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Posted Tue Jan 21, 2014

Renderer News

Arnold for 3DS Max?


According to Solid Angle, developers of the Arnold Renderer, their current focus is to develop bridge plugins for Maya and Softimage, and alongside this they are also working on Houdini and Katana. A dedicated plugin for 3DS Max is not currently being developed but the company is interested in hearing from Max users who would like to use Arnold with 3DS Max, in order to consider developing such a plugin. Those interested can write them a message through their contact form.

Source: Solid Angle


by Jocelyn Simard - January 21, 2014 7:34 pm

I already asked told them recently that many max users are very interested in getting an Arnold plugin.

by thomas - January 21, 2014 8:38 pm

I am curious to why max users would be interested? admittedly I have very very very limited experience with arnold render, so it’s more an oblivious questions than a rant on arnold.

But the reason I ask is because for me and the work I do, Vray 3.0 is the holy grail of what most seem to be waiting for, and not a lot of renders I think can compete there.

Maybe im wrong?

by Stark - January 21, 2014 10:41 pm

From what I’ve heard, it’s because it’s very simple and straight forward and a renderer that is really geared towards VFX over general purpose. As a person that does FX, and sometimes have to light – the less I have to tweak and think about to get a great image with the least amount of time is a great tool to have.

I mean, that’s my take on it speaking as a Max user.

by Deko - January 22, 2014 4:30 am

We need more users to comunicate with a Solid Angle.
This is official respond from developers:
“The current focus is Maya and Softimage since that’s what the big and medium-sized animation and VFX studios use, and that’s where most of our sales are. Alongside this we are also working on Houdini and Katana. There have been some requests for C4D, Lightwave and 3dsmax, but it will be a while until we can spend time developing for those packages – writing a solid plugin is really hard and time consuming. The more people that request this however, the higher the priority this will become for us.”

by thierry - January 22, 2014 5:19 am

Why a new renderer?
Why Arnold?
what are his best points?

by Jan Van Akkerbeke - January 22, 2014 5:31 am

Vray is great, I’ve been using it since 2001, but I’ll stop using it when Arnold is released for max. I worked several times with Arnold and I felt like a pure artist again, not a tweaker of a renderer. Arnold has very few options, it’s fast, more accurate then Vray, it’s realy made for artists from the beginning.

Now that Arnold retail is available for Maya am thinking of switching to Maya.

by Mtf - January 22, 2014 5:41 am

Bigger variety means more options. I wish Arnold will be option for me too one day. :)

Btw checkout Corona renderer. Very fast and easy.

by Mokiki - January 22, 2014 5:46 am

To be honest why wouldn’t max users be interested? Having 1 more solid renderer available for your software package of choice can’t hurt.

I realize that this is kinda a non answer but this is how I feel about this subject.

by Boris Kulagin - January 22, 2014 5:51 am

it’s just not fair – the renderer that was originally designed for running with 3ds max supports any package except max. :) For the justice it should be and should be free! )

by ravihara weerathunge - January 22, 2014 5:58 am

im sad to see that max has fallen to this level. to that level the users have to ask for 3rd party developers to develop their stuff for max. it make me feel like an outcast.

by Maziar - January 22, 2014 6:01 am

I’ve always found it borderline amusing and a bit sad how they do their best to convince themselves Max doesn’t exist, a shame.

As for their ‘survey’, it could’ve and should’ve been done years ago, that’s why I don’t think their ‘interest’ is genuine enough.

No worries though, and we all know why. ;)

by Vladimir - January 22, 2014 6:05 am

thierry, please read “Features” and conclude how much you need Arnold in 3ds max:

by Anselm von Seherr-Thoss - January 22, 2014 10:09 am

Arnolds SSS for example is very fast and looks great. MBlur is fast. It is really geared fr vfx. VRay is geared for arch-viz and viz in general me thinks sometimes. It’s their biggest clients so it makes sense. But it’s slow as hell render times with many transparency maps (think mapped leaves or snow flakes on planes in a particle system) and issues with motion blur with changing topology is troublesome for vfx (think box#2 tearing or TP volume breaking). I would welcome Arnold for max!!!

