Autodesk ships Arnold 7.1.4
Autodesk has released Arnold 7.1.4, the latest version of the production renderer, adding native support for Apple’s M-Series processors, and improving USD workflow.
Native support for Apple’s M-Series processors in Arnold for Cinema 4D
The headline change in Arnold 7.1.4 is native support for Apple’s M-Series processors – the M1 and M2 chips in current Macs – for CPU rendering.
According to Autodesk, native M-Series support increases render speed by “up to 1.45x” over running Arnold in Apple’s Rosetta 2 emulation mode in DCC applications that also natively Apple Silicon.
Of Arnold’s host applications, the only one to do so is Cinema 4D, since Houdini, Katana and Maya all still use Rosetta emulation, although SideFX has released an experimental Apple Silicon build of Houdini.
Arnold for Cinema 4D (C4DtoA) is now available as a universal binary for current Apple Silicon Macs and older Intel-based Macs, as are kick, Arnold’s command-line rendering tool, and the Arnold library.
GPU rendering is still only supported on Windows and Linux, and requires a Nvidia GPU.
USD workflow: support for MaterialX shaders and Arnold Imagers
The update also continues to extend support for USD workflows, adding support for MaterialX shaders in both the USD procedural and the Hydra render delegate, used for viewport rendering in Maya and Houdini.
Both procedural and delegate also now support Imagers, the post effects nodes added Arnold 6.1.
In addition, the USD procedural now supports Alembic references and payloads, and cylinder lights.
Improvements to texture conversion and hair rendering
Other new features include automatic generation of Arnold’s .tx texture files from source textures; and the Arnold Standard Hair shader’s melanin_redness parameter now displays correctly in ACEScg colour space.
Updates to the 3ds Max, Cinema 4D, Houdini and Maya plugins
Most of the integration plugins have been updated, with MAXtoA 5.5.0 for 3ds Max, C4DtoA 4.5.0 for Cinema 4D, HtoA 6.1.4 for Houdini and MtoA 5.2.2 for Maya all supporting the new features.
At the time of writing, only KtoA, the Katana integration, has not been updated.
New features unique to individual plugins include the option to save and export Imager presets in C4DtoA and MtoA, and support for viewport representation of the Arnold Standard Surface shader in 3ds Max.
System requirements and availability
Arnold 7.1.4 is available for Windows 10+, RHEL/CentOS 7+ Linux and macOS 10.13+. Integrations are available for 3ds Max, Cinema 4D, Houdini, Katana and Maya.
GPU rendering is supported on Windows and Linux only, and requires a compatible Nvidia GPU.
The software is rental-only, with single-user subscriptions now costing $50/month or $380/year.