Pixar Renderman. Was $1300. Now Free.


Since the company was formed more than 25 years ago, Pixar has used an in-house product called Renderman to help add digital effects to its films.  Those blockbusters include: Toy Story, A Bug's Life, and many more.

Pixar also sold (and continues to sell) Renderman to anyone who wants to use it, and recently cut the price from $1300 to $495.  A good reduction, but still not quite right for Gizmo's Freeware.

However, as of now, the news gets even better.  For non-commercial use, Renderman is totally free.  Just download and install it from https://renderman.pixar.com/view/non-commercial-renderman and get started.

Before you rush to download it, however, it's worth noting the following.  You'll need a 64-bit version of Windows, and as powerful a PC as you can find, in order to get the best from it.  You'll also need to dedicate some serious time to learning it, as this is not a package you can master in a weekend.  Also, be aware that the free version is strictly for non-commercial use only, so you can't use it within your company.  Finally, you'll need to register on Pixar's forum before you can download the installer, and their forum software is pretty much the worst I've ever encountered.  But it's definitely worth persevering.

The download is only 10 MB, and is malware-free according to VirusTotal and Web of Trust.  However, the installer will subsequently download between 500 and 1000 MB of additional files when you run it, so take care if your broadband connection has a monthly allowance of less than that.  



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I have downloaded yet am unable to open -
1st time, I chose just the top one - and it said wasn't there;
2nd time, I chose the top one & the recent Maya one - and it now states it's missing a DLL file ???

What's my third step to be ???;
PLEASE can someone help me here?

You say 2nd time you chose the recent Maya one, you should have Maya installed prior to installing RenderMan. At least I did and received no error. If I misunderstood ... sorry.

Thanks for responding.
Now could you - or someone - please explain how to download the Maya first -


@ Anne,
1) Click on the link up top that goes to the NC RenderMan page.

2) Scroll down just pass halfway (directly across from the gold teapot on the right) to the download the Autodesk Maya free trial link.

3) When you click on the link it takes you to a page where there is a blue/turquoise bar in the middle of the page that says "Download Trial"

4) When you click on the link it will open a page where you have to click and check the 2 boxes at the bottom left of the page that opened. If you don't agree with the terms and conditions by checking the 2 boxes, click on the "No Thanks" button to the right and your through. If you do agree, then click on the blue"Continue" button.

5) After clicking continue, a new page will briefly open and your d/l should start.

it is from their download page about the install wizard and how it works.


Before you begin

Turn off all active applications, including virus checking software, before starting installation.
When you click DOWNLOAD TRIAL, download and installation to your computer begins immediately.

Installation and licensing
Installing your trial software

Simply click Install and a wizard will take you through the software installation.
There is no need to enter a serial number. Just select “I want to try this product.”

Access your trial with sign in
Completing the installation

Restart your computer before launching the trial. If you are not prompted to start the trial, you can launch the program from the icon on your desktop.
You also must register for an Autodesk ID to use your trial.


michael clyde

@ Mr Wednesday,
I was expecting the results you experienced when I went to sign up but, it turned out to be easier than expected. I clicked on "Download and Install" and it said I had to be a member of the the free version (NC, No Charge) forum so I:

1) clicked on the link, filled out the registration

2) went to (and followed) the verification link sent to my email

3) then I went back to the link in Rob's article and followed it, then clicked on the "Download and Install" link again

4) made sure I was still logged into the NC forum before clicking the "Next" button

5) chose my version, hit the "Next" button and d/loaded the small installer

6) when running the d/l'ed installer I had to tell it (by clicking on the 'pop-up' about not detecting which "Maya" version I had previously installed, to "show all" versions of Maya and let me choose my version) to install only the RenderMan Pro version (the top choice) with no Maya support.

The online installer (surprisingly) only took a few seconds for me. The directory where I installed the program was only 20MB's or so, the bulk of the d/l'ed 499MB's was in an .exe file along with a .conf/.ini type file in a non program file location,

The only thing is, a better title might read
"... now offers a Free Version" because the "Full" program cost $499 and up. There is no "Official Support" with the Free version, only other users help in the NC, No Charge support forum, which may be adequate along with the tutorials and other documentation.

needlessy endless registration process

Quote: Compatibility RenderMan® version 19 is supported on the following: 64-bit Mac OS X® Intel Compatible with 10.9, 10.8 & 10.7 ___________________________________________________________ 64-bit Linux® Compatible with gcc 4.4.5 and glibc 2.12 or higher ___________________________________________________________ 64-bit Windows® Compatible with Windows 8 and Windows 7 ___________________________________________________________ More Details: http://renderman.pixar.com/view/non-commercial-renderman Ayam ( http://ayam.sourceforge.net/download.html ) is a free open source cross platform modeling program - but I do not know if it, or Blender are supported ...

I did notice on a prior visit to the site that, as for currently supported compatible programs-
under - "Supported Programs",

under - support is "Underway",

under - support as there is "Potential" for
3DS Max

"Nuke" is supported via "AOV's, LPE's and Deep Textures

(I paraphrased the following from the site)

"Using RenderMan by Itself"

You can use RenderMan by itself with the command-line, and render 3D data in RenderMan's native "RIB" file format. These RIB files are the backbone of any RenderMan pipeline and are highly customizable, offer Python bindings, and allow many types of data to be converted to RIB and rendered with RenderMan.

The Linux version is free, too.

Thank you for the FREE version.

I followed your link and read all the post and Thank You but what a pain in the aspirin bottle to run it using cmd prompt. It took the "G" right out of GUI. If one were to run the trial version of Maya and RM in Returnil or Sandboxie to evaluate the program(s) repeatedly you could, make believe your Bill Murray and photo-realistically render a groundhog, better yet render Andie MacDowell over and over and ...
after all it was a Pixar film.

Indeed. That's why I'm hoping to get KATANA for free by request or the Maya 3-year student license.

wish there was a way to download the files myself. I've never run across an online installer that used very much of available bandwidth.

I almost forgot ... thanks Rob.

Update -
The "Online Installer" actually was much faster than I anticipated, giving credence to the adage "Never Say Never", more or less.

from the RenderMan site,

RenderMan itself is not animation software and requires scene data from compatible CG modeling and animation authoring software or other external sources to generate photorealistic images. RenderMan is most commonly used with such well known software solutions as Autodesk's Maya, Maxon's Cinema4D, Side Effects Houdini, and The Foundry's KATANA.

This info did not seem to fully surface until the 500MB initial install was complete. So, here's the dollar 2.98 question, Is Cinema4D, Houdini or KATANA free?

Hey Rob,
Which option did you choose to be able to utilize RenderMan, surely not the "TRIAL" version of MAYA.