What's New - Spotlight on Imagers in Arnold 6.1
MAXtoA 4.2.0 introduces Arnold 188.8.131.52 and is a feature release bringing a brand new post-processing framework (imagers), support for nested dielectrics, much improved progressive and adaptive sampling, on-demand texture loading on GPU, and a variety of enhancements and fixes.
- Autodesk 3ds Max 2019, 2020 or 2021.
- Windows 7 or later, with the Visual Studio 2019 redistributable.
- CPUs need to support the SSE4.1 instruction set.
- GPU rendering requires an NVIDIA GPU of the Turing, Volta, Pascal, or Maxwell architecture. We recommend using the 451.77 drivers or higher. See Getting Started with Arnold GPU for more information.
- Optix™ denoiser requires an NVidia GPU with CUDA™ Compute Capability 5.0 and above.
EnhancementsImagers: We're introducing a brand new framework to apply post-processing effects such as color correction, vignetting, or tone mapping. A new type of post-processing nodes called imagers operate on pixels before the output driver. Imagers can be chained. The initial set of imagers consists of:
Imagers work both in batch and interactive contexts. While imager parameters can change interactively during rendering, adding a new imager currently requires the render to be restarted, so it's a good idea to add the ones you will need to adjust at the beginning of an interactive session. We are looking at removing this limitation in a subsequent release. (core#8368, core#9716, core#9723, core#9724, core#9867, core#9868, core#9869, core#9938).
Lens Effects (vignetting)
Nested dielectrics: Physically-correct reflection and refraction of rays in scenes with adjacent dielectrics, such as liquids in glass vessels, has been implemented by resolving overlapping, i.e. "nested", dielectrics via a priority system. This allows for more realistic renders of scenes such as glass containers with liquid contents and bubbles, correctly accounting for the change in the index of refraction as rays refract through the transparent media. The new dielectric_priority parameter on the standard_surface shader assigns a priority to the internal dielectric medium of the closed transparent object the shader is assigned to. These priorities specify that in an area of overlap of two transparent objects, only the highest priority dielectric medium exists (see the schematic glass of water below). The priority is simply a signed integer (default 0), which can be increased or decreased as needed to define the dielectric medium in the overlap areas. If priorities are made equal, then media are effectively blended in the overlap. The effect can be disabled globally with
options.dielectric_priorities(Nested Dielectrics in the Advanced tab of the render settings) in case you need to revert to the legacy mode, which does not correctly compute the refractions. (core#6023)
Standard setup of a glass of water with an ice cube, using the priority system. Rollover image to view the result with the global dielectric_priority: disabled (not physically correct).
Nested dielectrics examples
Improved progressive and adaptive sampling: Better sampling now results in much faster noise convergence, especially with adaptive sampling enabled. (core#9941)
Left: Arnold 184.108.40.206 - Right: Arnold 220.127.116.11 - Both images rendered using the same settings: adaptive_threshold = 0.015 (default)
- Improved performance on Windows: Arnold now runs on average 7-8% faster overall on Windows. (core#5481, core#9876, core#9975)
- Improved IPR interactivity: IPR interactivity on both CPU and GPU, especially when moving the camera in a scene with many nodes (thousands to millions of meshes, ginstances, lights, shaders, etc.), is improved. For instance, a scene with 24,433 ginstances and simple shading went from 8 fps to 14 fps on the CPU and about 3 fps to 20 fps on the GPU. (core#8662, core#9918, core#10027, core#10029)
- Improved performance in Toon on Windows: The contour_filter used for toon rendering should now be faster and scale better especially on Windows, with up to 3x speedups on AMD Threadripper 2 and up to 4x speedups on AMD Threadripper 3 CPUs. (core#7844)
- Toon AOV prefix : The
toonshader has a new optional
aov_prefixthat will be prepended to the toon AOVs' names. For instance, if
"toon_", the toon diffuse AOV will be written out to
"toon_diffuse". This can be used when you need to access both the toon AOVs and the core's LPE AOVs. (core#9823)
- Improved soft creases in adaptive subdivision: Normals for soft creases follow the geometry closer for low iterations. (core#9971)
All cube edges have sharpness 3 creases. The diagram shows the new (top) and old (bottom) normals for 1, 2, 3, and 4 iterations.
