You may not be planning to start your own Pixar competitor any time soon, but if you like the idea of messing around with some of the same software that powered Wall-E, there's a way to do it. And it's actually free.
Pixar is giving out a version of its RenderMan software beginning in August, and you can sign up now so you're the first to hear when it's live. The program usually costs $500 per license, so this is the ultimate flash sale.
The catch is that the free version of RenderMan is for non-commercial use only. So if Pixar catches you making money off of your Finding Shmemo release, you will get majorly sued. Also, RenderMan is just one type of software you need to make an animated film, so it's not going to take you all the way to a finished product by itself. But if you've always wanted to try your hand at animation this is a cheap way to get a step closer. Register here and bring all the characters floating around your brain to life.