Solid Angle releases Arnold 5.0 core rendering library

Solid Angle

Creator of the industry-leading Arnold global illumination ray-tracer, Solid Angle, has officially released version 5.0 of the Arnold core rendering library and associated plugins for the main DCC tools.

In addition, Autodesk has announced that 3ds Max 2018 ships with Arnold 5, replacing mental ray. Building on Arnold’s leadership in production ray-tracing, Arnold 5 represents an evolution in rendering for artists everywhere.

Not just a feature release, Arnold 5 also represents a significant transition to a new architecture paving the way for major developments to come. With a significant update to the Arnold core, faster rendering, new feature additions, enhancements to existing workflows and exciting new capabilities, Arnold 5 will help artists create more stunning imagery than ever.

“We are excited to make Arnold 5 available to artistes worldwide,” said Solid Angle founder Marcos Fajardo.

“With more than 500 development tickets completed, it has been a true labor of love as the team has really pushed to optimize Arnold and prepare the platform for future development,” he added.

Arnold 5 is available now as a standalone renderer, as well as a plugin for Maya (MtoA), 3ds Max (MAXtoA), Cinema4D (C4DtoA), Katana (KtoA), and soon Houdini (HtoA) and Softimage (SItoA). Individual licenses can be purchased from Solid Angle’s web store. Free trials are also available for download.

One of the main goals of Arnold 5 is 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 simplifies 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 eliminates 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 spetacular 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.