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1 year anniversary interview with Andy Lewis, the beta tester #1.

It has been a year since renderStacks has been released. First of all, thanks to all renderStacks users!
We planned to have a big feature announcement. But, the beta testing and documentation is still going on. We will update ASAP when it is ready.

To celebrate 1 year anniversary, we interviewed with our awesome first beta tester Andy Lewis.
Also 1 year anniversary Sale! 25% Off code: RS1Y25



Who are you, awesome the first beta tester? Please introduce yourself. 

My name is Andy Lewis. I graduated in 2008 with a degree in computer graphics and moved to LA shortly thereafter to work as a texture painter at Rhythm and Hues. Afterward I worked at studios such as FuseFX, Encore Hollywood, a52, FuriousFX, and others. The more I worked, the more I found my niche as a 3D generalist. I’ve always had a personality flaw that causes me to want to take on as much work as possible, and being a generalist is a great way to scratch that itch. After loving my work but having had enough of LA in 2015, I moved to Salt Lake City to work as a 3D generalist, team lead, and Unity developer. I worked with Changsoo for several years at Encore Hollywood and FuseFX. I found that Changsoo always knows best when it comes to pipeline, and I literally had a shirt printed for myself that says I Believe in Changsoo. 

Talk to us about your typical project. What do you do?

When I’m working as a generalist, I typically have a half-dozen animations I’m working on at any given time. I’m constantly taking on new work and revising old work. Since late 2009, I think I have had about 3 weeks of downtime in total. I’m always staying as busy as I can. These days I do a lot of medical animations, and I try to relive the glory days in Hollywood by making the medical animations as beautiful and striking as I can manage. I’m also currently doing a lot of VR simulation work within Unity.

What kinds of other render/scene management solutions have you used before?

I’ve used RPM, State Sets, Maya’s render layers, and a few proprietary render pass solutions. Some of these solutions have turned already crappy 70-hour work weeks into hellish 100-hour work weeks (I’m looking at you, Maya). Several all-nighters in my career could have been avoided if not for buggy pass managers.

Since you are the first beta tester, I should ask this. How was it like the first version of renderStacks?

When I first started using renderStacks, I was also using State Sets for most of my render pass work. I was laboring under the illusion that State Sets got a bad rap and weren’t as bad as everyone made them out to be. Perhaps that’s still true to a small degree. But, the moment I started using renderStacks, I immediately knew that my four-year marriage with State Sets was going to end in an abrupt divorce. We had plenty of bugs to work through with the first beta of renderStacks, but it was immediately obvious that the core of renderStacks was immensely flexible and powerful. I was addicted from the get-go.

How is renderStacks helping your job?

First and foremost, I’ve never been able to get it to hard-crash like every other render solution. Even when we were working out the bugs in the initial beta, it was an order of magnitude more stable than anything else I had used. It’s also unbelievably robust, flexible, predictable, and transparent in how it works. We all love 3DS Max for its powerful procedural modifier stack, and renderStacks brings the same concepts to pass management itself. There are dozens of pmodifiers (pass modifiers) that create limitless possibilities in a pass.

What was the best feature of renderStacks for you?

The stability can’t be beat. I was so used to feeling a vague anxiety when working with other pass managers in production. I had been burned so many times. That vague anxiety has washed away with renderStacks. Everything works, nothing crashes, and I get to go home on time and play trains with the kids.

I also can’t leave out the ObjParams pmodifier. I have full control over any value on any modifier on any object. To be able to modify anything in my modifier stack on a per-pass basis is absolutely killer and opens up so many possibilities that previously didn’t exist.

Do you have any example of a project which renderStacks really helped?

I had a project that had over 50 different shots in one scene being managed by renderStacks. Near the end of the project, the client suddenly wanted to have a twin copy for each shot that contained an alternate version of the product we were animating. I wasn’t using any xrefs and I didn’t want to branch off a separate alternate scene, creating an evil twin that would need to be constantly updated alongside the original. I was panicking on what to do for about two minutes, until I realized all I needed to do was instance-copy the 50 passes within renderStacks, group them, and create a new instanced visibility pmodifier for the new passes with the product visibility change. Everything else took care of itself, including pathing. The total render pass management time for that debacle was under 5 minutes with renderStacks. If I would have been using State Sets, I probably would have had to spend at least a day preparing all the new passes, if it was indeed at all possible for State Sets to support 100 passes in one scene.

What do you want to say to the future renderStacks user?

There are very few tools out there that will create a paradigm shift in how you approach your work as a lighter, and renderStacks is one of them. Classically, lighting is fun, but rendering is a nightmare. renderStacks takes the pain away from pass management and makes you feel like some kind of rendering demigod. It’s far and away the best pass manager I’ve ever used, and judging by the overwhelmingly positive responses I’ve seen from others in the VFX world, it’s likely the best pass manager available on the market. It’s also incredibly affordable. And if you have any head-scratching moments with it, Quasikrystal offers the best rapid support. renderStacks will make you a faster, more effective lighter. It has plenty of tools to help with scene management in general. Try it: you most definitely won’t regret it.


