Free Non-Commercial RenderMan FAQ
Scheduled for release early 2015.
Questions about registration and availability
1. When will Non-Commercial RenderMan be released?
We are now targeting early 2015 for final release. This is due to the enormous amount of interest in the new RenderMan RIS architecture that we have received for a wide variety of applications. As a result, we have decided to expand the supporting tools and reference materials so that we can deliver the very best user experience. When Non-Commercial RenderMan is ready for release, everyone who has registered in advance will be sent an email notification with exact instructions on how to download the software.
2. Can I still register in advance to receive Non-Commercial RenderMan?
Yes. You can register here for your free copy of Non-Commercial RenderMan when it is released.
3. Do I need to call Pixar directly to access free Non-Commercial RenderMan?
No. Upon release, Non-Commercial RenderMan will be accessible from the RenderMan website by automatic registration and download.
Questions about what Non-Commercial RenderMan can do
4. What does Non-Commercial RenderMan do?
Pixar's RenderMan is the premier professional rendering software responsible for the final look and appearance of the imagery that you see on screen. RenderMan is used by talented creators and studios large and small to generate the photorealistic visuals used in the majority of visual effects movies and many animated features, including all of Pixar's films. Additional insight into what RenderMan does can be found here.
5. Can RenderMan be used on its own to create animation?
No. RenderMan itself is not an animation system and requires scene data from compatible CG modeling and animation software or other external sources to generate photorealistic images. RenderMan is most commonly used with such well known CG authoring solutions as Autodesk's Maya, Maxon's Cinema4D, Side Effects Houdini, and The Foundry's KATANA.
6. What skills do I need to use Non-Commercial RenderMan?
As professional rendering software at the leading edge of technical development, familiarity with general computer graphics modeling, animation, lighting, and rendering concepts is important to properly utilize RenderMan's capabilities. If you are not familiar with the process of rendering images, we recommend becoming familiar with one of the supported CG authoring solutions listed above first.
7. Is Non-Commercial RenderMan restricted in any way?
No. Non-Commercial RenderMan is functionally the same as the commercial version used by creative artists the world over, offering free and complete access to its capabilities. The main limitation is that Non-Commercial RenderMan is node-locked and does not have a floating network license. Upon installation and acceptance of the EULA, the software should only thereafter be used for non-commercial purposes.
8. What learning materials will be available when Non-Commercial RenderMan is released?
Full internal reference documentation will be supplied as standard and the RenderMan website is being updated to provide multiple examples of rendering challenges and their solutions, including video tutorials, case studies, and samples. Additionally, a number of third party trainers are working on new learning materials. Finally, a new community website dedicated to Non-Commercial RenderMan is in development so that all RenderMan users can share and swap information, assets, tips and tricks, along with a support forum for advice and help.
Questions about compatibility with other authoring applications
9. What CG authoring solutions are compatible with RenderMan right now?
Currently Autodesk's Maya and The Foundry's Katana are directly supported by Pixar. In addition, Side Effects Houdini and Maxon's Cinema4D offer well established connectivity to RenderMan.
10. What versions of Maya and Katana are supported?
RenderMan is compatible with versions 2013.5, 2014, and 2015 of Autodesk’s Maya, and with versions 1.5, 1.6, and 2.0 of The Foundry’s Katana.
11. What additional CG authoring solutions are compatible with Non-Commercial RenderMan?
A number of third-party developers are working on compatibility with popular mainstream authoring solutions for RenderMan, including Blender and Lightwave. Updates to Maxon's Cinema4D and Houdini connectivity are also underway.
12. What mainstream CG authoring solutions are NOT currently compatible with Non-Commercial RenderMan?
At present, there is no direct connectivity between Autodesk's 3ds max and The Foundry's Modo to RenderMan. This situation can change quickly so please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org if there is a specific application of interest for which you need clarification.
RenderMan Bridge Compatibility
Supported by Pixar 3rd-Party Support Underway Unsupported
Maya . . . . . . . . . X
KATANA . . . . . . . . X
Cinema4D . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . X
Houdini. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . X
3ds max. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . X
Modo . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .X
Rhino. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .X
Lightwave. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .X
Blender. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .X
Nuke . . . . . Supported via secondary outputs, deep textures & light path expressions
Questions about Non-Commercial use
13. How does Pixar define "Non-Commercial" use?
Simply, any usage of RenderMan that does not generate direct profits. Examples of non-commercial usage include evaluations, personal projects, learning, student and academic use, experimentation and research.
14. Can Non-Commercial RenderMan be used to create content by cultural, religious, or other 501c(3) non-profit organizations that generate revenue through entrance or member fees, service charges, subscriptions etc?
If a fee is charged to access content that is created by Non-Commercial RenderMan then that usage falls into the category of commercial use. We appreciate there are borderline situations so please contact us at email@example.com if you require additional clarification.
