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Myron Markov
Myron Markov

Solid Angle Maya To Arnold v3.2.0.2 For Maya 2017-2019 Win/Mac/Lnx - CG Channel


SolidAngle Maya to Arnold 3.3.0: A Powerful 3D Rendering Software for Maya




If you are a 3D artist, animator, or visual effects professional who uses Maya as your main software, you might be interested in learning more about SolidAngle Maya to Arnold 3.3.0, a powerful 3D rendering software that integrates seamlessly with Maya's standard interface.




SolidAngle Maya to Arnold 3.3.0 Maya 2017 19 Win Mac Lnx



In this article, we will cover everything you need to know about SolidAngle Maya to Arnold 3.3.0, including what it is, what are its main features and benefits, how to install and activate it for Maya 2017-2019 on Windows, Mac, and Linux, how to use it for creating stunning 3D renders, and some tips and tricks for optimizing your workflow and results with it.


Introduction




What is SolidAngle Maya to Arnold?




SolidAngle Maya to Arnold (or MtoA) is a plugin that provides a bridge to the Arnold renderer from within Maya's standard interface. Arnold is a high-quality, physically-based, ray-tracing renderer that is widely used in the film, television, animation, and visual effects industry.


Arnold was developed by Solid Angle, a company founded by Marcos Fajardo in 2008. In 2016, Autodesk acquired Solid Angle and integrated Arnold into its products, such as Maya, 3ds Max, Cinema 4D, Katana, and Houdini.


SolidAngle Maya to Arnold is now shipping with the Arnold 5.0 core, which introduces several improvements and new features, such as improved sampling, better noise reduction, faster performance, more realistic lighting and shading models, support for volumetric rendering, deep EXR output, and more.


What are the main features and benefits of SolidAngle Maya to Arnold?




Some of the main features and benefits of SolidAngle Maya to Arnold are:



  • Seamless integration with Maya shapes, cameras, lights, and shaders.



  • Image-based lighting support, including a state-of-the-art physical sky.



  • Interactive rendering (IPR) that allows parameter changes to be rapidly previewed without interrupting your work.



  • Support for volume rendering with Maya Fluids.



  • Support for Maya Hair and nHair.



  • Support for particles and nParticles, including particle instancer.



  • Defer the creation of geometry at render time with the stand-in placeholder nodes.



  • Productivity boost: override sets, holdout mattes, shadow catcher, passes, UDIM style textures, and arbitrary primvar data.



  • <li Extensible through plug-ins (Golaem, FumeFX for Maya, Yeti, Shave & Haircut).



  • XGen integration.



  • Texturable geometric lights.



  • Deep EXR.



  • Baking of Arnold shaders to Maya Ramp/UV sets.



With SolidAngle Maya to Arnold, you can achieve realistic and high-quality renders with ease and efficiency. You can also take advantage of the Arnold RenderView, which is a custom Qt window that allows you to view your scene in real-time, with post-processing effects and advanced debugging tools.


How to install and activate SolidAngle Maya to Arnold 3.3.0 for Maya 2017-2019 on Windows, Mac, and Linux?




To install and activate SolidAngle Maya to Arnold 3.3.0 for Maya 2017-2019 on Windows, Mac, and Linux, you need to follow these steps:



  • Download the installer for your operating system from the official website: https://www.solidangle.com/arnold/download/



  • Run the installer and follow the instructions on the screen. You will need to accept the license agreement and choose the Maya versions you want to install the plugin for.



  • After the installation is complete, launch Maya and go to Windows > Settings/Preferences > Plug-in Manager. Find the mtoa.mll file and check the Loaded and Auto load boxes.



  • To activate SolidAngle Maya to Arnold, you will need a valid license. You can either use an online license server or a local license file. If you have an online license server, you will need to set the environment variable solidangle_LICENSE to point to the server address. For example: solidangle_LICENSE=5053@myserver.com. If you have a local license file, you will need to copy it to the folder where the plugin is installed. For example: C:\Program Files\Autodesk\Maya2019\solidangle\mtoadeploy\2019\bin.



