The first of its kind, Toy Story was an instant hit and was the first feature-length film done entirely in computer animation.  Pixar was on to a revelation!  Earning $361 million, it was the top grossing film in the first weekend it was out in theatres.

The film was created with software, RenderMan.  Other films that benefited from this advanced software was Monsters Inc. and Harry Potter.  Now, for the first time ever, it will be given away for non-commercial use for absolutely free!

Pixar developed RenderMan and is currently facing vast competition from other rivals in the animation department, such as VRay and Arnold.


Pixar is currently owned by Disney but still produces its own films and allows RenderMan to be licensed out to other rival studios. Pixar has also reduced the price of its software for commercial use.

Pixar has released a free version of RenderMan “without any functional limitations, watermarking, or time restrictions.  Non-commercial RenderMan will be freely available for students, institutions, researchers, developers, and for personal use,” Pixar has stated.

At the Special Interest Group on Graphics and Interactive Techniques (Siggraph) conference in August, Pixar is planning to release their product.  What does this mean for budding computer animators?  This technology revolutionised the film industry.  Perhaps more computer animators will be in the making.

What do you need to access the free software? Pixar’s website states, “RenderMan is advanced technology for shading and lighting. Because RenderMan is not an animation or modeling package, RenderMan must be plugged into one of the following tools, Maya, Houdini, Katana, or Cinema4D. If you use one of those packages you can try RenderMan. RenderMan by itself does not have a user interface or GUI”.

You can register now and you will be notified when the next non-commercial RenderMan will be available for licensing.

[Image via wikimedia]