MoonRay: DreamWorks’ Open-Source Gift to the Animation Community

Ready to take your animation to the next level? DreamWorks Animation has just released MoonRay as open-source software.

Animation has become an increasingly popular and important medium in the entertainment industry and other fields, such as education and marketing. As technology advances, so does the complexity and sophistication of animation software.

DreamWorks Animation is a name that needs no further introduction. Founded in 1994 by Steven Spielberg, Jeffrey Katzenberg, and David Geffen, the company has created some animation masterpieces, including ShrekKung Fu PandaHow to Train Your Dragon, etc.

Today, however, will be remembered as a more special day in the memories of all animation artists. Why? Because DreamWorks Animation, a major player in the industry, has made a significant move by releasing its in-house developed animation software, MoonRay, available to the public as an open-source project.

What’s MoonRay Animation Software?

Image credits: MoonRay Project

MoonRay is a state-of-the-art MCRT (Monte Carlo Ray Tracing) renderer developed by DreamWorks engineers, which has been used on feature films such as How to Train Your Dragon, The Bad Guys, the upcoming Puss In Boots: The Last Wish, and, of course, will be used in future titles of the company.

The project is actively developed and maintained by a team of engineers and artists at DreamWorks Animation, along with contributions from the open-source community, and built on a cutting-edge, highly scalable architecture that enables rapid, feature-film-grade artistic iteration using familiar tools.

Moreover, MoonRay supports distributed rendering, has a pixel-matching XPU mode, ray processing via Intel Embree, shader vectorization via Intel ISPC compilation, profiling viewer, display filters, bundled path tracing, and others. You can find more details about it here. In addition, it also provides a USD Hydra Render Delegate for use with content creation applications that support the standard.

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.

Andrew Pearce, VP of Global Technology at DreamWorks Animation

We are sure that this move by DreamWorks Animation will be warmly welcomed by all animation artists worldwide because this means that now not only can professional animators access and use this software, but it is also available to a broader audience, including students and hobbyists, who are looking to take their animation skills to the next level.

To see the details, visit the official announcement or the project website. The MoonRay documentation is here, and the publicly accessible GitHub repository is here. Happy animating!

Bobby Borisov

Bobby Borisov

Bobby, an editor-in-chief at Linuxiac, is a Linux professional with over 20 years of experience. With a strong focus on Linux and open-source software, he has worked as a Senior Linux System Administrator, Software Developer, and DevOps Engineer for small and large multinational companies.

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