There are two denoising options available for rendering with Arnold:


The OptiX™ Denoiser (based on Nvidia AI technology), is integrated into Arnold for use with IPR and look devIt can be applied to any AOV. The OptiX denoiser is meant to be used during IPR (so that you get a very quickly denoised image as you're moving the camera and making other adjustments). For this reason, it is not suitable for final frame rendering or animations as it can cause flickering between frames (see below).


The Arnold Denoiser can be run from a dedicated UI, exposed in the Denoiser. It favors quality over speed and is, therefore, more suitable for high-quality final frame denoising and animation sequences. To use the Arnold denoiser, you will need to render images out first via the Arnold EXR driver with variance AOVs enabled. It is also available as a stand-alone program (noice.exe). 

A denoising tutorial can be found here.


You should only use the OptiX denoiser for test rendering with IPR. The animation below right shows what happens when you use OptiX with animation (flickering occurs). The Arnold Denoiser should be used instead for final frame renders.

Original render using low samples

(without denoising)

OptiX denoiser

Creates flickering in animation. Use for IPR only.


In KtoA 2.2 and newer, both of these are available in the ArnoldDenoise node, which assists in setting up render outputs and output channels, and ensuring the proper data is available to the denoisers. The OptiX denoiser is used for interactive (preview and live) renders, while the high-quality denoiser is used for disk/batch renders. Disk renders must use EXR outputs to be able to take advantage of the denoiser.


ArnoldDenoise will only denoise a single frame at a time due to the unlikelihood of multiple frames being in the same location where Katana is outputting the temporary images. In case you wish to use temporally-stable denoising, you will need to tick diskSetupOnly in ArnoldDenoise so that the proper data is available, and then run noice via the command-line or a script later to denoise your final EXR sequence of frames.

The ArnoldDenoise will not just denoise the beauty but any other AOVs, including light group AOVs.

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