Been messing around with Arnold and like the results I'm getting but the price point of $1,200 just seems way too steep. Especially for someone like me who is using Houdini Indie which comes in at $200 a year. Even the daily rental cost of $7.5 a day (with a $400 minimum) is too pricey.
I feel like you either:
Use the free watermarked version, which you can't really use for your reel.
Pay for a $1,200 license.
If they charged $100 a year for a limited license they're going to bring in a lot more money from people who wouldn't have considered getting a license to begin with no?
Maybe I'm being naive but with Houdini Indie (and Mantra) being so affordable, Pixar giving RenderMan and The Foundry giving Nuke non-commercial versions away for free it feels like most companies are realizing that it's easier to develop loyalty if you're willing to work with potential customers' budgets.