Arnold renderer public release and demo available

Michał Franczak 2014-01-17 08:35 article  > All

Arnold is an advanced Monte Carlo ray tracing renderer built for the demands of feature-length animation and visual effects movies.

Originally co-developed with Sony Pictures Imageworks, Arnold is now used at over 250 studios worldwide including ILM, Framestore, The Mill and Digic Pictures. Arnold 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 Mac OS X, and is accessible through plug-ins for Maya, Softimage and Houdini.

Solid Angle website

Fur & Hair

An efficient raytraced curve primitive makes Arnold the perfect choice for rendering fur and hair. Its hair shader has a double offset specular and is specifically designed to reduce flickering of thin hairs. The root and tip colors can be separately controlled and texture mapped.


Bear, Pascal Floerks, Filmakademie

Motion blur

Motion blur correctly interacts with shadows, volumes, indirect lighting, reflection or refraction. Deformation motion blur is extremely efficient and works for polygons, hairs and particles. Rotational motion describes precise circular arcs.


Mercedes, NHB

Sub-surface scattering

Our 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.


Grace, Mikros Image


The volumetric rendering system is based on importance sampling and can render effects such as smoke, clouds, fog, pyroclastic flow or gases. It has the ability to interact with direct and indirect lighting from arbitrary area light sources, with full raytraced shadows and emissive properties.

Memory efficient

Thanks to Arnold's compact and highly optimized data structures, you can render scenes with hundreds of millions of unique primitives quickly and with a much lower memory footprint than is possible with other renderers.


Witcher 3: Wild Hunt, Platige Image

Subdivision and displacement

Arnold supports Catmull-Clark subdivision surfaces. Subdivided vertices are then vector-displaced through arbitrary shader networks. High frequencies can be automatically captured as bump map, reducing the need for excessive subdivision.


Our Lady of Lourdes, Light and Mathematics Ltd.



Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs, Sony Pictures Animation

Article main photo: Halo 4, Microsoft, 343 Industries, Digic Pictures

You can learn more and try Arnold here.

Author: Michał Franczak Editor: Michal Franczak
Tags: arnold
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