Get Your Inner Buzz Lightyear On! Pixar Releases Free, Non-Commercial Renderman

At long last, Pixar has finally made good on a promise they made last year to release Free Non-Commercial RenderMan. The software is a full-feature version of the company's RenderMan software that anyone can install and use for purposes of research, education, evaluation, plug-in development, and personal projects that do not generate a commercial profit. And Free Non-Commercial RenderMan is without limitations, too, such as watermarking, time limits, data volume, or any other such restrictions.

Pixar's RenderMan software release features the company's new RIS rendering paradigm, which the company says "delivers extremely fast global illumination and interactive shading and lighting for artists". The RIS framework, already in use at many studios that license the commercial version of RenderMan ($495 per seat), is considered a technological leap that offers the best-of-class in rendering for both VFX and feature film animation. And this same technology is now available to the users of Free Non-Commercial RenderMan, as well.


Dr. Ed Catmull, President of Pixar and Walt Disney Animation Studios (and also one of the founders of the original RenderMan architecture) stated, “The latest release of RenderMan is a technological reinvention. It’s the result of focused research and development at both Pixar and Disney, and these advancements are now freely available to the visual effects and animation community through Non-Commercial RenderMan. We look forward to seeing what our users create.” 

In testimony to the power of the RenderMan software and RIS tech in particular, the director of Pixar's upcoming "Finding Dory" Andrew Stanton says, "We’ve recently begun to see some final images for ‘Finding Dory.’ It’s our first feature using RenderMan’s RIS technology… and it’s just unbelievable. RIS has opened so many new creative possibilities for us; we’re creating images that were previously impossible for us to achieve. It really is looking spectacular.” 


In correlation with the release of Free Non-Commercial RenderMan, Pixar is also launching a 
RenderMan Community site where users can congregate to spread knowledge, share tips, and exchange resources and assets (such as shaders and scripts). Members of the RenderMan Community will also be able to draw benefit from RenderMan tutorials developed and published by the community's most creative and experienced minds. 

Free Non-Commercial RenderMan is available as a 
free download for artists and wannabe artists alike running recent 64-bit Mac and Windows operating systems, and for those running Linux (Linux glibc 2.12 and higher and gcc 4.4.5 and higher). It is compatible with 2013.5, 2014, and 2015 of Autodesk's Maya, and with versions 1.5, 1.6, and 2.0 of The Foundry's KATANA.