RenderMan, Pixar’s fabled software that can simulate extremely realistic lighting on 3-D objects, is now free to download for non-commercial use on Mac, Windows, and Linux. There are no time limits, watermarks, or other restrictions on the software, but if you want to release your Toy Story fan fiction to theaters or use it in other commercial ways, you’ll have to license it for $500.
RenderMan isn’t a self-contained 3-D animation engine. All it does is flesh out your animation in a realistic light. So to use it, you’ll still need to download a piece of 3-D modeling software like Maya (which you can also do for free). Even still, given that RenderMan has been used in everything from Pixar’s monstrously successful animated films like Toy Story, Cars, and Up, to the visual effects in big budget Hollywood blockbusters like Guardians of the Galaxy, it’s exciting to consider what you could produce for free, given enough skill, creativity, and effort.
[H/T: ars technica]