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RenderMan is advanced technology for shading, lighting, and rendering. It is not an animation or modeling package, but is one of the industry's leading rendering packages.
Does Renderman work with Maya?
Yes. RenderMan can be plugged into one of the following tools: Maya, Houdini, Katana, or Cinema4D. If you use one of those packages you can try RenderMan. You can also use RenderMan if you have your own custom tool(s) for generating renderable 3D assets (RIB) for purposes such as scientific visualization. RenderMan by itself does not have a user interface or GUI.
When can we get hold of it?
Renderman is due to be released free for students and non-commercial use in August. You will have to register first and you will be notified when it is made available.