Pixar has come up with quite an announcement: you can now download and use their RenderMan for absolutely no charge, as long as it’s for non-commercial purposes. No feature limitations, no watermarks, the free RenderMan will be fully operational. The official RenderMan webpage explains:
Non-Commercial RenderMan is functionally identical to the commercial version used by creative artists the world over, offering free and complete access to its capabilities. There are no limitations except that Non-Commercial RenderMan is node-locked and does not have a floating network license. Upon installation and acceptance of the EULA, Non-Commercial RenderMan should only thereafter be used for non-commercial purposes.
In case of any doubts about what falls into the non-commercial use category, please have a look at the extensive FAQ section dedicated to the free RenderMan version. In general, by non-commercial use, Pixar means ‘any usage that does not generate direct profits’ (‘direct’ is the key word here). The dedicated FAQ section also answers plenty of other questions, from general to very specific.
You’ll find the non-commercial RenderMan download link, as well as other useful information and links at pixar.com here. An additional piece of news from Pixar is that the Renderman's standard licence price has been lowered to $495.