DreamWorks open-sources its MoonRay renderer

DreamWorks open-sources its MoonRay renderer

Wednesday, March fifteenth, 2023 | Posted by Jim Thacker

Initially posted on 6 August 2022. Scroll down for news of the final release.

DreamWorks Animation is to make MoonRay, its in-house manufacturing renderer, accessible open-source.

The ray tracing renderer, used on animated options like The Unhealthy Guys and the upcoming Puss in Boots: The Final Want, might be publicly accessible later this yr, together with Arras, its distributed rendering framework.

A high-performance Monte Carlo ray tracer able to photorealistic and stylised output
Though DreamWorks has made particular person in-house applied sciences accessible to the general public earlier than – it open-sourced sparse volumetric information format OpenVDB in 2012 – MoonRay is a beast of a distinct scale.

Developed to exchange Moonlight, the studio’s outdated rasterisation renderer – this 2017 Siggraph presentation explores its origins – MoonRay is a high-performance Monte Carlo ray tracer.

It was designed with the goal of maintaining “all of the vector lanes of all of the cores of all of the machines busy on a regular basis”, and has an hybrid GPU/CPU rendering mode able to “100% output matching” with CPU rendering.

In addition to DreamWorks’ trademark stylised animation, MoonRay is able to photorealistic output, and has the key features you’ll anticipate of a VFX renderer, together with AOVs/LPEs, deep output and Cryptomatte.

It must also play properly in a normal manufacturing pipeline: within the Siggraph presentation linked above, DreamWorks describes it as integrating with Maya and MotionBuilder in addition to its personal lighting instruments.

MoonRay additionally comes with a Hydra render delegate, hdMoonRay, which can make it potential to combine as an interative viewport renderer in DCC software program that helps Hydra delegates, like and Katana.

Arras framework distributed final-quality, interactive and multi-context rendering
Together with the core renderer, DreamWorks is open-sourcing Arras, its distributed computation framework.

In addition to final-quality output, it may be used to speed up interactive rendering, and for ‘multi-context rendering’ throughout look dev, visualising a number of lighting or materials variants throughout pictures and sequences.


Up to date 22 August 2022: DreamWorks Animation has posted new online FAQs about MoonRay.

The FAQs present studios curious about working with MoonRay extra details about utilizing the renderer inside a manufacturing pipeline, and about integrating it with DCC functions.

Primarily based on DreamWorks’ personal RDL scene description format reasonably than USD
MoonRay makes use of its personal proprietary scene description format, RDL (Render Information Layer), with hdMoonRay – the “canonical means” of rendering by way of MoonRay in DCC apps – translating from the extra acquainted USD to RDL.

RDL is presently required for batch rendering from the command line, together with final-quality rendering on a render farm, however hdMoonRay is in the end supposed to assist batch in addition to interactive rendering.

Hair and supplies from different DCC software program would require conversion
DreamWorks’ personal in-house instruments export hair curves to MoonRay by way of a RDL procedural, so MoonRay doesn’t instantly assist industrial hair instruments, though hdMoonRay helps USD curves.

As well as, MoonRay doesn’t presently assist the open customary materials codecs OSL and MaterialX, so some customized improvement might be wanted to assist supplies generated in different DCC functions.

The renderer might be launched with a set of layerable supplies, together with dielectrics, pores and skin, hair and materials, with a shading API for growing new shaders.



Up to date 15 March 2023: DreamWorks has launched the supply code of MoonRay.

You possibly can read the announcment of the MoonRay 1.0 release here, discover the source code on GitHub, and ask for technical support via GitHub Discussions.

Licensing, system necessities and launch dates
MoonRay is offered below an open-source Apache 2.0 licence.

It may be compiled from supply on CentOS 7 Linux. You will discover a list of dependencies and build instructions within the on-line documentation: on the time of writing, there aren’t any compiled binaries accessible.

It requires a x86-64 CPU with assist for AVX2, so it ought to run on any latest AMD or Intel CPU. GPU acceleration is predicated on CUDA and OptiX and requires a Nvdia GPU.

Read more about the open-source release of MoonRay on the OpenMoonRay website

Read more about MoonRay in the online documentation

Download the source code for MoonRay from GitHub

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