Arnold (software)

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Original author(s)Marcos Fajardo
Developer(s)Solid Angle
Operating systemLinux, Windows and macOS
TypeRendering system
LicenseProprietary commercial software

Arnold is an unbiased, physically based, ray tracing 3D rendering application created by the company Solid Angle.[1] Notable films that have used Arnold include Monster House, Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs, Alice in Wonderland, Thor, Captain America, X-Men: First Class, The Avengers, Red Tails, Underworld: Awakening, Space Pirate Captain Harlock, Elysium, Pacific Rim and Gravity.[2]


Arnold is based on Monte Carlo Ray Tracing. Its engine is optimized to send billions of spatially incoherent rays throughout a scene. It often uses one level of diffuse inter-reflection so that light can bounce off of a wall or other object and indirectly illuminate a subject. For complex scenes such as the space station in Elysium, it makes heavy use of instancing. It uses the Open Shading Language to define the materials and textures.


Marcos Fajardo at the 2013 SIGGRAPH

Marcos Fajardo is the chief architect of Arnold.[2] The beginnings of what is now Arnold emerged in 1997 when Fajardo decided to write his own renderer. That year, he attended SIGGRAPH, where his interest in stochastic ray tracing (a foundational part of Arnold's rendering technology) was piqued in discussions with friends attending the conference.[2]

Early versions of Fajardo's renderer were called RenderAPI.[2] The name Arnold emerged when one of Fajardo's friends suggested it after mocking an Arnold Schwarzenegger film they saw in a theater.[2]

Solid Angle, the company behind Arnold, was purchased by Autodesk in early 2016. The acquisition was announced officially on April 18, 2016.[3]

On 4 January 2017, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences recognized Fajardo with a Scientific and Engineering award (Academy plaque) for "the creative vision and original implementation of the Arnold Renderer."[4]

Notable studios using Arnold[edit]

North America[edit]

United States of America[edit]



United Kingdom[edit]











See Also[edit]


  1. ^ [1] Solid Angle, 6 August 2013
  2. ^ a b c d e Seymour, Mike (10 April 2012). "The Art of Rendering (updated)". fxguide., LLC. Retrieved 6 August 2013.
  3. ^
  4. ^ Giardina, Carolyn (January 4, 2017). "Oscars: Scientific and Technical Awards Winners Revealed". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved January 5, 2017.

External links[edit]