Friday, January 17th, 2014 Posted by Jim Thacker

Solid Angle releases trial version of Arnold

Solid Angle’s current Arnold demo reel. The developer has just taken a big step towards making its acclaimed raytrace renderer accessible to the general public, posting a 15-day trial of the software on its new website.

Arnold developer Solid Angle has made a 15-day trial of the leading raytrace renderer available to the public. The move comes as part of a wider overhaul of its website, making Arnold more available to small studios.

One of the industry’s hottest products
An advanced Monte Carlo raytracer, Arnold has been used as a primary production renderer by its co-developer, Sony Pictures Imageworks, for close to a decade, beginning with 2006’s Monster House.

Over the next few years, it was steadily taken up the other large VFX houses on the strength of its ability to handle complex scenes and its ease of use, and is now used at over 250 facilities worldwide.

Although Arnold quickly became one of the industry’s most talked-about products, Solid Angle has always been careful to limit sales, citing its difficulties, as a small developer, of supporting a large customer base.

Previously, visitors to the developer’s website were greeted with a blank page bearing a logo, and an email contact form. Yesterday’s redesign provides a lot more information – and a download link for the trial version.

Platforms and system requirements
The trial, which is functionally identical to the commercial version of the software, works normally for 15 days. After that, it will still work, but will only generate watermarked renders.

It’s available for Maya 2012 and above, running on 64-bit Windows, Linux or Mac OS X; and for Softimage 2012 and above, running on 64-bit Windows or Linux.

Solid Angle also has a Houdini version of Arnold in development, while third-party developers are tackling implementations for LightWave and 3ds Max.

Not too expensive, but currently only sold in batches of five licences
The revamped website also lists Solid Angle’s prices – no great secret, but never previously published officially – for the first time.

Individual licences cost $1,300, and give you both Maya or Softimage plugins for free; educational licences – currently only for colleges, not individual students – cost $200; and rental starts at $8.50 a day.

Currently, you have to buy a minimum of five licences at a time, but Solid Angle says that it aims to lift this restriction “soon”.

Go check it out for yourselves
There’s also a lot more information about Arnold on the site, including documentation, video tutorials, links, and case studies of projects on which the renderer has been used – which include Gravity and Pacific Rim.

Visit the revamped Solid Angle website

Download the 15-day trial of Arnold (Registration required)