by Tanguy - January 22, 2014 10:37 am

Please don’t limit our world of CG/VFX to you narrow minded vision of what is a good engine or not for 3dsMAX.
Everybody has his own use of an engine, and it looks like you never really met the limits of yours. That’s it.
Vray is a wonderful engine but EXTREMELY expensive in production. You really can’t use mblur, zdepth or Displace in a heavy prod without using behemoths render nodes which are not reality right now.
Arnold will render almost everything in a handkerchief, more or less 4 to 8 gig and you are done. Vray isn’t a REYES engine while ARNOLD is.
Again, I love Vray, but my love for it stop here, good for stills, archViz and simple motion. After I will need to meet Rockfeller’s son or similar ;)


by Marcos Fajardo - January 22, 2014 11:03 am

Hi guys – thanks so much for showing your interest in Arnold! Just a few comments: This “survey” wasn’t our idea. We are not ignoring 3dsmax, we just have to pick our battles carefully, given our limited resources. So far, our business model was to sell hundreds of licenses to studios with big render farms, and there just aren’t any of those using 3dsmax. As we grow, we can start supporting smaller studios which don’t buy that many licenses. Also, please understand that writing a quick and dirty 3dsmax is easy, but writing a robust one is not – it’s taking us years to develop the Maya and Softimage plugins, and they are still not perfect :)

by Pablo Hadis - January 22, 2014 2:02 pm

Thanks for the extra information, Marcos.

Just wanted to note that we did not intend to do a survey, either. We just noticed people’s interest and inquired Solid Angle about future plans, then reported on it. As we’ve done in the past with other companies that did not include 3DS Max in their public announcements.

@Tanguy: Thomas only asked about others’ opinions. Your attack is completely gratuitous. Next time you write a message with such attitude it will be filtered. Kindness and courtesy are a requirement here.

“Again, I love Vray, but my love for it stop here, good for stills, archViz and simple motion.”

It’s probably good for more than that, too. V-Ray has successfully been used in a great number of films, as their film reels attest, and I’m sure the production companies have taken into account rendering costs, since their budgeting is always done under pressure.

All renderers have their pros and cons.

by marshall - January 22, 2014 2:21 pm

Vray user since 2003, Arnold user in XSI for the past 2 years.

I LOVE arnold. Vray is a great renderer and when jt came out it wiped the floor with the competition. It took a while before the maya guys got to realize its very powerful potential.

With that said I am constantly amazed with arnold. In addition to having the ability to write your own shaders it’s a joy to use. It’s a highly efficient raytracer and it doesn’t cheat with anything. The new v 3 release has some great features.

I’d love it for max but understand the limitations SA have. I really hope Marcos and the team find the resources for a max port soon. I think they would be surprised to see the amount of licenses they would sell.

by Mokiki - January 22, 2014 2:51 pm

I totally forgot about it but there is a thread on cgsociety where is “fanmade” Arnold plugin for 3ds max is being worked on. Here is the link for people interested:


by Deko - January 22, 2014 3:07 pm

like everywhere, people don’t need while they don’t have it. Just remember succefull stories where FumeFX, Krakatoa, Thinking Particles and lot of other FX plugins came out for 3dsmax, not for any other 3d giant. There is big potential here.

by Jocelyn Simard - January 22, 2014 8:01 pm

I have absolutely no experience with Arnold. I use vray sonce many years and totally love it too. But the reason why I am interested in Arnold is because I saw a lot of amazing results in movies and game cinematics rendered in Arnold and I heard it is fast. I also heard it is complicated to create shaders in Arnold, but I don’t know why someone told me that. The price tag could be a huge factor too. Now vray is increasing its price so I would be curious if arnold for max could create some competiton for vray.

If you want an Arnold plugin for max please ask here:

by ravihara weerathunge - January 23, 2014 1:29 am

Completely agree with what Deko said. there is hard to find an artist in those big studios that didn’t use 3dsmax at any part of their career. and if you really need your product to grow, i think you must feed the roots of the industry with it- where 3dsmax still shines. then those artists will take it with them to the top.

and most of all, if its so easy and less time consuming to write for max, then why not take it as a blessing.. i mean from spending a small amount of time, you can get the attention of almost entire max community, which is still massive, (that i believe even will outnumber the licence amount you hope to sell to the big studios)

i personally think that your current strategy is poor. cause if you are just feeding your product to top branches, in next big season, when next big thing hits the ground, you will loose your position. cause you have no support from the small users. (your product will be just a seasonal sensation)

I don’t think this may effect vray popularity much. they have a huge user base; if they come with something better than yours, community will embrace it in no time – because of their stronghold. that stronghold is there, because of their strategy; they first released it for max (the root part of the industry) and slowly moved it to maya and results are wonderful.

and most of all, there are still medium sized houses like pixomondo, blur, uncharted-territory and scanline. (and there are more for sure) that uses 3dsmax exclusively.