  • Restart Maya and enjoy using SolidAngle Maya to Arnold 3.3.0!



How to use SolidAngle Maya to Arnold 3.3.0 for Maya 2017-2019




How to set up the render settings and options in SolidAngle Maya to Arnold?




To set up the render settings and options in SolidAngle Maya to Arnold, you need to go to Windows > Rendering Editors > Render Settings. In the Render Settings window, you can choose Arnold as your renderer from the drop-down menu. You can then access various tabs that allow you to adjust different aspects of your render, such as:



  • Common: This tab contains general settings that apply to all renderers, such as image size, frame range, file output format, etc.



  • System: This tab contains settings that affect the performance and memory usage of Arnold, such as threads, bucket size, auto-translator cache size, etc.



  • Sampling: This tab contains settings that control the quality and speed of your render, such as camera (AA), diffuse, specular, transmission, SSS, volume indirect, etc.



  • Ray Depth: This tab contains settings that control how many times a ray can bounce or refract in your scene, such as total depth, diffuse depth, specular depth, transmission depth, volume depth, etc.



  • Lights: This tab contains settings that affect how lights are sampled and rendered in your scene, such as light linking mode, light group AOVs, light sampling algorithm (adaptive or brute force), etc.



  • Environment: This tab contains settings that affect how the environment is rendered in your scene, such as background color or image-based lighting (IBL), atmosphere volume (fog or mist), etc.



  • Textures: This tab contains settings that affect how textures are loaded and processed in your scene, such as texture search path, auto-tile size (for tiled textures), auto-mip-map (for mip-mapped textures), etc.



  • Motion Blur: This tab contains settings that enable and control motion blur effects in your scene, such as motion blur type (deformation or transformation), shutter start and end time (in frames), motion keys (number of samples per frame), etc.



  • Diagnostics: This tab contains settings that help you debug and troubleshoot your render issues, such as log verbosity level (console or file output), error color badging (for NaN or infinite pixels), debug shading (for isolating specific shading components), etc.



  • AOVs: This tab allows you to create and manage arbitrary output variables (AOVs), which are separate images or data channels that can be outputted along with the final render, such as diffuse, specular, normal, depth, etc.



You can also access some of these settings directly from the Arnold menu in the main Maya interface, or from the Attribute Editor of each object, light, camera, or shader in your scene.


How to create and apply materials and shaders in SolidAngle Maya to Arnold?




To create and apply materials and shaders in SolidAngle Maya to Arnold, you need to use the Hypershade window, which is the main editor for creating and managing shading networks in Maya. You can access it from Windows > Rendering Editors > Hypershade.


In the Hypershade window, you can find various tabs that allow you to browse, create, edit, and assign materials and shaders, such as:



  • Browser: This tab shows a list of all the materials and shaders available in your scene or in the Maya library. You can filter them by type, name, or category. You can also create new materials and shaders by clicking on the icons at the top of the tab.



  • Property Editor: This tab shows the attributes and parameters of the selected material or shader. You can adjust them using sliders, color pickers, texture maps, expressions, etc.



  • Node Editor: This tab shows a graphical representation of the shading network of the selected material or shader. You can connect different nodes (such as textures, utilities, math operators, etc.) to create complex effects and behaviors.



  • Material Viewer: This tab shows a preview of the selected material or shader on a sphere or a custom object. You can change the lighting and background of the preview to see how it looks under different conditions.



  • Work Area: This tab shows a grid where you can drag and drop materials and shaders from the Browser tab or create new ones from scratch. You can also connect them to objects in your scene by right-clicking on them and choosing Assign Material To Selection.



SolidAngle Maya to Arnold provides a range of materials and shaders that are designed to work with Arnold's rendering engine, such as:



  • aiStandardSurface: This is the main shader for creating realistic surfaces with physically-based properties, such as diffuse, specular, transmission (refraction), subsurface scattering (SSS), coat (clearcoat), sheen (fuzz), thin film interference, emission (glow), etc.



  • aiStandardHair: This is the main shader for creating realistic hair and fur with physically-based properties, such as base color, melanin, roughness, specularity, transmission (translucency), emission (glow), etc.



