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Pixar give away Oscar-winning RenderMan 3D software for free

Katharine Byrne
3 Jun 2014
Toy Story
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Free, non-commercial version will be made available without watermarks or time restrictions

Pixar has announced that its Academy Award-winning RenderMan software, used to create classic 3D animation films such as Toy Story and Monsters Inc, will be made available as a free program for non-commercial use.

The announcement comes in conjunction with the news of a new commercial version of RenderMan, which Pixar currently licenses to rival companies.

In a statement on the company's website, Pixar said that the "free non-commercial licenses of RenderMan will be made available without any functional limitations, watermarking, or time restrictions."

It will be freely available for students, institutions, researchers, developers, and for personal use, but Pixar advised that those interested in getting hold of the program should register in advance on the RenderMan website so they can access a free license when the program is released.

Pixar also announced that the current version of RenderMan would now be available for $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.

"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)," said Pixar.

"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."

"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."

The new RenderMan will be released during SIGGRAPH 2014, an annual conference on computer graphics that will be held in August this year, 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.

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