Tuesday, July 26th, 2016 Posted by Jim Thacker

Solid Angle releases Arnold for 3ds Max

Solid Angle has released MAXtoA, a new free plugin linking its industry-standard Arnold renderer to 3ds Max. Also known simply as Arnold for 3ds Max, the plugin was released at Siggraph 2016.

The latest Autodesk application to get native Arnold support
The release makes 3ds Max the latest DCC tool to get native Arnold integration, alongside Maya, Softimage, Houdini, Cinema 4D and Katana.

Although MAXtoA 0.5 is still officially a preview build, it seems to have been an impressively quick turnaround: the idea of Arnold for 3ds Max was mooted, but not confirmed, when Autodesk acquired Solid Angle this April.

Ready for cloud rendering
With Autodesk emphasising cloud rendering as a key driver of the acquisition, it’s no suprise to see that one key feature of MAXtoA is the ability to render stills or animations in the cloud.

According to Solid Angle, other features include:

  • Integration with 3ds Max shapes, cameras, lights and shaders
  • Image-based lighting support, including a state-of-the-art physical sky
  • 3ds Max ActiveShade interactive rendering
    Allows parameter changes to be rapidly previewed without interrupting your work.
  • Support for AOVs and deep EXR files
  • Defer the creation of geometry at render time with the Procedural placeholder nodes
  • Texturable mesh lights
  • Third-party Arnold shader support
  • MAXtoA Cloud Rendering for stills and animations
    Users can join the optional Autodesk ‘Render Pilot’ program, which now supports MAXtoA.

However, there are some key limitations in the early build, notably lack of support for native 3ds Max lights, and for light filters. You can read a list of known issues here.

Pricing and availability
MAXtoA 0.5 is available now for 3ds Max 2017 running on Windows 7 and above. The plugin is provided free to anyone buying the core Arnold renderer.

Node-locked licences of Arnold cost $790; floating licences cost $1,220. Rental options are also available.

Read more about Arnold for 3ds Max on Solid Angle’s website

Read the release notes for MAXtoA 0.5