  • aiStandardVolume: This is the main shader for creating realistic volumes with physically-based properties, such as density, scattering (albedo), absorption (attenuation), emission (glow), anisotropy (directionality), etc.



  • aiShadowMatte: This is a special shader for creating shadow catchers that can receive shadows and reflections from other objects in your scene without being visible themselves.



  • aiUtility: This is a versatile shader that can be used for various purposes, such as debugging, masking, baking, etc. It allows you to output different types of data from your scene, such as color, position, normal, UVs, depth, etc.



  • aiFlat: This is a simple shader that can be used for creating flat colors or textures without any shading effects.



  • aiWireframe: This is a shader that can be used for creating wireframe renders of your objects.



  • aiSkin: This is a legacy shader that can be used for creating skin effects with subsurface scattering (SSS). It is recommended to use the aiStandardSurface shader instead, as it has more features and better performance.



You can also use Maya's native materials and shaders, such as Lambert, Blinn, Phong, etc., but they will not have the same quality and realism as the Arnold materials and shaders. You can also create your own custom materials and shaders using the OSL (Open Shading Language) scripting language, which is supported by Arnold.


How to use lights, cameras, and environment in SolidAngle Maya to Arnold?




To use lights, cameras, and environment in SolidAngle Maya to Arnold, you need to create them in your scene using the Maya's standard tools. You can then adjust their attributes and parameters using the Attribute Editor or the Channel Box. You can also access some Arnold-specific settings for each light, camera, or environment node by clicking on the Arnold tab in the Attribute Editor.


SolidAngle Maya to Arnold supports all the Maya's native lights, such as point, directional, spot, area, volume, etc. It also provides some additional light types that are specific to Arnold, such as:



  • aiSkyDomeLight: This is a light that simulates a sky dome with image-based lighting (IBL). You can use an HDR image to provide realistic illumination and reflections for your scene.



  • aiMeshLight: This is a light that converts any polygon mesh into a light source. You can use it to create complex shapes and patterns of light.



  • aiPhotometricLight: This is a light that uses an IES file to define the intensity and distribution of light. You can use it to simulate real-world light fixtures and lamps.



  • aiLightDecay: This is a node that controls how the intensity of light decays over distance. You can use it to create realistic falloff effects for your lights.



SolidAngle Maya to Arnold supports all the Maya's native cameras, such as perspective, orthographic, etc. It also provides some additional camera types that are specific to Arnold, such as:



  • aiPhysicalCamera: This is a camera that simulates a real-world camera with physically-based properties, such as focal length, aperture, shutter speed, ISO, etc. You can use it to create realistic depth of field (DOF), motion blur, exposure, etc.



  • aiFisheyeCamera: This is a camera that creates a fisheye lens effect with a 180-degree field of view. You can use it to create spherical or hemispherical renders for VR or dome projection.



  • aiCylindricalCamera: This is a camera that creates a cylindrical lens effect with a 360-degree field of view. You can use it to create panoramic or lat-long renders for VR or dome projection.



SolidAngle Maya to Arnold supports all the Maya's native environment nodes, such as image plane, physical sky, etc. It also provides some additional environment nodes that are specific to Arnold, such as:



  • aiSky: This is a node that creates a physical sky model with realistic sun and sky illumination. You can use it to simulate different times of day and weather conditions.



  • aiAtmosphereVolume: This is a node that creates a volumetric atmosphere effect with fog or mist. You can use it to create depth cues and atmospheric perspective for your scene.



How to render scenes and animations in SolidAngle Maya to Arnold?




To render scenes and animations in SolidAngle Maya to Arnold, you need to use the Render View window, which is the main interface for viewing and saving your renders in Maya. You can access it from Windows > Rendering Editors > Render View.


In the Render View window, you can find various tools and options that allow you to control your render process, such as:



  • Render: This button allows you to render the current frame of your scene using the current render settings and options.



  • IPR: This button allows you to render the current frame of your scene using the interactive rendering (IPR) feature of SolidAngle Maya to Arnold. This feature allows you to see the changes you make in your scene update in real-time in the Render View window without having to restart the render process.