1 year anniversary Sale! 25% Off code: RS1Y25

 

renderStacks 1.246

renderStacks 1.246 has been released.

It is a small update. But, all new features are from user request.

  • Automatic layer localization for Scene Xref. Please read this page for details.
  • Delete Passgroup Tree 
    Now you can delete passgroup(s) with all their passes.
    SHIFT+Del or SHIFT+Remove Node button or right click menu.
  • Visibility Pmodifier Selection Set Rightclick menu. Click here for details.
    If a Visibility pmodifier is using SS(Selection as selection method) and a selection set is assigned, you will have a right click menu like the following image.
  • 1.239 caused renderStacks to crash while changing pmodifier name

renderStacks 1.243

renderStacks 1.243 has been released with 3dsMax 2022 support.

In the latest update to renderstacks, we were extremely excited to collaborate with the Blizzard Animation team at Blizzard Entertainment to develop the Tractor pmodifier that is now available for all renderStacks users.

Here is the list of new features. As always, all new features are driven by user request. For the detailed change log, please check the Change Log.

  • Tractor (Pixar’s network rendering solution) support
  • Now you can color pass(group) using right click menu or 1-9 short cut.
  • Search obj/prop name in the pmodifier list.
  • SHIFT support for multi selection for Layerset editor.
  • Single level expand/collapse.
    Holding SHIFT while expand/collapse limits the action for only one level. For example, if you have not expanded all pass groups, SHIFT+E will expand only groups and keep pmodifier collapsed.
  • A few more functions are added to the layerset editor right click menu
  • Preference > Network Submission Temp .msx File
    Now RoyalRender users can define their own temp .max file path for submission.

renderStacks 1.231

I’m sorry for the late announcement. renderStacks had been updated to 1.231 on 2/18/2021. It you have downloaded after 2/18,you probably already have 1.231. Also if you are have a commercial license, you already have gotten email. If you use NC version and are using older version, please download again.

  • RenderOutputVRay – file was not saved when “Separate Channels” option was used. It is fixed.
  • Some user reported right click menu is not working. This is fixed.

renderStacks 1.229

Apparently a lot of users are confused about the new RenderOutputVRay in renderStacks 1.222. To prevent the confusion. We added explicit “V-Ray saw image file” checkbox so you can turn off V-Ray raw image file output when you don’t use multi channel exr.

Also the documentation has been updated for RenderOutputVRay. Please read the documentation!

Also there is another changes. Please check Change Log for details and other changes.

 

 

renderStacks 1.222

renderStacks 1.222 has been release with many user requested features, improvement and fixes include…

  • RenderOutputVRay pmod
  • rsUserPreSubmitFn
  • Custom BackBurner IP/Name option in Preference
  • Pass group will have prefix {g} in the treeview
  • Sort Pass by alphabetically in right click menu
  • Camera select button in Camera pmodifier
  • Open in Built-In Image Viewer after multi preview
  • Added add selection from SE for layer type in LightOn and Material
  • rsRenamer – Right click menu for preview list

For detailed list, please read change log.

renderStacks 1.108

renderStacks has been updated to 1.108

This release is the productivity update. As our user based grows, we have received a lot of great feedback and ideas. We tried our best to address and implement what our users want.

New features includes…

  • Layer based workflow for LightOn/Material pmodifier
  • Toggle Note panel
  • Treeview size adjustment
  • Streamlined multi preview display
  • RPManager converter
  • rsRenamer
  • Link to AnimationRange in FrameRange pmodifier
  • and more!

Click here to see all the awesome new features and improved features.

renderStacks 1.06

renderStacks 1.06 has been released with 6 new pmodifiers. With Royal Render support, now renderStacks is supporting 3 network renderfarm management solution out of box.

Other new features are

Also a few bugs has been squashed. Please check the ChangeLog.

 

 

Clarification about license

We got some questions about renderStacks license.
Here are answers.

  • renderStacks doesn’t requires render node license.
    It doesn’t even need to be installed on render node.
    When it submits render, all pass data is baked into the file.
  • The wording for non-commercial version was confusing.
    We just wanted to make sure it could be used in commercial setting when you evaluate or makings an internal short film. But, like all other non-commercial version, if the usage is directed towards commercial advantage or monetary compensation, you are not eligible for non-commercial license. For example, if your render is for promoting your product or project or if you use rederStacks to assist  a paid job in anyway, you need to have a license to use.

renderStacks has been released.

renderStacks has been released today.

What’s renderStacks? Click HERE.

We provide perpetual and subscription options. Please check Buy/Download page.

We also provide non-commercial version for free.
It is a full featured version without limitation.
As long as you don’t make money from your render, you can try in the studio environment, too.
We only provide the community support for non-commercial version in our Facebook group.

All documentations are also live. We put a lot of effort to have a comprehensive documentation from the start. Please read the manual!

We hope many users would find renderStacks useful.

Thanks!