DreamWorks Animation’s MoonRay renderer is now available as open source for general access, and ready to be built outside of the DreamWorks studio.

Dreamworks Moonray paper

DreamWorks Animation’s MoonRay renderer is now available as open source for general access. The company announced their intention at SIGGRAPH 2022. Since then, DreamWorks has worked on the code base, improved documentation and the interface with prerelease partners to demonstrate that MoonRay can be built outside of the DreamWorks studio. The code base is now available at OpenMoonRay.org under the Apache 2 open source license.

DreamWorks’ in-house Monte Carlo Ray Tracer, MoonRay, was designed with a focus on efficiency and scalability. The developers wanted to “...keep all the vector lanes of all the cores of all the machines busy all the time with meaningful work”, as well as include modern features for artistic expression. The software delivers a broad range of image styles from photorealistic to strongly stylised.

MoonRay is built on a highly scalable architecture, allowing quick, film quality artistic iteration using familiar tools. It supports distributed rendering and has a pixel matching XPU mode, photo-realistic ray tracing acceleration via Intel Embree, including Open Image Denoise, and other aspects of Intel’s oneAPI, the open, cross-architecture programming model. MoonRay includes a USD Hydra render delegate for integration into content creation tools supporting that standard.

Dreamworks Moonray puss in boots

Since announcing the intended release in August of 2022, the MoonRay team has worked with a small set of beta testers to adapt the code base so that it can be built and run outside of DreamWorks’ pipeline environment. Conversion of the build system to an industry standard CMake environment was completed to independently build, test and package the software. A new documentation website was built, libraries restructured, dependencies reduced, and referenced open source packages were brought up to current release versions, as well as to the enhancements and features delivered for DreamWorks’ productions along the way.

“The open source release of MoonRay brings a state-of-the-art production renderer to artists, content creators, and practitioners in realistic simulation, empowering community innovation. As part of this release and in collaboration with DreamWorks, MoonRay users have access to Intel technologies, Intel Embree and oneAPI tools, as building blocks for an open and performant rendering ecosystem.” said Anton Kaplanyan, vice president, graphics research at Intel.

Documentation, code access, online forums, demonstration videos and other information are available now at OpenMoonRay.org.