The Bad Guys The Bad Guys

Dreamworks Animation has unveiled plans to release its proprietary production renderer Moonray as open-source software later this year.


  • Moonray is the rendering software used by Dreamworks on films including How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World, Croods: A New Age, The Bad Guys, and the upcoming Puss in Boots: The Last Wish.
  • Moonray was developed in-house by Dreamworks engineers and will come with an extensive library of production-tested, physically based materials, a USD Hydra render delegate, as well as multi-machine and cloud rendering via Arras.
  • According to Dreamworks, the software was designed with a focus on efficiency and scalability while providing modern features for full artistic expression. Moonray can deliver images across the spectrum from hyper-stylized to photorealistic.
  • Moonray features include support for distributed rendering, a pixel matching XPU mode, ray processing via Intel Embree, shader vectorization utilizing Intel ISPC compilation, and bundled path tracing. It also includes a USD Hydra render delegate for integration into content creation tools that support the standard.
  • Moonray utilizes Dreamworks’ distributed computation framework Arras – included in the open-source code base – to provide multi-machine and multi-context support. Multi-machine rendering speeds up the interactive display for the artist and decouples rendering from the interactive tool which increases interactive robustness. Using Moonray and Arras in a multi-context mode, artists can simultaneously visualize multiple lighting conditions, varying material properties, multiple times in a shot or sequence, and even multiple locations in an environment.
  • Andrew Pearce, vp of global technology at Dreamworks said in a statement: “We are thrilled to share with the industry over 10 years of innovation and development on Moonray’s vectorized, threaded, parallel, and distributed code base. The appetite for rendering at scale grows each year, and Moonray is set to meet that need. We expect to see the code base grow stronger with community involvement as DreamWorks continues to demonstrate our commitment to open source.”
  • Bill Ballew, chief technology officer at Dreamworks, added: “Moonray has been a game-changer for our productions. We have over a billion hours of use at DreamWorks. As the open-source community continues to embrace and enhance it, we’ll see significant benefits to the animation and visual effects industry as well as academia.”
  • DreamWorks will make Moonray available under the Apache 2.0 license. Further information and updates will be available at

Pictured at top: “The Bad Guys”