If you’ve been a child in the last two decades, or frankly been alive in them, you’ve seen the shift from pencil drawn animation to rendered animation sweep the movie landscape like a glacier. Once it began, arguably with Toy Story, there was little going back. Since its inception, we’ve been privy to the effort and time it takes to create these films, kids and techies alike, feasting on the stats like how it allegedly took 9 hours of sweat for every 30 seconds of movie. That kind of made us marvel at the technology used to create them, and it would be fair to say many assumed those programs were expensive and out of the reach of most. Maybe true then, but not anymore. RenderMan is Pixar’s omnipresent VFX software and now you can get it, the real thing….for free.
Aside from Toy Story its been used in the creation of other blockbusters like Wall-E, Jurassic Park, Star Trek, and every child’s new favorite, Frozen. Now you can use it for your…well, whatever it is you want really; home videos, creating titles or pieces to add to photography or videography projects, or just fooling around. The license for the software usually costs about $500 with an annual license maintenance cost of $200, but now you can register to have a non-commercial licensed version totally free of cost. This will be available come August.
Restrictions (there aren’t any, sort of)
What you’ll be able to get is a digital download of the software, and it will be in its entirety. Getting all of this goodness comes with only a small caveat; that you’ll only be able to use it for personal projects, and not make any financial gain from it. See here
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.
If you do manage to create something that is to be used commercially, all you would need to do, however, is contact the company who will then draw up a specific commercial license for you.
Well, whatever they may publicize you can read about, and will likely list altruistic attitudes of the two giant companies who wish to better the industry by advancing knowledge, and in turn the tech. I am sure to one point that this sort of marketing strategy will get this software into exponentially more hands than otherwise it would’ve, and not only will that serve up more commercial licenses, but also the amount of data feedback will likely be voluminous, and free.
I think it’s important to note that this software is pro-grade, and will not be as easy for most to pick up. It is very powerful and I’ve heard, can be daunting. You may possibly need other affiliated software to do the work, such as Maya. But hey, it’s a step, and a good one. Register here.