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Copy files

Easiest way to install third-party shaders is to copy shader libraries (.dll on Windows / .dylib on OSX and .mtd) to the $C4D_INSTALL/plugins/C4DtoA/shaders folder. All plugins located in this folder are read automatically by the plug-in. If the shader ships with C4D UI resource files (.res, .h, .str) you have to copy them to the $C4D_INSTALL/plugins/C4DtoA/res folder.

Setup environment variable

An alternative to defining third-party shaders is to add folders to ARNOLD_PLUGIN_PATH environment variable.


  1. Click the Windows Start button and start typing Edit the system environment


  1. Click Edit the system environment variables.
  2. Click the Environment Variables button and create a new system environment variable with:

    Variable name: ARNOLD_PLUGIN_PATH
    Variable value: directory/directories where the shaders are located.

Mac OS X

Yosemite does not support setting environment variables in /etc/launchd.conf
  1. Open a Terminal window and run this command to edit the /etc/launch.conf file in the nano text editor (you could also use vi or vim if you prefer).

    sudo nano /etc/launchd.conf


    You will need to enter your password.

    Note that on some systems, the /etc/launcd.conf file may not exist yet.

  2. Add this line to the file:

    setenv ARNOLD_PLUGIN_PATH [value]

    where [value] is the folder/folders where the shaders are located.

  3. Save your changes.

  4. Restart your computer.


Third-party shaders are listed under the Undefined group in the shader tree of the Arnold Shader Network Editor if they don't have proper meta definition. You can select and use them as any other built-in Arnold shader.

If UI resource files are missing for a shader, then a custom UI is generated which displays all parameters of the Arnold shader node under the Default tab. It is the third-party developer's responsibility to create and add resource files describing the proper layout and add custom translators where necessary via the C++ API.

Available Third-Party Shaders

Ensure that you download build for the correct OS.

Also, check which Arnold version the build is for. Arnold is binary compatible if the first two digits of the version number are the same, which means if you have a shader built for Arnold 4.2.x.x and the Arnold in C4DtoA is 4.2.x.x the shader will load. If the shader is built for Arnold 4.1.x.x and you have Arnold 4.2.x.x in C4DtoA it's not guaranteed that the shader will work. You can check which Arnold is used by C4DtoA in the Plugins > C4DtoA > Help menu.

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