Aspiring animators, listen up! Pixar’s working on a brand new version of Renderman, the in-house software they use to render (duh) all their awesome digital creations. There are a slew of improvements coming, but the big news is that there’s a version you can download for free.
That’s a pretty amazing giveaway — Renderman is a $500 piece of software. Between Autodesk offering students a free download of Maya and the new Renderman v19 being completely free, young amateur animation enthusiasts have access to two of the tools that power some of the highest-grossing animated features in the history of cinema.
In 2001, three members of the Renderman team received an Academy Award of Merit “for significant advancements to the field of motion picture rendering.” It was the first time that software developers were awarded an Oscar. Since then, Pixar has added two more Scientific and Engineering Awards for Renderman advances.
The new version boasts a laundry list of improvements, which you can read about on the Pixar site. The important thing to note is that this is an industrial-grade app capable of rendering an entire movie like Toy Story, Wall-E, or Up and you can have it for free. You may, or course, need to upgrade your computer a bit if you want to be able to process your creations quickly. Rendering a lengthy, detailed animation isn’t the kind of task you’d want to leave in the hands of a Core i3 laptop. You could, however, and if you’re not paying for the software and just want to fool around, it would probably work just fine. Slow, but fine.
If you’d like to get your hands on Renderman without shelling out a single cent, all you have to do is fill out a short registration form and download the bits. You’ll be churning out beautifully-rendered animated featurettes in no time.