Apple

A blast from Pixar's past: MacRenderMan on eBay

Here's a rare one for vintage collectors. Not my auction, but I'd be bidding if I didn't already own it:

http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&ih=001&item=110027773294&rd=1&sspagename=STRK%3AMEWA%3AIT&rd=1

I think FormZ interfaces with this. Are there any other programs that hook into MacRenderMan?
Heh, I like how it says "This is the product that started Pixar !!". In reality, this is the product that started Pixar:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pixar_computer

I wouldn't mind having one of those myself - I wonder if the granite skins were an inspiration to SGI? ;)
Twitter: @neko_no_ko
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Wow, that computer is drool worthy.
nekonoko wrote: I wonder if the granite skins were an inspiration to SGI? ;)


...mmmhhh ...I don't know, but the monitor looks the same as the Sony GDM-1604A5 (originally branded SUN) that I've hacked to use on my second Indy years ago! :D
What annoys me is that there are no true system specs and system details posted anywhere about the Pixar computer. :(
That is one seriously cool-looking computer. Sounds like there might be less than a hundred currently in existence. I bet there are plenty of them collecting dust in hospital storage rooms...
MooglyGuy wrote: What annoys me is that there are no true system specs and system details posted anywhere about the Pixar computer. :(


I dunno if you have access to the ACM digital library, but there you can find a paper with the description of the CHAP. The CHAnnel Processor, which was the building block for the PIC (Pixar Image Computer).

The paper is "CHAP: A SIMD Graphics processor" by A. Levinthal and T. Porter

http://portal.acm.org/ft_gateway.cfm?id ... EN=6184618

I have some literature/brochures from Pixar and their PIC from the late 80s. There were not really a full blown computer, but rather a co-processor. They implemented most of renderman in HW (or more specifially most of renderman was implemented in CHAP microcode)[. They were used as render engines for high end workstations of the era, they could display the output to their own frame buffer, or overlay the result using image onto the host workstation's frame buffer.I believe they worked in 48bit colour. I think they could manage up to 128MB of image data per chassis, which was rather remarkable for the era.


They were also sold by Wavefront as their high end creative workstation. Basically it was an SGI Iris 3000, with a Pixar Computer attached to it. And all tied together using Wavefront. The Iris was used for interactive/modelling, and the Pixar would render the images.

There were two families, I believe, one had a 1280x1024 frame buffer, and the second generation could do 1024x768 on multiple channels. Which was cool beans in 85/86 when they were introduced. I have some original brochures from these systems, that I will scan one of these days :-) I think they could do some video i/o too (but mostly for overlaying)
"Was it a dream where you see yourself standing in sort of sun-god robes on a
pyramid with thousand naked women screaming and throwing little pickles at you?"
ajerimez wrote: That is one seriously cool-looking computer. Sounds like there might be less than a hundred currently in existence. I bet there are plenty of them collecting dust in hospital storage rooms...


or depressingly under some landfill :(
My stuff:
Octane, 400mhz r12k, V6, 1.5gb ram, 18gb.
Indy r4000sc 100mhz, xl8, 160mb, 3.2gb
Pent D 3.4ghz dual core 2x2mb, 9600xt, 1gb ram, 360gb.
P4 2.7, 512mb, 40gb
PowerBook G3 (Lombard) 333mhz, 256mb, 40gb
MooglyGuy wrote: What annoys me is that there are no true system specs and system details posted anywhere about the Pixar computer. :(


Also, check out this paper... may shed some light on the machine (pun intended)

http://accad.osu.edu/~waynec/history/PD ... cessor.pdf
"Was it a dream where you see yourself standing in sort of sun-god robes on a
pyramid with thousand naked women screaming and throwing little pickles at you?"
Kinda looks like a NeXT monitor...and a NeXT cube!!
Sitting in a room.....thinkin' shit up. :evil:

:O2: 400MHz R12k - :320: Dual 600MHz PIII - HP Alphaserver DS15 - Digital DECstation5000/133 - Dell T3500 - Apple G4 Cube dual 500MHz/GF6200 - Newton Messagepad 2100 - Apple PowerBook 2400c/[email protected] - Apple PowerMacintosh 6100/66 - Apple PowerMacintosh 6500/[email protected] - Apple Workgroup Server 9150/120 [email protected] - Apple Macintosh IIfx - Apple Macintosh LC475 (OC Full 040 33MHz) - Apple Macintosh Color Classic (Full 040 40Mhz Mystic upgrade) - Sun Cobalt Cube 3 - EBOX 3300A-JSK - Tadpole RDI UltraBook IIi - Compaq Armada 4120 - Digital HiNote Ultra II - HP OmniBook 425 - HP 200LX - Crossbeam C12
Don't know if he has the whole computer, but the gentleman who's helped me immensely with my Motorola IRIS has some boards for a Pixar Computer, they were out when I went over the last time.
zahal wrote: Kinda looks like a NeXT monitor...and a NeXT cube!!


It does in fact look identical to an N4006 NeXT (Sony) Megapixel monitor, as both companies where owned by Steve Jobs then it probably is a NeXT monitor rebranded.
nekonoko wrote: Heh, I like how it says "This is the product that started Pixar !!". In reality, this is the product that started Pixar:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pixar_computer

I wouldn't mind having one of those myself - I wonder if the granite skins were an inspiration to SGI? ;)


In the book by Alan Deutschman - The Second Coming of Steve Jobs. It says the case was designed by John Lasseter.

It also says in the book that the machine whilst powerful was very difficult to use, when taken on the road for demo and road shows the books says three Ph.D.s had to accompany the machine and hid behind curtains during demo runs.

Also mentioned is that the machine was used by Mr Lasseter to do the Luxor Light & Tin Toy demo movies.
brams wrote:
zahal wrote: Kinda looks like a NeXT monitor...and a NeXT cube!!


It does in fact look identical to an N4006 NeXT (Sony) Megapixel monitor, as both companies where owned by Steve Jobs then it probably is a NeXT monitor rebranded.



No, PIXAR had that machine out (86ish) way before NeXT had any colour product (90ish). It is just a standard Sony trinitron workstation monitor. Basically everyone and their mother used either a rebranded Sony, Hitachi, or Mitsubishi monitors. SUN, SGI, NeXT, Apollo, HP, IBM, etc.

The same vintage NeXT and SGI 21inch monitors were basically the same except that the SGI's was cream and NeXT black.....
"Was it a dream where you see yourself standing in sort of sun-god robes on a
pyramid with thousand naked women screaming and throwing little pickles at you?"
Hmm that is true and somthing that had not occured to me before. I had always "assumed" Pixar had borrowed the monitor of NeXT, it seems it could be the other way around, perhaps the likely expanation if Pixar had a warehouse full of them ;-)

I have a dead N4006 monitor, could you give me the model number if you know it of a compatible Sun/SGI monitor that I could use as a donor to get it working again?. I could then dual head my NeXTcube as I have two dimension boards.