- 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 this year’s Oscar nominee Puss in Boots: The Last Wish.
- The software was developed in-house by Dreamworks engineers with a mantra to “…keep all the vector lanes of all the cores of all the machines busy all the time with meaningful work”, and additionally provide modern features for full artistic expression.” The studio announced its plans to make the software open source at SIGGRAPH 2022 and has been working hard since on its code base, interface, and improved documentation to ensure that Moonray can be built and will run outside of Dreamwork’s pipeline.
- 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.
- The rendering software uses 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 Animation said in a release:
I am tremendously proud of the Moonray team that carefully engineered the renderer with a strict adherence to core multi-processing principles. Moonray delivers interactive artistic exploration using all cores or GPUs provided. Like Dreamworks, Moonray was born at the intersection of art and science. We are eager to see what the wider artist and developer community will do with Moonray.
Bill Ballew, chief technology officer at Dreamworks Animation, added:
We’re delighted to demonstrate Dreamworks’ continued commitment to open source with the contribution of Moonray. Our involvement with the community has made us stronger and we look forward to that continued collaboration.