Pixar Animation Studios has decided to give away RenderMan, its flagship animation software.
Fans of Pixar‘s animated films will now be able to try their hand at making movie magic. The 3D software known as RenderMan, which was developed by the studio, is now being given away free for non-commercial use. The product will also be commercially available for $495 with a single license – and that version will still be available to businesses and other professional customers.
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The new RenderMan release will also combine the functionality of what had been separate versions of RenderMan Pro Server and RenderMan Studio.
New licensing fees for the software will see the price drop to $495 for an individual commercial license, down from $1300. Access will be granted to either the artist interface or the batch render according to Pixar. The company will also offer more flexible packages for those needing "burst render" capabilities. A statement from Pixar's website gives some details as to why the company has given the software such a large drop in price.
"Given the continually falling price of computing, trends point to studios and individual artists needing more and more rendering capacity. Reducing the cost of RenderMan makes it more cost effective to expand capacity and generate higher quality pixels. Pixar has established a new price point to specifically encourage accessibility and remove barriers to growth."
That price buys you the complete software package with “no watermarks, no time limits, and no reduced functionality”.
Pixar is not being entirely altruistic, as the FAQ explains the giveaway as “... a strategic and long-term commitment by Disney / Pixar to the advancement and dissemination of the production industries most advanced rendering technologies and the interchange of assets in common formats”. The FAQ also states that “... it is Pixar’s belief that limitations on software access have become a brake on the development of the production industry, and that universal access and a set of common standards and practices can only stimulate greater growth and development.”
RenderMan works alongside other popular animation software like Maya, Houdini, Cinema4D, and more. This will allow those just getting into the industry or others who want to master new software to practice with Pixar's wares, evaluate its effectiveness, and such, as well as for developers to make plugins.
You can register for a notice when the free non-commercial version is available for download -- it is slated to show up alongside the release of version 19 for commercial users, which will likely take place around the middle of August.