If you're an aspiring animator, this might be the best news you'll hear this month: Pixar is giving away—that's right, giving away—a version of RenderMan, its in-house rendering software. Gratis. No catch. You'll be able to download the program some time in August.
Pixar has used RenderMan, which costs $500 a pop for commercial use, to render some of its best-known animated features like Wall-E, Up and Toy Story, so this is a really, really big deal. It's just one part of a larger software suite that goes into a Pixar blockbuster—it's not an animation program, and you'll definitely need one of those—but it's remarkably capable. And it's free.
Simply fill up a registration form, download the program when it's available in a couple of months, and start creating Toy Story 4, if that's what you've always dreamed of. Don't sell it if you don't want your ass sued, though. The free version is for non-commercial use only. [Pixar via Geek.com]