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Pixar Releases RenderMan Non-Commercial for Artists & Students

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A Non-Commercial version of the RenderMan renderer is now available from Pixar, free of charge. The product is the same v21 RenderMan software now in use within the production industry, but comes with the restriction that it can only be used for non-commercial applications. It is also node-locked and does not have a floating network license.

About the release, Disney / Pixar says that Non-Commercial RenderMan demonstrates their commitment to the development and dissemination of their rendering system and the interchange of assets in common formats. RenderMan is a way for new rendering and image processing techniques developed at Disney / Pixar research to reach the public domain, ideally to establish a common platform for production, research and development, trials and experimentation.

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The company also believes that limitations in software licensing tend to subvert the growth of the production industry, and that universal access and a set of common standards and practices will have a positive effect.

Non-Commercial RenderMan has the same functionally as the commercial version, and gives free and complete access to its tools. Likewise all of the reference documentation is available on the RenderMan website, with examples of rendering challenges and their solutions, plus the RenderMan community website where RenderMan users share and swap information, assets, tips and tricks. Pixar also posts video tutorials, material libraries, case studies and workflow examples from Pixar and other RenderMan users, and operates a support forum for advice and help.

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‘Non-Commercial’ refers to any usage of RenderMan that does not generate direct profits. Examples are evaluations, personal projects, learning, student and academic use, experimentation and research. Employees can use Non-Commercial RenderMan at home on their own projects or to test out ideas and techniques for work, but not for generating final content for work related projects. If you are uncertain if your requirement qualifies as non-commercial, contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. for clarification.

However, Pixar does encourage the use of Non-Commercial RenderMan as a development platform for tools and plug-ins that developers can sell commercially to both Non-Commercial and Commercial RenderMan users. Students can use Non-Commercial RenderMan on class or personal projects that are non-profit, including work for showreelsrenderman.pixar.com