This is just my POV. I just see that most successful plugging/ third party stuff sellers started with max.

and we all know that how bad it is, feeding only the top part of the industry, recently we witness big companies trying this strategy and lately realizing how wrong it is.. ;-)

so guys, be sensitive to the root people and they will take your product with them to the top.

by instinct-vfx - January 23, 2014 3:22 am


I don’t see how price tag would help there. Arnold is WAY more expensive than VRay currently especially since rendernodes cost the same as gui lics.

by Deko - January 24, 2014 7:33 am

Arnold for Cinema4D by “Ugly Kids”:

If SolidAngle can’t make separate plugin for every 3d software, maybe it’s a good idea just to let (and help!) 3rd party developers to make own bridges.

by Ivan Shickey Stojanovic - March 8, 2014 3:02 pm

Well…After movie GRAVITY I am definitely interested in ARNOLD RENDER Plug’n

by Steve Green - March 8, 2014 5:09 pm

Well, considering the news about Softimage, they might well be thinking a bit more about a Max bridge.

Or some other app to fill the SI gap.

by steve gilbert (cresshead) - March 9, 2014 10:10 am

sent in my request.

by John O'Connell - March 11, 2014 12:49 pm


Lots of people have quite successfully used vray in production with displacement, motion blur and depth of field in reasonable times. Version 3 has been simplified in lots of ways and brute force rendering has been sped up hugely also so it’s way easier to go from animation to render for animated objects with less steps than before and not have to worry about any kind of undersampling.

Arnold is also a raytracer, the same as vray and not a reyes renderer which renderman is!

by Chris Hill - March 13, 2014 3:54 am

Most people use Vray for Max, or Mental Ray but Arnold has a look to it that I like.
Seems odd not to dev a plugin for such a huge user base.

by Eddie Perlberg - March 13, 2014 9:25 am

I would love to have a conversation. Contact me directly so we can talk.

Eddie Perlberg
Product Manager
3ds Max

by abangan - March 13, 2014 11:11 pm

thanks mr Perlberg :)
we will wait for max version ;)

by Octavio - March 27, 2014 11:51 am

Very Limited? Im an Max user (since 7 years from now) who works in the movie industry using Maya and Arnold and im totally sure that others max users want Arnold to work with max.

by SuperRune - March 27, 2014 12:57 pm

Currently doing a directing job at a company using Arnold for Maya. Definitely the renderer that will rule the future, it’s awesomely powerful and super-friendly. Would LOVE to see it in 3ds Max!

by Eloi - March 29, 2014 7:03 pm

What i dont understand is: the beginning of arnold was not a renderer for 3dsmax? Why now is available for every package except max?
I will love to see arnold in max too!

by Dan - April 29, 2014 8:08 am

It is a fact that ILM (Singapore) have a dept specializing in 3ds Max now. It is also a fact Softimage is cut from next year’s Autodesk development. Which means more and more players will turn to 3DS Max before long that might push Solidangle to focus on it perhaps?

I use Vray/Max at home and Arnold/Maya at work. Personally I don’t see what’s the fuss about, our facility use Arnold, PRMan (due mainly to Katana usage) and now Vray. Both renderer are cool in my book.

Fact: To the above poster, Vray was also use extensively in making Pacific Rim. So really, they are both cool.

If I have to sum it up between the two, Arnold is somewhat easy if I have a truckload of CPU power to render stuff and I have a direct line to SolidAngle tech dept for problems that arise. Vray have a robust community that does crazy out-of-the-box solutions to any problem that might crop. In short, as a home/boutique user just stick with Vray.

If you are a big facility user then you should already be on Katana and on Arnold. Katana is god-gift to VFX lighting department. Its an answer to the most demanding directors on the planet!

If you are doing animation on Max and don’t have the raw computational power at your disposal then just stick with Vray. Vray+Solidrock makes a single/dual CPU look cool.

More noise, less noise, change the noise… at the end of the day, it is the post production work on the final render that make or break the realism.

that’s my take. Peace.

by travis barker - April 30, 2014 2:56 am

yes.. actually max no need for arnold.. max is for boutique.. large studio use maya and arnold. sad but true.

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