The Arnold architecture was designed to easily adapt to existing pipelines. It is built on top of a pluggable node system; users can extend and customize the system by writing new shaders, cameras, filters and output driver nodes, as well as procedural geometry, custom ray types and user-defined geometric data. The primary goal of the Arnold architecture is to provide a complete solution as a primary renderer for animation and visual effects. However, Arnold can also be used as:
- a A ray server for traditional scanline renderers.
- a A tool for baking/procedural generation of lighting data (lightmaps for videogames).
- an An interactive rendering and relighting tool.