15. Are there any profit earning exceptions to the "Non-Commercial" use rule?
There are two significant exceptions. Indirect activities such as personal images or clips posted on YouTube or Vimeo that may generate advertising revenue are permitted. Please include a credit that your work was rendered with Pixar's RenderMan. Non-Commercial RenderMan can also be used as a platform on which you can develop commercial tools and plug-ins. If you are uncertain as to whether your requirement qualifies as non-commercial, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org for clarification.
16. What if I now want to use Non-Commercial RenderMan for commercial purposes?
Simply contact us at email@example.com, and we will set you up as a commercial user with the additional benefits of floating licensing, direct support and ongoing beta access. We can offer a number of attractive pricing solutions for your requirements.
Questions about Student and Academic use
17. Can I use Non-Commercial RenderMan for my showreel?
Yes. You are welcome to use Non-Commercial RenderMan on any student or personal project. Please include a credit that your work was rendered with Pixar's RenderMan.
18. Can I obtain a floating license of Non-Commercial RenderMan for my School?
Yes. Because Non-Commercial RenderMan uses a node-locked license by default, please have your system administrator contact firstname.lastname@example.org to discuss a floating license for your schools network.
19. Are there any ongoing requirements for School/University/College use?
We simply request that RenderMan is used to support actively taught classes in computer graphics, animation, media, science, architecture, or any other course that has a need for advanced rendering capabilities.
20. Is there any type of certification for teaching with Non-Commercial RenderMan?
Certification for RenderMan can be granted on a case by case basis. To qualify, evidence that RenderMan is being regularly taught to an accepted standard is required.
21. Can we use the Pixar Logo to promote our school?
You are welcome to use the specific Pixar's RenderMan logo if your school is teaching RenderMan and to use it with work produced by your school. The Pixar Studio (only) logo should not be used under any circumstance.
Questions about installation and platform compatibility
22. How many licenses of free Non-Commercial RenderMan can I access?
A single Node-Locked license is provided free of charge for each RenderMan forum user name.
23. What is the process to access a Non-Commercial RenderMan license?
Upon release, you will be emailed instructions to connect to a webpage from which you can download RenderMan. Once downloaded, you simply install the software on your machine, after which a license application requests your forum username and password. If you have not previously licensed RenderMan on that particular machine, a license will be downloaded into the proper place for Non-Commercial RenderMan to properly function.
24. Can I copy Non-Commercial RenderMan to another machine once installed?
No. Each Non-Commercial RenderMan license is attached to the machine that you originally selected.
25. What if I need a large number of Non-Commercial RenderMan licenses?
Please contact email@example.com where we can help you with your needs.
26. Are floating licenses available?
Though floating licenses are available as a benefit of commercial RenderMan, only node-locked licenses are available for free Non-Commercial RenderMan.
27. What operating systems are supported?
Mac OS 10.9, 10.8 and 10.7, Windows 8, 7, and Linux glibc 2.12 or higher and Centos6 gcc 4.4.5 and higher are all supported. In addition, Mac OS 10.10 is undergoing final testing.
28. Does Non-Commercial RenderMan support GPU's?
The first version of Non-Commercial RenderMan is a multi-threaded software application that does not use GPU's due to the current fluidity of the hardware and supporting software standards. However GPU's are an important aspect of the future direction of rendering that Pixar is currently researching, some of which has already demonstrated in public. As the technology matures for comprehensive production usage we will reveal more in future.
29. Who can help with installation problems for Non-Commercial RenderMan?
A community forum is being established as the central source for help and advice about installation along with any other questions you may have.
Other frequently asked questions
30. Why is Pixar making RenderMan free for Non-Commercial use?
This is a strategic and long-term commitment by Disney / Pixar to the advancement and dissemination of the production industry's most advanced rendering technologies and the interchange of assets in common formats. First, RenderMan going forwards is the conduit through which applicable rendering and image processing technologies developed within Disney / Pixar research will be channeled into the public domain to establish a common platform for production, research and development, trials and experimentation, and other applications. Second, it is Pixar's experience that limitations on software access have become an impediment to the development of the production industry, and that universal access and a set of common standards and practices can only stimulate further growth. Third, existing trial and evaluation methods of providing access through watermarked or time-expiration licenses are profoundly unsatisfying for proper evaluation. The resources and technology now being invested in RenderMan are of superior quality unduplicated anywhere, and will continue to anticipate the needs of film production imagery as Pixar has over the past 25-years. Providing RenderMan for free for non-commercial use represents the commitment of Disney / Pixar that RenderMan is the long-term film rendering standard.
31. Where can I find more information about RenderMan?
For questions related to RenderMan, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org, and one of our specialists will help you learn more about Pixar's RenderMan.