RenderMan, Pixar’s core rendering technology for animation and visual effects in movies such as Frozen and The Incredibles, has been made free.
Before all you product designers get super excited to be creating animations with the same incredible characteristics as Monsters Inc. there’s a few slight problems – firstly, the free version is only available for non-commercial products.
Secondly, unless you’re bugging out in a studio equipped with Autodesk Maya, The Foundry’s Katana, or Cinema4D then the options are limited – there’s a third-party app for 3ds Max on the way, but nothing as yet planned for Modo, Rhino, or any of your standard solid modelling CAD tools
This Teapot's Made for Walking from Pixar's RenderMan on Vimeo.
This shouldn’t get you down, as it’s still an amazing bit of kit – with its new ray tracing rendering paradigm called RIS, which is a highly-optimised mode for rendering global illumination, specifically for ray tracing scenes with heavy geometry, hair, and volumes all in a single pass.
For lighting and look development, RenderMan’s system for interactive or progressive rendering is promised to dramatically increasing the throughput of production scenes while allowing artists to focus on the art of lighting.
The free version has all the features of the paid version, with no time limit to using it.
If you’ve a calling for some rendering change in your Maya or Katana workflows, check it out here.