Pixar has decided to release its flagship animation software known as RenderMan for free. As part of the company's long-term commitment to foster the future growth of the production industries, Pixar will make the software used to create classics like Toy Story and Wall-E free to non-commercial users.
Professional users will have to fork over $495 for RenderMan, but software licenses for the purposes of evaluation, education, personal training/experimentation, and research will be completely free of charge. Developers interested in building applications and tools for RenderMan can also grab the animation software for nothing. This is not a stripped down version of RenderMan either, this is the full version of the software without watermarks, any sort of functionality limitations or time restrictions.
The announcement comes alongside the company introducing a new version of the software last week. The latest build comes with enhancements across the board and "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," according to Pixar.
The company appears to be focused on pushing its software as both a standard in the field but also as a way to bolster the production industry as a whole. The company feels that limitations on access to software of this nature have acted as a "brake" in the growth and development of the industry, and that allowing it to be useable for free by educators and for personal experimentation can only help the cause. Pixar says the new RenderMan should be available in the "timeframe of SIGGRAPH 2014" which takes place in mid August.