Autodesk adds to its renderers, buys Solid Angle

Apr 18, 2016 | Hot Topics

Autodesk just announced that it has acquired Solid Angle, maker of Arnold, a ray-tracing image renderer for high-quality 3D animation and visual effects creation. Arnold was co-developed with Sony Pictures Imageworks and is now their main renderer. Autodesk says Arnold (not an awesome product name, but must have a great backstory) is used by over “500 studios and thousands of independent artists” including on project such as the Academy Award-winning films Ex Machina and The Martian and the Emmy Award-winning Game of Thrones.

I’m not up on the technology used in film, TV and advertising, but am always amazed that the incredible renderings made by CAD people to show of their work and better communicate intent, and can imagine that this tech will ultimately wind its way through many Autodesk products.

Chris Bradshaw, Autodesk’s VP of Media and Entertainment, said that Autodesk is “constantly looking out for promising technologies that help artists boost creativity and productivity. Efficient rendering is increasingly critical for 3D content creation and acquiring Solid Angle will allow us to help customers better tackle this computationally intensive part of the creative process. Together, we can improve rendering workflows within our products as well as accelerate the development of new rendering solutions that tap into the full potential of the cloud, helping all studios scale production.”

Autodesk says that Arnold will remain available as a standalone renderer for both Autodesk and third party applications, including Houdini, Katana, and Cinema 4D on Linux, Mac OS X and Windows.

Important: Autodesk 3ds Max and Autodesk Maya will also continue to support other third-party renderers.

Terms of the deal were not announced, but Autodesk made a point to say that “Arnold pricing and packaging is unchanged and Autodesk will continue to offer perpetual licenses of Arnold. Customers should continue to purchase Arnold through their usual Solid Angle channels”. Note the deviation from “all subs all the time”.

The image is from Solid Render, of the Audi Mirrors Advert, Sehsucht. Gorgeous, no?