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Posted Mon Jun 2, 2014 - by Joel LeLievre

Renderer News

RenderMan price restructuring


(Updated) Pixar's Chris Ford has hinted at a possible RenderMan to 3DS Max bridge in the future. More information on a comment posted by Maziar on this news item.
Pixar have announced a new pricing structure for their rendering solution, RenderMan. A RenderMan license now costs $495, which provides access to either the batch renderer, or the artist interface. They are also providing custom studio packages for requirements of 25 or more licenses. For more details regarding RenderMan pricing, you can visit the RenderMan website.


by Joe - May 30, 2014 9:38 am

How does this work for max users?

by V Miller - May 30, 2014 10:05 am

I don’t know if it does directly but it might put pressure on other companies to change their prices.

What was the cost of a renderman license before? 500 bucks seems pretty cheap.

V Miller

by steve gilbert (cresshead) - May 30, 2014 10:25 am

this is like a news item about FREE BEER ON THE MOON, pointless as only maya has a renderman plugin, remember maxman and blue moon render tools?…complete nightmare trying to connect 3dsmax to a renderman type renderer…move on..Vray or Octane is the future not renderman.

by Carl - May 30, 2014 10:26 am

It doesn’t work for Max Users really, (yet)
-from Pixar Renderman site
“What 3D applications does RenderMan now support?

A: For visual effects, RenderMan has never been more accessible and efficient. Today there are many options for integrating RenderMan into VFX pipelines, including solutions from Pixar for both Autodesk’s Maya® and The Foundry’s KATANA®. Other compatible platforms for RenderMan include Maxon’s Cinema 4D and Side Effect’s Houdini®. Please contact us at and we can help you find the best solution for your requirements.”

We are pretty out of luck from what I have seen responses from the Pixar folks about Max, and what they think the Max user base is, and how it meshes with their software for their development plans. Not rude mind you at all, just sort of 99% of the people that use Renderman are Film broadcast and Max is not a big enough player there for us(Pixar), we will change if this changes thanks.

Strangely Arnold is at least interested in talking to our community

Oddly, mostly what I feel about the reason for this price change for Renderman is Max made VRay into a star from the artists in fields Pixar did not feel where in their wheel house.

If you haven’t checked out the Renderman/Katana workflow for look development videos from the Foundry they are starting to get a interesting thing going on there.

by Stark - May 30, 2014 10:47 am

@cresshead 100% right. I have a few friend’s that are lighters that use Max/Maya. All of them have expressed how there is this mantra of “RenderMan is God.” – without them even having experience with Vray.

It kind of reminds me of maybe a Flame artist back in the day criticizing Nuke. It makes sense to have Pixar make it free for non-commercial work to build a user base, but from an outsider it looks to me that RM is not the most artist-friendly.

Also, when you read about RenderMan, they always talk about the companies that use it and they are in a position to do R&D (Pixar, ILM…etc.). Vray is popular because it is fantastic and relatively easy to jump into. I mean, do a search for “Vray Glass/Chrome”; Very popular for new users to search. Then do the same for RenderMan; you are welcomed with programming and physics charts. Not that it’s bad to know and understand how the physics of light work. But from the perspective of someone that is new, it’s overwhelming.

Just my 2 cents.

by Dima - May 30, 2014 11:40 am

not only for Maya users, but also good news for Katana and Houdini users.

by Maziar - May 30, 2014 3:02 pm

It just bewilders me that they don’t make it available for one of the (the?) largest user bases on the market, even if they think the scenarios in which Max is used isn’t exactly aligned with what they expect RM to be used for(animations?), it can still be a great investment for them to get access to a large portion of the market that they don’t currently have access to, this means they can have their tool in the hands of potentially hundreds of thousands of more people which would in the long run be much more beneficial to them. to me their reasoning and mentality is just odd, it’s as if some entity just doesn’t want that to happen.

After all, 10 years ago before maya was acquired by adesk they were thinking about a Max version, so what happened? I’m sure both Max’s userbase and it’s use case in the vfx industry have increased from then.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m a very happy VRay user and now with Moskito in the horizon, I’m not that preoccupied with thoughts of another renderer, but again this whole RM or arnold situation never made much sense to me.

by no1nja - May 30, 2014 4:54 pm

@Carl Okay, so Renderman is compatible with Maxon’s Cinema 4d but not with Max because they feel it’s a not major player in the Film industry.
Is there something I’m missing?

by Maziar - May 30, 2014 5:29 pm

@no1nja, What you are obviously missing/misinterpreting is that what you are concluding by yourself isn’t said/suggested anywhere (or at least nowhere I can find.)

The fact that one particular software isn’t supported by another can have many different reasons.

The same goes for the support of cinema4d, that doesn’t necessarily mean that cinema4d is a major player in the film industry, it may simply be though to maxon(as opposed to autodesk) having pushed very hard to get a support for it, that’s it.

by no1nja - May 31, 2014 1:01 am

I,maybe rashly, reacted to the statement in Carl’s post above-

“….99% of the people that use Renderman are Film broadcast and Max is not a big enough player there for us(Pixar), we will change if this changes thanks.”

My first guess,of course, was Max isn’t getting this because of lack of interest from Autodesk, considering allegations of pushing Maya exclusively for Film/VFX. Just felt it wasn’t necessary to bring that up again :-)

by chad - May 31, 2014 7:46 am

The most exciting part of this news is their pricing structure. That is what Max users should be looking at here. We all know that Renderman coming to Max is a pipe-dream, but what this will do is drive Maya and C4D users to choose Renderman over Arnold/Vray (albeit C4D users have less choice). This in turn will put pressure on Chaos and Arnold to be more aggressive with their pricing. THIS is why this is good news for Max artists facing the cost of a Vray 3.0 upgrade. So, now we wait.

by MauricioPC - May 31, 2014 1:39 pm

And there’s always the chance that 3Delight could bring their connection (which is good) to 3ds Max (since they only made it to Maya and Softimage).

So maybe Max can have a connection.

by Maziar - June 1, 2014 2:36 pm

So I contacted Pixar about this matter and here is the respond I received from them, I thought I let everyone know, thanks to Chris Ford for his kind reply:


We greatly appreciate your email. We have actually considered a 3ds max->RenderMan translator several times in the past, but the demand when we came to do the business analysis was actually quite low. Part of the reason appears to have been the number of renderers for 3ds max already available, and our primarily film-centric development focus being slightly divergent to the main focus of users of 3ds max at the time. This was a matter of some regret as I was a product manager formally responsible for 3ds max for some years.

However since our major announcements as of last Thursday 05/29 that opportunity may have changed. I don’t have an immediate answer at this point, but I would not rule out something happening either from us or through a third party in future. We are certainly very aware of the 3ds max footprint.

Best regards

Chris Ford

Chris Ford
Business Director – RenderMan
Pixar Animation Studios

by Carl - June 2, 2014 1:51 pm

@Chris Ford I’ll give one thing to us maxers…we sure to get around LOL

by Ron Martin - June 3, 2014 5:56 am

I think it’s simply too late. There are so many developments outperforming Renderman. Some people stick to their misjudgements about 3ds Max, it’s users and their needs til they are completely outdated.

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