additions. "However, while [it is] a common method of light transport, path tracing suffers limitations when rendering other types of scenes, such as dimly lit interiors and caustic effects. For cases like this, RenderMan provides another more advanced method of light transport called VCM, which is able to integrate bidirectional path tracing with photon techniques to produce results of higher quality than either method can alone. With RIS, you can choose the most appropriate method of light transport for any given scene."
In addition, Pixar said that, with the next release, RenderMan licenses will be free for non-commercial use by students, institutions, researchers, developers, and other individuals. (Interested users can register in advance on the RenderMan website to receive a free license when the new version is released.) Pixar also dropped the price of the current version of RenderMan to $495 per license for commercial use, with customized "peak render" packages available. The new release will combine RenderMan Pro Server and RenderMan Studio in a single "flexible license," Pixar said, suggesting those licenses will be easily scalable to fit different stages of production.
In a prepared statement, MPC's global head of lighting, David Hirst, offered a testimonial to the capabilities of the new version of RenderMan. "We … were completely blown away by the speed and how interactively we could preview and render these assets," he said. "The RIS based integrator is going to change the way we work with more scalable rendering and faster results."
Pixar RenderMan:

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Saturday, May 10, 2014

Autodesk will now be providing schools and colleges free access to their incredible software! And as you read the article you will see my school and I got a great plug in their press release 

Autodesk Transforms Education Business Model to Help Advance 21st Century Skills in the United States and Canada

3D Design Software Leader Delivers on Commitment to Prepare an Industry-ready Workforce by Removing Barriers to Software Access
Wednesday, May 7, 2014 9:00 am EDT



Public Company Information:

SAN FRANCISCO--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Autodesk, Inc. (NASDAQ:ADSK), a leader in 3D design, engineering, and entertainment software, today announced that it will offer schools in the United States and Canada free access to its professional 3D design software and creativity applications.
This represents the next step in the continued transformation of Autodesk’s education business model in order to fulfill its mission of helping students and educators imagine, design and create a better world. Autodesk’s pledge is valued at over $460 million, and empowers educators at more than 35,000 middle schools, high schools, and higher education institutions in the United States and Canada.
“Advances in accessible 3D design and fabrication technology are disrupting design, engineering and entertainment professions as we know them. The rise in mobile and cloud technology also means that it is possible to design anywhere, at any time. Nearly anyone with an idea can turn concepts into reality overnight, and we believe that today’s students will shape tomorrow’s industries,” said Tom Joseph, senior director of education, Autodesk.
“This is the second pledge we have made in North America in less than six months, and we are not stopping here. There is still work that lies ahead of us as we join forces with governments, institutions, and partners to prepare an industry-ready workforce around the world by removing the barriers to software access,” Joseph added.
Autodesk’s 3D design software, creativity applications, and learning resources are being used across the education continuum to advance learning outcomes, including:
  • Building proficiency with young learners from middle schools and up to support science, technology, engineering, digital arts, or mathematics (STEAM) related subjects to solve real world challenges.
  • Imparting industry-relevant knowledge and 3D design skills to give students a competitive edge to achieve their personal goals today, and career success in the future.
  • Helping educators to inspire creativity and innovation through a project-based curriculum and a multidisciplinary approach to education; facilitating collaboration and hands-on problem-solving skills that reflect today’s business realities.
“At RIT, we are grooming our students for successful careers in industrial design, and teaching them to leverage advanced technologies to address global design challenges is integral. Having free access to advanced, professional design tools like Autodesk Fusion 360™ has empowered our students and taught them how to navigate changes in a fast paced industry. The cloud component of the product also teaches them how to collaborate with one another and communicate their ideas with other disciplines, which are critical skills that they will need when they graduate,” said Alex Lobos, assistant professor of Industrial Design, Rochester Institute of Technology.
In February, Autodesk pledged support for President Obama’s ConnectEd initiative by expanding its Design the Future program in the U.S. to advance STEAM education and support the demand for related careers. Students and educators have also had free access to individual licenses of Autodesk software via the Autodesk Education Community since 2006.
“We have seen firsthand how students have become more engaged in core subjects like math and science when they can experiment, model and animate in 3D with Autodesk® 123D® Design and Autodesk® Maya®. The new focus of the national Common Core and Next Generation Science Standards are based on getting our students both college and career ready. By teaching them skills like 3D modeling and 3D animation using professional Autodesk products, we are giving both students and educators a real advantage," said Kent Ganevsky, an educator at Theodore Roosevelt Middle School and Design the Future program adopter.
To request free access to Autodesk software for schools, please visit
About Autodesk
Autodesk helps people imagine, design and create a better world. Everyone—from design professionals, engineers and architects to digital artists, students and hobbyists—uses Autodesk software to unlock their creativity and solve important challenges. For more information visit or follow @autodesk.
Autodesk, Fusion 360, 123D, and Maya are registered trademarks of Autodesk, Inc., and/or its subsidiaries and/or affiliates in the USA and/or other countries. All other brand names, product names or trademarks belong to their respective holders. Autodesk reserves the right to alter product and services offerings, and specifications and pricing at any time without notice, and is not responsible for typographical or graphical errors that may appear in this document.
© 2014 Autodesk, Inc. All rights reserved.
Free Autodesk software and/or cloud-based services may only be used for educational purposes and are subject to acceptance of and compliance with the terms and conditions of the software license agreement or terms of service. Details and restrictions available at


Autodesk, Inc.
Noah Cole, +1 415-580-3535
Rebecca Wong, +65 9841 9766
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Teaching Autodesk Maya in the classroom

I was one of the first Autodesk 3D Studio Max dealers in the world about 20 years ago.  There were a group of three of us who either flu or drove up to Sausalito California to go through training and becoming authorized dealer.

It was a pivotal part of my life for it put me in the direction into computer graphics and digital editing.   I started my teaching career about 10 years ago. And for the last for five years I've been trying to bring this product's into my classroom and into my school. 

I started my own digital arts – computer science club this year. We have been working with Autodesk one 123-D design, Maya, and now Fusion 360,  and it looks like I will not be teaching my first Computer graphics - Digital arts class starting in September, 

We now have our Maker bot replicator to printer going and we have printed over 40 students designs in our classroom.  

The key to teaching your students Autodesk Maya is to start an early age as possible for them to acquire the basics.  Do not get hung up on how hard the product looks or how hard the interface appears to be. Just like math we do not start students at calculus,  it takes them five years and five different subjects to get to calculus.

That is the same philosophy to teach Maya or any other high-end computer graphics software package. And I guarantee you since I have doing this for almost 30 years younger students will pick up this package much faster than any adults will.

The key to this, but any other task in life, is the take the first step and get started. The first few steps may be hard but it will get easier as you keep pushing forward