Arnold is an advanced un-biased, physical rendering application developed by Solid Angle. It uses the Monte Carlo algorithm and was built for the demands of feature-length animation films and the special effects for those films. Back in the day super high-end ray tracing software technology for this kind of work was either proprietary to the big studios or the product of such places and made available to anyone—such as with Pixar’s RenderMan.
In today’s market for physically-based ray tracing software there are several top choices beyond RenderMan, including V-Ray and of course Arnold.
Learning about Arnold
Arnold is used by over 300 studios worldwide, according to its website and ILM legend John Knoll says, “Arnold gives us outstanding image quality and ease of setup that today’s productions demand.”
Key Features Include:
- Fur and Hair — its hair shader has a double offset specular and the root and tip colors can be separately controlled and texture mapped
- Motion Blur — it correctly interacts with shadows, volumes, indirect lighting, reflection and refraction
- Sub-surface scattering
- Flexibility and Extensibility — C API with Python bindings
- Scalability — Arnold is carefully multithreaded and makes optimal use of all available CPU cores
- Memory Efficiency
- Deferred Geometry Loading
- SubDivision and Displacement — Arnold supports Catmull-Clark subdivision surfaces
- Arbitrary Output Variables (AOVs)
- Standalone command-line renderer
Arnold also supports plugins for leading 3D applications such as Autodesk Maya (Arnold for Maya), Autodesk Softimage (Arnold for Softimage) and now Arnold for Houdini. The tight integration with Houdini is similar to the way it is found in Maya and Softimage.
Arnold for Houdini is supported on versions of Houdini 13 on Windows, Linux and Mac OS X. Key features include all Arnold Cameras and Lights, custom Arnold shading network context with a comprehensive list of 106 shaders and utilities, atmospheric and background effects. It supports all Houdini rendering contexts (render region, mplay, render viewer, etc), and it supports Instancing, Multi-camera renders and DeepEXR.
The Arnold for Houdini plugin is provided free of charge to customers that buy the Arnold core standalone renderer. An Arnold core license is 1000.euro.
Up next is a plugin for Maxon’s CINEMA 4D and The Foundry’s Katana, reports the company on its website.
To learn more about Arnold for Mac OS X visit here.