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News & Insight

Get The Software Used In Frozen, Jurassic Park, Harry Potter, & Many More…For Free (No Gimmick)

By Kishore Sawh on June 8th 2014


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 yourwell, 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.

[REWIND: HandeVision IBELUX 40mm f/0.85 | ‘World’s Fastest Lens For System Cameras’]


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.

Sources: Slate / Renderman / Disney


A photographer and writer based in Miami, he can often be found at dog parks, and airports in London and Toronto. He is also a tremendous fan of flossing and the happiest guy around when the company’s good.

Q&A Discussions

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  1. Christian

    I don’t know where you got 9 hours of work for every 30seconds of footage, but trust me it’s a lot more than 9 hours! I mean an animator will probably put out about 4 seconds a week, but then there’s modellers, texture artists, lighters, fx, comping etc, all with numerous revisions… You’re talking hundreds of man hours for 30 seconds ;)

    I don’t know the reason behind this post, but it’s pretty useless for anyone but a professional or possibly a student with a lot of support. You have to run it off the back of another piece of software like maya or Houdini, and all the packages (even the open source blender app) have a competent built in rendering engine. And if you want to do anything complex with it, it becomes a whole other beast that requires a lot of knowledge, patience, time, frustration and effort to get what you want…

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    • Kishore Sawh

      HI Christian, again, it’s mentioned above, as well as in the body of the article, that this is not a simple tool to utilize, and also mentioned that there is a necessity for other software to be used in conjunction; Maya, again, was named directly. Those points were addressed, albeit briefly, as not the focus of the news. Cheers

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  2. Jim

    Actually, Renderman is rendering software, it can only be used with a 3D program like Maya, 3Dmax, XSI or similar. It won’t work on its own. Maya, 3DMax and the now defunct XSI are available from Autodesk and are quite expensive. Renderman is a very complex and very good rendering tool but in the real world it is so expensive that most companies have abandoned it for better and cheaper renders such as Vray or Arnold.

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    • Kishore Sawh

      Hi Jim, I do make reference to the possible necessity of having a program such as Maya, I even named Maya, in conjunction with. Whether Vray or Arnold are better is still subjective. But agreed, that for the casual user, this software isn’t of the type that will be navigated simply. Cheers

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