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  • standalone renderer
  • export plugins available for rhino, massive, cinema4d, houdini
  • Plugin Air Stream for direct rendering from within maya.


AIR (Advanced Image Rendering) is a renderman compliant renderer and is available as a standalone solution.

Air offers a lot of advanced techniques like level of detail blending, a pendant to deep shadow maps called fracture maps, transparent shadow maps.

It comes with a tool to create its shaders in a visual interface called vshade.

There are some other tools available like:

  • bakeair: a tool to bake lights and textures to files
  • tweakair: a rerender and lighting tool
  • airspace: interactive tool as an interface for tweakair and bakeair

The support of Scott Iverson is really good. As soon as I reported a problem he answered very fast and sometiems a few hours later I got a new fix.

There exist some ways to use it quite easy with 3d software:

  • Massive The actual version 6 has some optimizations for the efficient usage with massive software
  • Rhino is able to render directly with air
  • Houdini can use it as a renderer, the air distribution come with an guide how to use it with houdini.
  • mayaman let you render maya scenes with air
  • for Maya there exists a experimental interface Air Stream for maya. Get it from the google AIR user group.

new releases

Version 13 news:

  • Physically plausible shading
  • New radiosity cache greatly accelerates indirect lighting computations
  • Faster occlusion when rendering complex scenes with many threads
  • New shaders for creating and rendering carpet
  • New light shaders for spherical lights and projecting textures
  • New parameters to limit the emitted illumination from light shaders that vary intensity with distance
  • Automatic color space conversion of raw texture files
  • Texture conversion tools have new options to convert between color spaces

Air stream has some exciting options too:

  • Render Maya fluids as surfaces or volumes
  • Builds for Maya 2014
  • Air volume shaders may be used for atmospheric effects
  • Improved stereo rendering support
  • Automatic translation for many mental ray shaders
  • Indirect controls for the new radiosity cache in Air 13
  • Controls for the new curve tapering attributes in Air 13
  • Shader and display support for the new additive shadow channel in Air 13

Version 12 news:

  • 64build for windows is here
  • faster and smoother gi results
  • faster and new shaders
  • gather() can be used to query point clouds
  • up to 64 threads can be used
  • AirStream for maya 1.0 has been announced. Seems to be an interesting translator, I'll have a look at it soon.

Version 11 news:

  • Air 11 introduces shading networks and layering of shaders. This makes the handling of complex shading networks very much easier.
  • Mesh baking has been improved so that you can easily use it for occlusion or subsurface shaders.
  • Easy to use PTex. You can use it for rendering as well as generating output to ptex format.
  • The environment shader has been improved and is much more flexible now. And it has a phyically sky shader now.

Version 10 news:

  • Finally a 64bit linux version, unfortunalty no 64bit windows version yet
  • Licensing model has changed to unliminted threads per machine
  • Stereo camera rendering is supported. In comparision to other implementations like prman, every bucket is rendered twice and will do shading correctly for every camera where prman only creates the shading for the middle eye.
  • To support stereo viewing, airshow supports anaglyph viewing
  • AIR now supports point cloud ambient occlusion
  • IES light handling is now supported
  • Multithreading of procedurals has been improved


  • Release 9 of the AIR production renderer gives users additional lighting controls for performance and flexibility. A new set of light shaders allows shadows and illumination to be baked to 3D texture maps and re-used for accelerated re-rendering. The same shaders can also utilize shadows or illumination baked to 2D maps with SiTex Graphics' BakeAIR texture baker. For optimized rendering of interiors, AIR 9 has a new portal light shader for efficiently simulating incoming light from windows and doors.
  • AIR 9 extends the ability to record a separate output image for each light by allowing each light's image to include the light's contribution to reflections and global illumination. This additional information produces a more accurate result when light channels are tweaked and combined in compositing. AIR's fragment shadow maps (used for "deep" mapped shadows) are now more accurate in scenes with high depth complexity. Image-based lighting with global illumination has been greatly accelerated in many common cases, and new environment map controls allow users to tune performance and quality.
  • Release 9 includes many other additions to the core AIR renderer including a new micropolygon shading mode and an option for view-independent tessellation of curved primitives.
  • TweakAIR, the interactive version of AIR, includes a new command to move the camera during an interactive session. View manipulation during interactive preview rendering is supported in the RhinoAIR plug-in for the Rhino modeler and in the AIR Space visualization application included with AIR.
  • For the first time the AIR distribution includes documentation and interface files for the TweakAIR API, which has been extended to allow TweakAIR to run in batch mode for scripted incremental rendering. The new batch mode can be used to efficiently render image sequences that capture incremental changes to a scene, such as swapping environment maps, changing shaders, tweaking lights, or moving the camera.
  • With release 9 SiTex Graphics also introduces a new common product licensing policy. Anyone with an active AIR license now has access to TweakAIR and BakeAIR, which no longer require purchase of separate licenses.
  • AIR Stream
  • AIR Stream is a new Maya rendering plug-in designed to provide an easy-to-use Maya to AIR workflow. AIR Stream was created by Hai Nguyen to meet the demands of visual effects production, and earlier versions of the plug-in have already been used successfully on several projects.  The first public beta of AIR Stream is available as a free download on the AIR user group.
  • Version 8.0
  • Sitexgraphics introduces geometry shader. It works exactly like a procedural dso. So what’s the advantage? Well, in procedural dsos, your geometry procedures are unable to access textures or other shading procedures because shading is done after the geometry is subdivided into micropolygons, what means that shading cannot be accessed until the complete geometry is created. With the new geometry shaders, an procedural can access shading options or textures at creation time. e.g. you can easily create a geometry shader, which is able to use textures as density maps e.g. for hair.
Last Updated on Thursday, 19 September 2013 22:12