A Letter From Tal Lancaster,

Founder of The RenderMan Repository

February 2010

1994 is of special significance to me.

In 1994 the internet as we know it now was still in its infancy, Netscape for the early web browsers had just come out. The whole concept of web browsing was a completely new thing. In fact one of the early uses was as a means to get software updates more conveniently than logging into some FTP server somewhere across the world to get the latest version of something.

Also in 1994, I had started learning RenderMan through the help of The RenderMan Companion and the "QuickRenderMan" that was bundled with the NeXT computer. There weren't any online resources out there for finding out or learning more about RenderMan. I did manage to find a bulletin board in Los Angeles that had some RenderMan users on it and got a few pointers.

Then I managed to make contact with three extremely helpful individuals, Tony Apodaca (Head of Pixar's PRMan group), Michael B. Johnson (Creator of Wavesworld), and Larry Gritz (Creator of BMRT). They were very patient and helpful in answering all of my various questions.

It was near the end of 1994, when I had the inspiration to organize what I had learned and provide a learning site to help others learn RenderMan better. So this was how and when The RenderMan Repository (many know it as RenderMan.org) was born. The site went online publicly in early 1995, becoming the very first website on RenderMan. Coincidentally about the same time Larry had started the comp.graphics.rendering.renderman usenet group, which for many years became the de-facto place to get questions answered by many of the leading experts.

So after 15 years, I feel it is time for me move on. I just haven't had the time on the last couple of years to keep the site current with all of the developments in the RenderMan community at large. There have been many good sites that have cropped up and Pixar's forums have been good at helping people out, too.

I didn't want the site to die out so I decided to give the site to Pixar to maintain. I felt that letting Pixar have the site would be the best thing for the RenderMan community. They have assured me that much of the content that was there would still be available and so this choice ensures that the very first RenderMan site will be able to live on.

Lastly, I would like to thank all of the other contributors that sent materials over the years and for everybody that has thanked me and appreciated having this resource available. I enjoyed sharing it. And from time to time, I still hope to contribute to the RenderMan community in some way.

Tal Lancaster
Creator/Maintainer www.renderman.org 1995-2010