Renderman Development On Windows

Windows development for CG is always a bit of hassle as much of the tools out there come from development inside studios using Linux – where it’s often being much simply to build source code from scratch.

Pixar provide source code and examples for much of their plugins as developer examples. You won’t find source code for things like PxrSurface which contain Pixar’s secret sauces – but you will find quite a lot of useful ingredients to get you started.

The following is based on Renderman 22. Very specifically it’s worked for me on R22.2 and R22.3 – I’ve not tried earlier or later versions – but hopefully much of this applies to R21 and other points releases of R22.

To get the developer examples, run the Renderman Installer and when you get to the packages to install click on Show All. The Examples will be downloaded to your Downloads folder as a compressed archive (use 7zip to extract it)

Image showing dialog box from Renderman Installer application.
Click the Show All box when running the Installer application.

I’ve been using Visual Studio 2017 Community Edition to do this.

In order to compile the examples on Windows using Visual Studio, the easiest way I’ve found is to use the Visual Studio Command Prompt.

>cd D:\scenes\rman\dev\PixarRenderMan-Examples-22.2_1903500-windows10_vc14icc170.x86_64\plugins\pattern\color
>cl -c "-I%RMANTREE%\include"  /D "WIN32" /D "_WINDLL"  /EHsc  PxrMix.cpp
>link /out:PxrMix.dll /dll "/libpath:%RMANTREE%\lib" "PxrMix.obj" libprman.lib

This should give you a DLL file, you can copy this into your Documents/rfm folder in order to use in Renderman, however in order to use it in RfM you’ll need to have a Args file which defines it’s parameters. Args files come from Katana and Pixar uses them to define the UI of plugins in both Katana and Maya.

The easiest way to create an Args file is just modify an existing one. For example, if you look in the $RMANTREE/lib/plugins/Args you’ll find the current ones (including PxrMix from the above example).