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Pixar To Give Away 3D RenderMan Software 147

Posted by Soulskill
from the building-a-community dept.
nairnr sends this news from the BBC: 'The 3D rendering software behind films such as Toy Story, Monsters Inc and Harry Potter is to be given away free for non-commercial use. RenderMan, which is developed by Pixar, has faced increased competition from rival animation rendering programmes such as VRay and Arnold. Although Pixar, which is owned by Disney, produces its own films, it licenses RenderMan to rival studios. In a statement, the firm said it would release a free version of RenderMan "without any functional limitations, watermarking, or time restrictions." "Non-commercial RenderMan will be freely available for students, institutions, researchers, developers, and for personal use," it added.'
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Pixar To Give Away 3D RenderMan Software

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  • by phrostie (121428) on Tuesday June 03, 2014 @03:26PM (#47158737)

    look up the history of BMRT

    I'd be happy if they gave that back.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday June 03, 2014 @04:20PM (#47159259)

    Presto is not even directly related to rendering.

    In terms of rendering, try making an architectural visualization with PRman. Try doing product shots. Try doing anything besides exactly what it was built to do within the confines of Pixar. There's a reason other rendering tools exist, and price alone is not it. Keep in mind that PRMan couldn't even do accurate reflections for the longest of times, and the general sentiment at the time was that it didn't need to be able to anyway, as few things in the movies it was being used for had reflective surfaces, and where they did, they could always find a work-around or use another tool. It didn't take very long for them to add a raytracing subsystem, though.

    That said, rendering is more or less old news, simply because the computational power now exists to render things using physically accurate equations within a reasonable time frame without having to resort to cheats like photon mapping, render cache, etc. (even if many still opt to do so), and flexible enough to let artists bend the rules of physics where they feel it delivers a better aesthetic result. Moreover, this is within reach of prosumer budgets. Anybody serious enough can buy a decent graphics card, and VRay for [choice of animation package here], and off they go. There haven't been particularly great advances in core rendering technology shown off at, for example, Siggraph [realtimerendering.com] or EuroGraphics [realtimerendering.com] for a while now. Most of it is just about speeding up the existing computations a little bit more, or finding somewhat more efficient ways to do X, where X is usually a somewhat obscure portion of rendering that might not even be related to the visual at all, but e.g. transfer of properties, sound propagation, and others). If anything, there appears to be more research in Non-Photorealistic Rendering than there is in photorealistic.

    So if all rendering is practically equal, where do you get artists to focus? On modeling tools, animations tools, rigging tools, etc. All the actual artist-side-of-things which can interface with whatever renderer they want (as long as they use reasonably agnostic shaders); which are exactly the areas where Pixar's tools shine.

  • by westlake (615356) on Tuesday June 03, 2014 @06:37PM (#47160495)

    Sure, you can cut the cable and all, but it's kind of funny that Disney has insinuated themselves that damned deeply into the entertainment industry, no?

    You have got to be kidding.

    Disney has a ninety year backlist of family-oriented feature films, shorts and television productions.

    Its archives essentially intact and in a state suitable for commercial distribution.

    Disney jump-started the ABC television network beginning in 1954 with Disneyland. Disney and Warner Brothers were the first of the "majors" to move into network television production in a really big way. with a handsome pay-off for everyone involved.

    Disney's move to all-color production in 1961 did the same for NBC and color TV sales.

    The pattern repeats with the introduction of cable, VHS, DVD, Blu-Ray...and now streaming media.

    The original Menzel version of "Let It Go" distributed free and without copy protection as licensed HD Disney Studio animation is approaching 250 million page views on YouTube. I'll let you work out how that word-of-mouth translates into rental and sales of the movie and soundtrack alone.

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