When we think of Pixar, we often think of the groundbreaking stories that the studio has produced, including Toy Story, Up, and The Incredibles. Although the animation house does not exactly want us to focus on the visuals, the employees work tirelessly to capture the look they need to tell a story. Pixar licenses its rendering software, RenderMan, to other studios, who are then able to pull off breathtaking visual effects as well. The incredible aspect of the software is that for every leap forward that Pixar’s RenderMan undergoes, the entire industry benefits. Not part of the industry? You can now get the software for free!
According to the official website for RenderMan, all of the last 15 Oscar winners in the Visual Effects category have used Pixar’s software, indicating its popularity and sheer power. Students, educators, and those simply interested in rendering using the software previously had to pay for a license, but Pixar is encouraging more development by giving those who are trying to learn and experiment (as opposed to attempting to make a profit) the ability to do so without opening up their wallets. Additionally, there will be no restrictions placed upon the free licenses, so no watermarking or timed limits!
Commercial users will have to fork over $495/license (not much when you consider those looking to turn a profit often earn in the millions). The software will be available for all widely used 64-bit OSs, including Mac OS 10.8 and 10.7, Windows 8, 7, and Vista, and Linux.
UPDATE (3/24/15): Pixar’s RenderMan is now available! Those looking to obtain a non-commercial license for free can click here.
Check out the full press release for all the details below:
Pixar Animation Studios Announces Monumental Innovations In Film Rendering
Advanced Global Illumination, New Pricing, Free Non-Commercial Use
EMERYVILLE, CA – (May 29th, 2014) Representing years of research and development, Pixar Animation Studios today announced a series of important innovations in the latest version of its forthcoming Academy Award®-winning RenderMan software that will radically impact the way film imagery is rendered and accessed by everyone. This generational shift in RenderMan establishes an entirely new modular rendering architecture called RIS that provides highly optimized methods for simulating the transport of light through multiple state of the art algorithms, including an advanced Unidirectional Path Tracer and a Bidirectional Path Tracer with Progressive Photon Mapping (also known as VCM). Along with major feature and performance enhancements, physically-based, artist-friendly workflows, progressive re-rendering, and the established advantages of RenderMan’s traditional REYES architecture, RenderMan now offers two rendering modes within one unified environment, providing the most advanced, versatile, and flexible rendering system available.
With rendering technology constantly evolving, RIS represents a forward-looking framework through which Pixar can deploy additional rendering methodologies as they become available. RenderMan is the conduit through which applicable advanced research from within the Walt Disney organization will be channeled into the production industry, including in the forthcoming release, Disney’s Principled BRDF shader and supporting materials.
“This truly brings the future of fully photo-realistic ray-traced rendering to RenderMan” said David Hirst, Global Head of Lighting at MPC. “We did tests with the production assets from one of our latest movies and were completely blown away by the speed and how interactively we could preview and render these assets. The RIS based integrator is going to change the way we work, with more scalable rendering and faster results.”
As a further commitment to the advancement of open standards and practices, Pixar is announcing that, in conjunction with the upcoming release, free non-commercial licenses of RenderMan will be made available without any functional limitations, watermarking, or time restrictions. Non-commercial RenderMan will be freely available for students, institutions, researchers, developers, and for personal use. Those interested in exploring RenderMan’s new capabilities are invited to register in advance on the RenderMan website to access a free license for download upon release.
Effective immediately, Pixar is also announcing that the price of the current version of RenderMan is $495 per license for commercial use, with customized peak render packages offering built-in “burst render” capability. The upcoming RenderMan release will combine the functionality of the previously separate RenderMan Pro Server and RenderMan Studio through a flexible license, providing unmatched versatility in allocating artist or batch render assets at different stages of production.
The new RenderMan is being released in the timeframe of SIGGRAPH 2014 and will be compatible with the following 64-bit operating systems, Mac OS 10.8 and 10.7, Windows 8, 7, and Vista, and Linux. Autodesk Maya compatibility is with versions 2013, 2013.5, 2014, and 2015. Pixar’s annual maintenance program benefits customers with access to ongoing support and free upgrades. For more information please visit www.pixar.com or contact email@example.com.
About Pixar Animation Studios
Pixar Animation Studios, a wholly owned subsidiary of The Walt Disney Company, is an Academy Award®-winning film studio with world-renowned technical, creative and production capabilities in the art of computer animation. Creator of some of the most successful and beloved animated films of all time, including “Toy Story,” “Monsters, Inc.,” “Cars,” “The Incredibles,” “Ratatouille,” “WALL•E,” “Up,” “Toy Story 3” and “Brave,” the Northern California studio has won 30 Academy Awards® and its films have grossed more than $8.3 billion at the worldwide box office to date. “Monsters University,” Pixar’s fourteenth feature, is now available on all home entertainment platforms.