Make VFX like the pros – Pixar to give away RenderMan Software

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Used to create all your favourite Pixar movies, 3D rendering software RenderMan will soon be made available to everyone free of charge for non-commercial use, with the commercial version of the software also taking a hefty price cut.

The influence of this amazing piece of kit doesn’t stop at Pixar’s borders. Movies such as Man of Steel, Pacific Rim, Thor: The Dark World and The Hobbit all used RenderMan for their VFX and that’s just a tiny selection from 2013. In a press release, Pixar announced the following:

“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.”

It has been speculated that the reasoning behind the move is to build a community based around creatives using this software, ensuring that they are in a better position to compete with alternatives such as VRay and Arnold.

16494_2936_meWhile the mention of Pixar might have you thinking of 3D modelling and animation, that’s not quite what RenderMan does. The software is built to render 3D animation and visual effects alongside other programs such as Maya. It is a major building block in the creation of CGI and VFX. It’s not an easy tool to use either: this isn’t designed to be picked up and used by first-timers, so don’t expect to be making your own versions of Toy Story overnight!

But what this announcement does mean is that universities, young professionals and anyone with an interest in computer graphics will soon have access to an industry-standard tool at no cost. For anyone who has had to deal with the likes of Photoshop or Avid, working around a hefty price tag can be a major obstacle, so for those wanting to practice using RenderMan, this really is amazing news.

Free access to RenderMan will hopefully lead to more young artists getting to grips with the tool, allowing people to enter the industry better prepared. If you would like to learn more, Pixar’s official RenderMan website is full of useful and interesting information.

Sources: BBC News | Pixar Press Release

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