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Rendering beautiful CG images is a creative and technical challenge. Optimizing image quality, managing complexity, and getting just the right look is time consuming and can create serious workflow bottlenecks for artists and studios. Used by the biggest names in visual effects and animation, Arnold helps solve the most complex rendering problems.
Arnold makes it easier to render gorgeous images, quickly and efficiently, scaling with your processing power as project complexity demands. Arnold's sophisticated sampling helps reduce the number of iterations it takes to get to the look you want, so artists can spend less time on rendering and more time making art. And Arnold integrates into your existing pipeline, with a a number of plugins supporting many popular 3D DCC tools. For technical users, Arnold is fully customizable, with a powerful API to help create custom rendering solutions.
Building on Arnold's leadership in production-proven ray-tracing, Arnold 5.0 is a leap forward in rendering for artists everywhere. With a significant update to the Arnold core, major performance enhancements to existing workflows and exciting new capabilities, Arnold 5.0 will help artists create more stunning imagery then ever.
Many subsystems in Arnold 5.0 have been optimized, resulting in significant speedups during both render start-up and ray-trace time. Large OpenVDB volume caches can now load up to 2x faster, especially on highly-threaded machines. Preprocessing .tx textures is now multi-threaded and can be up to 10x faster. Both the implicit surface and curve geometric primitives are faster to ray-trace. Indoor scenes with multiple GI bounces, as well as objects with high transmission depth, can render up to 2x faster. Opacity-mapped transparent surfaces, such as tree leaves, can render up to 20% faster, especially in machines with many threads. In many cases, images render both faster and with less noise.
Arnold 5.0 includes several sampling optimizations. New two-dimensional dithered sampling, which helps improve the visual distribution of noise at lower sample rates, significantly improves sampling results with soft shadows, indirect illumination and depth of field. Direct illumination sampling has been redesigned for quad, disk, and cylinder lights, helping reduce noise for both surface and volumetric lighting with these popular light types. Indirect illumination has been improved and can result in significant speedups for indoor scenes. Taken together, these improvements help Arnold users to get better results faster, while still enjoying Arnold's ability to tackle the most complex production rendering challenges.
One of the main goals for Arnold 5.0 was improving overall ease of use. While the previous Arnold architecture has been tremendously successful for over five years, common workflows were identified that resulted in wasted time and effort. Arnold 5.0 helps simplify some of these workflows. Installation and deployment is easier, particularly in the cloud, with fewer moving parts thanks to built-in libraries such as OpenVDB 4, as well as an extensive set of new built-in shaders that help eliminate the need for 3rd-party shader libraries. Similarly, an advanced VR camera node comes with Arnold out of the box. Procedural geometry and volume plugins no longer need to provide or guess bounding boxes, and namespaces make it easier to assemble complex scenes that reuse assets without shader naming conflicts. Mirror reflection and glossy reflection are combined into a single "specular" ray type. Image-based lighting is easier to set up thanks to new built-in visibility flags in the skydome light, which is now automatically visible in camera, reflections and refraction. Maintaining a linear workflow is easier than ever thanks to a new color space manager that replaces clunky gamma settings. Hair UVs are easier to specify and use. Internal cleanups made it possible to remove several obscure render options as well as node attributes, which resulted in an even simpler user interface presented to the artists. Many other little corners of the renderer have been sharpened and simplified for a more satisfying out-of-the-box experience.
With monthly and annual options, subscribing to Arnold is flexible and cost-effective. You can:
Shaders can now be written in both C++ and Open Shading Language, an advanced shading language for production GI renderers. OSL shaders placed in the shader search path are automatically registered as Arnold shader nodes, with their parameters converted to Arnold parameters. Once loaded, they can be inspected, instantiated and linked in exactly the same way as C++ shaders. OSL shaders can be used to implement many things from simple texture patterns to full materials using closures.
Arnold now natively supports both synColor and OCIO for better handling of input (textures) and output (rendered images) color transforms, and can be extended with custom color manager nodes. This helps make it easier for the renderer to perform it's internal calculations correctly in a radiometrically linear space. The older gamma settings have been removed. In addition, wavelength-dependent spectral effects such as refractive dispersion, blackbody radiation and physical sky are now more accurate.
With Arnold, scaling to larger jobs is simple: just add Arnold licenses if you want to render on local resources, or render projects on the cloud using popular services such as Google Cloud Platform ZYNC Render, Microsoft Azure Cloud Render, and Conductor, to name a few. As before, clear, straightforward documentation and a passionate user community make it easy to get started.
Arnold packs are multiple subscriptions bundled together, which can be used locally or on the cloud. Arnold packs will benefit a wide range of customers, from VSBs to SMBs, as well as bigger studios. Multiple subscription seats help customers scale their production easily. Choose from annual and multi-year subscriptions based on your project needs.
Arnold packs are designed to save you money - the more you buy, the more you save. Arnold currently available in 5-, 25-, and 100-subscription packs.
In general, Arnold is going to work on pretty much any 64-bit system where Houdini, Maya, Cinema 4D, 3ds Max, Katana, or Softimage works. However, there are some minimum OS requirements:
Other than that, Arnold works on Intel and AMD processors, and has no graphic card or GPU requirements, since Arnold is a CPU-based renderer.
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