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The famous animation company DreamWorks announced on March 15 that its ray-tracing renderer MoonRay is now available as open source for general access. Learn more with XRender!

| About MoonRay

Originally built to replace DreamWorks' rasterization renderer Moonlight, Moon Ray is a Monte Carlo Ray Tracer (MCRT) that includes "a library of production-tested, physically based materials, a USD Hydra render delegate, multi-machine and cloud rendering via Arras".


As the studio’s production renderer, MoonRay has been used in multiple animated films such as How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World, Trolls World Tour, The Bad Guys, the upcoming Puss In Boots: The Last Wish.

Aiming to “keep all the vector lanes of all the cores of all the machines busy all the time with meaningful work”, the render engine provides a pixel matching XPU mode that deals with both CPU and GPU rendering well. In addition, MoonRay can be used both for photorealistic and stylized rendering, with AOVs/LPEs, deep output and Cryptomatte included.

Furthermore, MoonRay will have a Hydra render delegate, hdMoonRay, which means it can be integrated as a viewport renderer in DCC tools that support Hydra delegates, including Houdini and Katana.


Along with the core renderer, DreamWorks is open-sourcing Arras, its cloud based framework for distributing rendering tasks to a cluster or cloud. To learn more features about MoonRay, you may give a watch of the 2017 SIGGRAPH presentation here.

| Availability

DreamWorks has announced their intent to make this move at SIGGRAPH 2022 and finally released the source code of MoonRay on 15th March, 2023.


For CPU projects, MoonRay requires a x86-64 CPU with support for AVX2. And for GPUs, a Nvdia GPU is needed (based on CUDA and OptiX). The renderer is under an open-source Apache 2.0 license and you may click here to get the code in Github.


You may check more FAQs shared by DreamWorks Animation on information and usage of MoonRay, or click here to read the official announcement.

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