Basic Foundational Renderman Settings

Render Settings >> Renderman / RIS

Sampling Tab

  1. Master Settings
    1. Min Samples - When set to 0 Renderman will take the Square Root of the Max samples.  Usually leave this set to 0.
    2. Max Samples - In Renderman this is also tied to render times.  So you know if a 16 Max sample size is taking 10 minutes to render, a Max Sample size of 32 will cost about 20 minutes.
    3. Pixel Variance - Bigger numbers are going to give you less quality. Small numbers will have higher quality, but at the cost of higher render times.
    4. Incremental - Checked keeps Renderman rendering Progressively.
    5. Pixel Filter Mode -
  2. Integrator - These are the different methods of Raytracing.
    1. Integrator
      1. Path Tracer is an Omni directional Path Tracer, only raytracing from the camera.
      2.  VCM - Bidirectional Path Tracer, raytraces paths from your camera and from your lights.
    1. Max Path Length -  Budget for the length of each ray.
    2. Sample Mode 
      1. bxdf - A general Sampling mode for all materials in scene,
      2. manual - gives your control over specific samples for Diffuse, Specular, Refraction and Subsurface.
    3. Light Samples - Control Samples derived from Lights
      1. Default setting: 4
    4. Bxdf Samples - Control Samples derived from Materials
      1. Default Setting: 4
    5. Indirect Samples - Most expensive value in the Sampling menu.
      1. Default Setting: 2 (Too minimize cost of tracing)
    1. Allow Caustics
  3. Default Ray Depths

Note: The sum of Max Specular and Max Diffuse should not be bigger than the Max Path Length in the Integrator menu

  1. Max Specular - Amount of bounces for direct lighting, Specular, reflections and Refractions
  2. Max Diffuse - Amount of bounces for indirect lighting in your scene; 2 Equals 2 objects, 4 equals 4 bounces, etc.


It Window

Ctrl+F will fit the window to the render image


Pixar Area Lights

For real lighting Advanced -> Normalize (check off)

This will tie the size of the area light to the energy it produces. As is the case in real life. This is for matching real lights and their sizes and exposure values in real life.


IBL Lighting



Emissive Geometry Lights

Check on Transmission Visibility and Indirect Visibility

Typically these lights are noisy dial down diffuse contribution and face diffuse contributions with other Area lights


Using IES Profiles

Light Profile Tab

In the IES Map attribute you can load an .IES file to change the light. A host of 'light profiles' can be found at Pixar's website. Some are visualized in the graphic below.


IES Light Collection for RenderMan Studio