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What is Arnold?
Arnold is an advanced Monte Carlo ray tracing renderer built for the demands of feature-length animation and visual effects. Originally co-developed with Sony Pictures Imageworks and now their main renderer, Arnold is used at over 300 studios worldwide including ILM, Framestore, MPC, The Mill and Digic Pictures.
Arnold renderer was the primary renderer on dozens of films from Monster House and Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs to Pacific Rim and Gravity. It is available as a standalone renderer on Linux, Windows and macOS, with plug-ins for Maya, 3ds Max, Houdini, Cinema 4D, Katana and Softimage. Arnold renderer trial version is functionally identical to the commercial version. You will be able to render Arnold without a watermark for 30 days.
Arnold is a fast, memory efficient and scalable physically-based raytracer. Its aim is to simplify the pipeline of VFX and animation companies with a reduced set of user interface elements, and by promoting a single pass approach removing all the associated storage and management costs. Arnold hair shader has double offset speculars, transmission and is specifically designed to reduce flickering of thin hairs. Accurate 3D motion blur correctly interacts with shadows, volumes, indirect lighting, reflection or refraction.
Arnold renderer raytracing-based sub-surface scattering approach makes tuning point clouds a thing of the past. It's easy to use, requires no additional memory, supports motion-blurred lighting, interactive lighting and its performance scales optimally as more CPU threads are used. The volumetric rendering system is based on proprietary importance sampling algorithms and can render effects such as smoke, clouds, fog, pyroclastic flow or fire.