  • Render Sequence: This button allows you to render a sequence of frames of your scene using the current render settings and options. You can specify the start and end frame, the output file name and format, the render camera, etc.



  • Render Settings: This button allows you to access the Render Settings window, where you can adjust various settings and options for your render, such as renderer, image size, frame range, sampling, ray depth, lights, environment, textures, motion blur, diagnostics, AOVs, etc.



  • Snapshot: This button allows you to save the current image in the Render View window as a file. You can choose the file name, format, and location.



  • Display: This button allows you to change the display mode of the Render View window, such as RGB, alpha, luminance, red channel, green channel, blue channel, etc.



  • Zoom: This button allows you to zoom in or out of the image in the Render View window.



  • Pan: This button allows you to pan or move the image in the Render View window.



  • Region: This button allows you to render a specific region of your scene by drawing a rectangle on the Render View window. This can save time and resources when you only need to render a part of your scene.



  • Arnold RenderView: This button allows you to open the Arnold RenderView window, which is a custom Qt window that provides a more advanced and interactive interface for viewing and saving your renders. It has some additional features and options that are not available in the Maya Render View window, such as post-processing effects (exposure, gamma, color correction, etc.), advanced debugging tools (AOVs, light groups, isolate selected objects or lights, etc.), progressive rendering mode (renders from low to high quality), pause and resume rendering, etc.



To render scenes and animations in SolidAngle Maya to Arnold, you can also use the Batch Render command from the Render menu in the main Maya interface. This command allows you to render your scene or animation in the background without opening the Render View window. You can specify the render settings and options in the Batch Render Options window that opens when you choose this command.


Tips and tricks for optimizing your workflow and results with SolidAngle Maya to Arnold 3.3.0




How to use the interactive rendering (IPR) feature in SolidAngle Maya to Arnold?




The interactive rendering (IPR) feature in SolidAngle Maya to Arnold is a very useful tool that allows you to see the changes you make in your scene update in real-time in the Render View window without having to restart the render process. This can save you a lot of time and effort when tweaking your materials, lights, cameras, environment, etc.


To use the interactive rendering (IPR) feature in SolidAngle Maya to Arnold, you need to click on the IPR button in the Render View window or choose IPR Render from the Arnold menu in the main Maya interface. You can then make any changes you want in your scene and see them reflected immediately in the Render View window. You can also use some keyboard shortcuts to control the IPR feature, such as:



  • ESC: Stop or cancel the IPR render.



  • R: Restart or refresh the IPR render.



  • S: Save a snapshot of the current IPR image.



  • A: Toggle between progressive and adaptive sampling modes.



  • P: Pause or resume the IPR render.



You can also use some mouse actions to control the IPR feature, such as:



  • Left-click and drag: Pan or move the image in the Render View window.



  • Right-click and drag: Zoom in or out of the image in the Render View window.



  • Middle-click and drag: Render a specific region of the image in the Render View window.



The interactive rendering (IPR) feature in SolidAngle Maya to Arnold can help you achieve faster and better results with less trial and error. You can also use the Arnold RenderView window for a more advanced and interactive rendering experience.


How to use the stand-in placeholder nodes in SolidAngle Maya to Arnold?




The stand-in placeholder nodes in SolidAngle Maya to Arnold are a very useful tool that allows you to defer the creation of geometry at render time. This can save you a lot of memory and improve your performance when working with large or complex scenes.


To use the stand-in placeholder nodes in SolidAngle Maya to Arnold, you need to export your geometry as an .ass file, which is a binary file format that stores the Arnold scene data. You can do this by selecting your geometry and choosing Export Selection from the Arnold menu in the main Maya interface. You can then specify the file name, location, and options for your .ass file.


After you have exported your geometry as an .ass file, you can create a stand-in placeholder node by choosing Create > Stand-In from the Arnold menu in the main Maya interface. You can then browse and load your .ass file into the stand-in node using the Attribute Editor. You can also adjust some attributes of the stand-in node, such as scale, rotation, offset, visibility, etc.


The stand-in placeholder node will replace your g


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