RenderMan, the in-house rendering software used by Pixar on all its films, now available to download, free of charge, for all non-commercial purposes.

As well as being crucial technology employed on all Pixar films, RenderMan was the rendering engine used most recently for such Hollywood blockbusters as The Lego Movie, Maleficent, Noah and Edge of Tomorrow, as well as four-fifths of the films nominated for this year’s Academy Award for Visual Effects: X-Men: Days of Future Past, Interstellar, Guardians of the Galaxy and Captain America: The Winter Soldier.

“RenderMan is the ultimate creative tool,” Academy Award-winning visual effects artist Joe Letteri is quoted as saying on the RenderMan website. “It’s the easiest, most flexible way to create a picture from an idea.”

Though not standalone 3D animation software, RenderMan does offer “extremely fast global illumination and interactive shading and lighting.” See the software in action here:

To be clear, the software has not been open-sourced; those hoping to make comparable RenderMan-assisted impacts on the box office will need to pay a $495 licensing fee for commercial use. However, the non-commercial version of RenderMan is fully functional and both watermark- and time limit-free, compatible with any 64-bit operating system on Mac, PC, or Linux.

To download the software, head to the RenderMan website, where you can access more than five hours of video training and join the RenderMan community.

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Darryn King

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