It’s beloved by movie industry studios but now, hefty speed improvements, new features and new purchasing options have made Arnold 5 even more enticing and accessible to all 3D artists.
Solid Angle’s ray tracing renderer has a significantly updated core that enables faster rendering, plus new features, enhanced workflows and exciting new capabilities. These software improvements come alongside the introduction of a free version of Arnold 5 for educational institutions and a discount of up to 50% for other users.
“Everything about Arnold is easier – whether it’s the straightforward controls for the artist or the clean, consistent API for the developer," reports Chad Dombrova of Luma Pictures, one of over 300 studios worldwide that uses Arnold.
These include a new open shading language (OSL) with better closures support; improved lighting with controls over roundness and softness; improved sampling performance; a new hair shader; a new standard volume shader; smarter colour management; a VR camera; and impressive speed improvements.
Simple workflows with usable new features
"Arnold gives us outstanding image quality and the ease of setup that today’s productions demand. I’m thrilled we are able to add it to the arsenal of tools at ILM,” enthuses John Knoll of ILM, which used Arnold for its work on Pacific Rim.
“We knew we needed to lay the foundations for the things we wanted to build for the next generation,” Servant says. “Along the way we tried to simplify everything we could. We tried to simplify the workflows from Arnold 4. When you simplify things, you get performance improvements, but we worked also on really improving the speed of the code.”
Tried and tested by Hollywood
Imagine Engine was one of the first studios to test Arnold 5’s new OSL. Servant explains that Imagine Engine used a “special cut” of Arnold 4 with OSL included to render a CG version of Hugh Jackman for the recent Logan movie, with photorealistic results.
Similarly, Digic Pictures tested the newly improved standard volume shaders in Final Fantasy XV: Kingsglaive to create dramatic and high-profile smoke effects.
Arnold was also used by Framestore in Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2. Framestore’s Martin Preston says: "Arnold has been a revelation both in the minimal time required for us to port all our pipeline to support it, and in the ease by which our lighters have switched to using it."
How to get Arnold 5
Arnold is available on subscription for £555/$600 per year for a single licence. Or, companies can save 50% by buying an Arnold pack of five annual licences for £1,387.50/$1,500 (plus VAT/tax).
Starting on 7 September, Arnold 5 will also come free with new or renewed subscriptions to the of software by Autodesk, which owns Arnold developer Solid Angle. This software package contains all the 3D pipeline tools you need, including Maya, 3ds Max, Mudbox, Motionbuilder and more.
Free Arnold educational licences are available from the for institutions wishing to teach with the software, while students of Autodesk Maya and 3ds Max can download the latest versions that come bundled with Arnold for interactive rendering.