Whether you're a freelancer starting a new job, or a seasoned artist who's facility has decided to change their primary rendering engine, if you need to get up to speed fast on Arnold for Maya this is the tutorial for you! This video was created to be your quick start guide to rendering in Arnold, and I'm confident we're going to get you rendering here on day one. In this video we cover everything from sample settings, Lights, shaders, rendering, optimization, and everything in between.
Lets get started!
Due to the large response to “The Freelancer’s Guide to Arnold” (over 7,000 downloads to date!) we wanted to add a few extra thoughts on optimization not covered in the video. The first thing we want to point out is that this video is meant to be an introduction to the core settings and techniques for first time users, and the viewer needs to keep in mind that different scenes and materials will yield different results/render times. There is no such thing as a one set of settings fits all, and you have to keep in mind what level of render cost you are willing to pay vs. beauty of render as this will be the main hurdle you face in your unique scene. In this video we tried to touch on most every option available to you in Arnold, and obviously in most cases you’ll not always need to use every technique covered here. A handful of viewers have questioned us on the 9 hour render time of the final frame in the tutorial, and we would like to offer answers to those question now.
To start there are three main factors that lead to this render time, first the translucent quality of the light scattering through the curtains, the large amount of clear refractive/reflective glass, and using an HDRI mapped Sky Dome light in conjunction with area lights on an interior scene. Keep in mind that you don’t HAVE to use all of these techniques in your scene, and we are just introducing them as options available for you to use. It’s up to you to decide what you’re willing to pay for when it comes to increased render times, and what kind of look you are trying to achieve vs. the optimizations available.
Optimizations for tutorial scene.
1) You don’t have to use a sky dome light for an interior scene, and in most cases wouldn’t want to use a sky dome light for an interior scene because they are better suited to exterior scenes. You can cheat the effect of exterior light bounce well enough with a few strategically placed area lights for a dramatic decrease in render time.
2) Using the Backlighting setting on the diffuse for the curtains in this scene will add roughly 2 to 3 hours to the render with the sample settings necessary to reduce the GI noise of the skydome light in the final render. Translucent backscatter is one of the most computationally taxing effects you can add to any scene, and the time it adds to your scene will be directly proportional to your level of sampling. The more bounces you use to get rid of noise, the more this will increase backlighting’s contribution to render time. In an optimized interior scene that is not using a sky dome light for GI you will see less of a render hit with backlighting, but it will always be a computationally render expensive effect to use.
3) Any time you have a large amount of highly reflective/refractive glass in a scene you will have increased render time due to the amount of rays and light bounces necessary to reduce noise to a desired level.
4) Any kind of SSS will increase render times
The video itself, and keeping these optimizations in mind at the end will be a great way to get yourself rendering in Arnold like a pro! Enjoy!!