- AA seed now included in EXR metadata: The AA seed of a render is now also included in EXR metadata. (core#9895)
- Improved support for MaterialX: Material nodes are now supported, shader nodes and node graph outputs can be connected to material node inputs. Node definitions implemented as node graphs can contain both Arnold native shaders and MaterialX standard library shaders. This is useful to build reusable and portable material groups and definitions, for example by using standard_surface with MaterialX patterns. The environment variable
ARNOLD_MATERIALX_NODE_DEFINITIONScan now point to directories and load multiple node definitions (see here) (core#9204, core#9618, core#9926)
- SSS type for Physical Material: You can now choose which Arnold Standard Surface SSS type will be used when rendering Physical Material in the render options. (maxtoa#722)
- Import/Export MAXscript commands: Import and export materials MAXscript commands are now available. (maxtoa#814)
- Import multiple materials: Arnold Menu->Import/Export->Import Materials lets you ctrl-click to pick more than one .ass/.mtlx to import several materials at once. (maxtoa#829)
- New parameter for mix_shader: The add_transparency parameter is now exposed on the mix_shader shader. (maxtoa#854)
- Physical camera exposure in Arnold Render View and ASS files: The physical camera exposure controls now apply when rendering in the Arnold Render View and in exported .ass files. (maxtoa#859)
- Support for 3ds Max Bitmap filters: The filter (Pyramidal, Summed Area, None) of Bitmaps is now translated correctly to the Arnold image shader. (maxtoa#871)
OptiX cache location change: The Optix cache directory used to be of the form:
arnold-<ARNOLD_VERSION>_driver-<DRIVER_VERSION>. Now it is simply
arnold. This means the same cache will be used across driver and Arnold versions. Upgrading to a new version will still likely cause a lengthy JIT/cache pre-population, but it will reduce disk usage as old versions will not stay around-consuming disk space. (core#9239).
OptiX cache location change: The Optix cache directory used to be of the form:
Skipped node updates: In order to improve IPR interactivity, we skip the per-frame node update if we believe that node has not changed. If our internal heuristics for detecting node changes is wrong and so that Arnold will always run node_update on every render pass. At the moment, this should only be needed for nodes that access
options.dielectric_priorities to False.
add mode of the
mix_shader also added the transparency closures, which means that effects such as min pixel width would be double-counted, leading to objects disappearing. Now, we will add only non-transparency closures, while we pass through the max of the transparency closures. The old behavior can still be obtained by setting
add_transparency to true (core#9952).
node_update was supposed to be called, you can set the
force_update metadata on your node:
options.camera in their
node_update. If you do not have access to your shader's source code, you can globally disable this optimization by setting the
options.enable_fast_ipr to false (core#8662).
Skipped node updates: In order to improve IPR interactivity, we skip the per-frame node update if we believe that node has not changed. If our internal heuristics for detecting node changes is wrong and
so that Arnold will always run node_update on every render pass. At the moment, this should only be needed for nodes that access
- maxtoa#735 ARV: crash when lights are instanced with missing .ies file
- maxtoa#749 ActiveShade refreshes after saving the scene
- maxtoa#755 ARV: crash with tyFlow and procedurals
- maxtoa#779 ARV/AS: crash when using Undo/Redo on node creation/selection/deletion
- maxtoa#801 ARV: "Start IPR" button has wrong initial tooltip
- maxtoa#815 ARV/AS: tyFlow instances do not inherit the material
- maxtoa#819 Arnold menus duplicated in Customize User Interface menu list
- maxtoa#820 Crash exporting physical material with displacement to .ass file
- maxtoa#826 ARV: Optix Denoiser ignored for both prod and IPR
- maxtoa#842 USD viewport display crashes when geometry has polygons with nb of sides > 32
- maxtoa#855 Incorrect ASinVP with Camera and Safe Frame active at the sides of the view
- maxtoa#870 ARV/AS ghosting when copying an object
- maxtoa#880 ARV-IPR crashes with HDRI OSL in Imagers slot
- maxtoa#887 ARV: Rendering with safe frames does not give correct results
- maxtoa#890 Crash using Arnold Denoiser and ARV
- maxtoa#891 Arnold cannot render Tyflow cloth particles
- core#5518 Handle interruptions properly during procedural expansion
- core#9949 mesh_light with constant black texture causes degenerate light tree case
- core#9971 Subdivs: soft creases normals different in adaptive and regular
- core#9978 Viewport API doesn't apply the correct matrix for nested procedurals
- core#10031 Only shader node connections should use node output type
- core#9361 [GPU] OptiX assert when updating textures
- core#10024 [GPU] Incorrect texture selection or error when invalidating the texture cache with GPU sparse textures
- core#10026 [GPU] Rare crash in OptiX denoiser
core#10040 [GPU] Always report minor version field of Nvidia driver as two digits
- core#10048 [GPU] Wrong progress reporting using adaptive
- usd#513 Viewport representation in points mode doesn't have the correct matrix
- usd#543 Visibility is not checked on the current frame
- usd#556 motion_start and motion_end is only set if the matrix of the prim is animated
- usd#565 Animated transforms not translated properly if set on parent XForms
- usd#569 Render delegate not picking up OSL shader parameters
- usd#570 USD procedural is not picking up OSL shader parameters
- usd#574 Incorrect display of curve widths in Solaris when changing curve basis
- usd#577 Point light should have zero radius
- usd#580 The Render Delegate's depth range is incorrect if USD is at least version 20.02