Arnold was created by Solid Angle in 1998 to be at the forefront of 3D rendering. Acquired by Autodesk in 2016, it’s been growing in popularity ever since Sony Imageworks licenced the source code in 2004 and is being used by post production houses including Framestore, Halo, and Blink.
Solid Angle’s renderer is so widely used not only because it delivers cutting-edge photo-realistic visuals, but it's also highly reliable, robust, and adaptable. Arnold is compatible with Windows, MacOS, and Linux, which enables it to be deployed on any CPU render farm with minimum hassle.
London-based visual effects studio, Lexhag, who’ve done work on TV shows such as Poldark, Ordeal By Innocence, and The Fades deployed Arnold as their go-to render solution. "We were looking for a CPU renderer for a Maya pipeline which delivered reliable and photo-realistic renders,” comments Sam Hunt, 3D Generalist at Lexhag. “As a small team we chose Arnold for these qualities as well as being easy and quick to use. It’s integrated perfectly into our look development pipeline, and lighting is simple and physically plausible. Arnold provides the simplicity required for a small team without compromising the photo-realistic result needed for high end film and TV work."
It’s not just the ease of use and adaptability that makes Arnold popular. It uses Monte Carlo ray tracing - the most physically accurate graphics rendering technique in the world today. This technique creates 3D scenes by randomly tracing samples of possible light paths. The repeated sampling of pixels results in an average of samples converging on a correct solution of the render equation. This delivers a high level of photo-realistic detail.
The Arnold development team are aware that technology in the VFX industry is evolving, so they’re constantly researching ways to make their renderer even better. You can see the research they’ve been doing on their official website.
Since Arnold comes bundled with the Autodesk Media and Entertainment collection it’s a an accessible option for any studio. And with constant R&D to ensure that Arnold is evolving with the times, it’s an ideal solution for CPU render farms.
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