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RenderMan is the name of a computer graphics rendering technology invented by Pixar Animation Studios; an implementation of Pixar's photorealistic 3D description standard, the RenderMan Interface Specification.

RenderMan is often used in creating digital visual effects for the Hollywood blockbuster movies of today such as Star Wars and Lord of the Rings.

The name RenderMan can cause confusion because it is often used to refer to two different things:

What set the RenderMan Interface Specification apart from other standards of the time was the specification of a Shading Language (SL), which allowed material descriptions of surfaces to be described not only by adjusting a small set of parameters, but in an arbitrarily complex fashion by using a C like programming language to write shading procedures.

Further reading