DreamWorks Animation Makes MoonRay Renderer Open Source

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DreamWorks Animation has officially made its MoonRay production renderer available as an open-source tool for public use. The announcement, which follows their intent to do so at SIGGRAPH 2022, garnered significant interest and numerous inquiries. During this time, DreamWorks collaborated with prerelease partners to refine the code, enhance documentation, and improve the interface, ensuring that MoonRay can be employed beyond the confines of the DreamWorks studio.

MoonRay, an in-house Monte Carlo Ray Tracer developed by DreamWorks, places an emphasis on efficiency and scalability. Its developers have focused on maximizing the utilization of machine resources and providing advanced features for artistic expression. The renderer covers a wide spectrum of imagery styles, from photorealistic to highly stylized. MoonRay is constructed on a cutting-edge, highly scalable architecture, allowing for rapid, feature-film quality artistic iterations through familiar tools.

Key features include support for distributed rendering, an XPU mode for pixel matching, photorealistic ray tracing acceleration using Intel Embree, and integration into content creation tools that adhere to the USD Hydra standard.


Since the initial announcement in August 2022, the MoonRay team has collaborated with a select group of beta testers to adapt the code base for use outside the DreamWorks pipeline. This process included switching to an industry-standard CMake build system, creating a new documentation website, restructuring libraries, updating dependencies, and aligning referenced open-source packages with current releases. This open-source release is a significant step toward empowering artists, content creators, and simulation practitioners with a state-of-the-art production renderer and collaboration with Intel technologies and oneAPI tools.

Bill Ballew, CTO at DreamWorks Animation, expressed their commitment to open source, emphasizing the benefits of community collaboration and innovation.

Anton Kaplanyan, VP Graphics Research at Intel, welcomed the release, noting the value of the Intel technologies and oneAPI tools made available to MoonRay users as part of the release.

The move marks DreamWorks Animation’s ongoing commitment to open source initiatives and collaboration with the wider creative and technical community.

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