Get the Rendering Software Used in Pixar's Toy Story and Wall-E for Free

Get the Rendering Software Used in Pixar's Toy Story and Wall-E for Free

Frozen, The Hobbit, Toy Story, Wall-E, Jurassic Park... these are just a handful of the blockbuster movies over the years that have utilized Pixar's award-winning VFX software, RenderMan. In fact, RenderMan has been around since 1984 - used to render computer graphics in Star Trek: The Wrath of Khan. Now you have the chance to own the software yourself - for free! You read that right - FREE! You can register today for a non-commercial licensed download of the latest version set to be released sometime around August following the SIGGRAPH 2014 time frame.

Wait, wait, wait, wait, wait - non-commercial? What's that all about?
It's pretty simple. You can use the same full-featured software that commercial licensees are receiving; you just can't make money with what you create. More specifically, Pixar explains non-commercial to mean,

"Any usage of RenderMan that does not involve direct commercial use to generate profits. Examples of non-commercial use-cases include evaluations, personal learning and familiarization, student usage, any type of experimentation, research, and the development of tools and plug-ins that compliment the RenderMan and new RIS framework."

What if I want to use non-commercial RenderMan for commercial work?
This is the best part: if you rendered something amazing you're able to use in a commercial way, you simply have to contact them at to get a custom commercial package put together for you. That is a pretty sweet deal for an initial investment of zilch.

With a completely new price restructuring (a commercial license is down to $495 with an annual maintenance fee of $200), Pixar seems to be looking to get their software in a lot more animator's hands. With the complete functionality of the commercially licensed version, getting a copy to play with is a no-brainer for anyone involved in computer animation. Don't understand why they'd just give the software away? Pixar elaborates:

"This is 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. First, RenderMan going forwards will be the conduit through which applicable rendering technologies developed within Disney / Pixar research will be channeled into the public domain to establish a common platform for production, research and development, trials and experimentation, learning, and other applications. Second, 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. Third, existing trial and evaluation methods of providing access through watermarked or time-expiry licenses are unsatisfying for proper evaluation. The resources and technology now being invested in RenderMan are of superior quality and will continue to anticipate the needs of film production imagery as Pixar has over the past 25-years. Providing RenderMan free for non-commercial usage represents the commitment of Disney / Pixar that RenderMan is the long-term film rendering standard."

So what are you waiting for? Go and register to be notified when it's available!

Even more information is available at the FAQ.

[via Slate | Pixar]

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Job's picture

I can not believe I read this on a photography website first lol, Computer animation was what I wanted to do when I finished High School but ended up doing photography. This is pretty exciting even though it is odd that I am reading this on a site almost dedicated to photography

Zach Sutton's picture

Fstoppers is about Photography, Videography and anything involved to help create those crafts. There are so many practical uses to make interesting images and videos alike.

greg tennyson's picture

This might be a neat tool for making titles and animating your logo.

Spy Black's picture

3D is also used in still work, as it is in motion. I have a project right now I'm debating between 3D, or just comping the whole thing.

Gerard Henninger's picture

This is great news, but this is just render software, this DOESN'T allow you to model/texture/light anything. If you want to use Renderman, you still need 3D software like Cinema 4D or Maya, both of which ARE NOT free.

And not to forget; Renderman is one of the hardest renderers to master, V-Ray, Mental Ray or the famous Arnold are much easier to learn.

So F-Stoppers readers are going to register for this free version, download it when it's ready and then think "Okay, lets add a cool 3D Sphere in my photos..... but uh, how do I do that?"

Maya would be the best 3D tool to get if you want to use Renderman, but Maya is about $3500 ;)
Modo is cheaper, easier to master and has a great renderer.

Still great news though, but not for 3D beginners.

Adam T's picture

You beat me to it. Not that big of a fan for renderman, unless you have a farm by your side.
Also you forgot blender with cycles

Stianped's picture

Blender ( is free and open source, something for beginners maybe. (Currently has a terrible UI). Have heard of pros switching to it as well.

Gerard Henninger's picture

What kind of "pros" are we talking about? The big studios don't/hardly use Blender; it's Maya, 3DSMax, Modo, Softimage etc etc.

If you're starting with 3D, Blender might be a good choice, but Cylcles would be good enough for rendering. This free version of Renderman is more for 3D-animation students, not for the complete 3D-beginner.

ColinMcMano's picture

Wow. It's been a few years since you did any serious 3D work ye?

First of all Softimage is dead...2015 is end of the line. Everything is Maya now. 3ds Max is clearly being gutted as's being held together with duct tape by an enthusiastic community.

Blender is slowly getting accepted even in high end can do crazy stuff in Blender now.

Gerard Henninger's picture

Softimage is still "big" because of ICE, especially in Japan. You can't buy it anymore, but it is still supported and a lot of studios use it. Most of them will probably switch to Maya because of Autodesk's transition-plan.

3DSMax might be gutted, but it's not going away; too many studios are using it (with VRay, FumeFX, Afterburn, Rayfire etc etc).

Aaron Brown's picture

Isn't the student discount for Maya pretty substantial? I'd imagine that the few animators that we have reading articles here on Fstoppers already have Maya.

Ahmad Al-Joboori's picture

Unfortunately, no plug-in for 3DS MAX

Ahmad Al-Joboori's picture

Good catch though. Thank you Fstoppers