What 3D Rendering Software do Disney and Pixar use?

pixar 3d rendering

Disney and Pixar are considered to be the best 3D animation companies in the world. These two companies consistently churn out amazing 3D films that manage to become box office successes. So, it is only common sense that they would utilize the very best 3D software and many smaller companies, such as Render Vision in Melbourne, also use their software.

As someone who wants to follow down the same path, there is a good chance that you’re interested in getting your hands on the same software that they use. What software do they rely on? The answer will be provided in the guide below.

 The Early Days

Over the years, Disney and Pixar have experimented with a wide assortment of programs. In the 1990s, it was reported that Alias Research’s PowerAnimator was the industry’s choice. Eventually, the company began making a new entertainment software, which became known as Maya. The company managed to score many big customers, including Sony Pictures, Warner Brothers, Walt Disney, and Pixar. In 1995, Alias Research and Wavefront were actually acquired by SGI. The companies became known as Alias Wavefront. Even after that, the PowerAnimator software continued to be a hit.

This software was made to produce several big hits, including Toy Story. Toy Story just happened to be a huge hit for Walt Disney. It is safe to say that they got their money’s worth from the PowerAnimator software.


There is a good chance that both companies still utilize 3rd party application from time to time. However, Pixar has also taken steps to create their very own in-house 3D animation software. The company now creates a lot of their films using RenderMan. Pixar’s RenderMan is a photorealistic 3D rendering software that has proven it can be used to create box office successes. Just check out Pixar’s films and you’ll find this out for yourself. Thankfully, everyone can now use the software for free. In late May of 2014, Pixar announced it would be releasing a free non-commercial version of the software to the public.

It was eventually released in early 2015.

Who Uses RenderMan?

RenderMan has become a hit with production studios all around the world. It is now used by a handful of companies in the United States, including Reel FX, Industrial Light & Magic and Walt Disney. The software is also used by Animal Logic, Mac Guff, Double Negative, Image Engine, and the Moving Picture Company. It has been used for numerous blockbusters, including Aladdin, The Lion King, The Lord of the Rings, Titanic, and even Avatar.