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LinkedIn Learning

3ds Max: Rendering with Arnold

via LinkedIn Learning


Learn how to use the core features of Arnold, the high-quality rendering engine in 3ds Max, for lighting, texturing, and rendering 3D scenes.

Arnold is the high-quality rendering engine in 3ds Max. Realistic rendering is easier than ever with this brute-force Monte Carlo ray tracer. The physically based rendering in Arnold accurately simulates light in the real world, but allows you to break physical laws to achieve artistic styles. This course is an overview of the core Arnold features for lighting, materials, and rendering in 3ds Max. Instructor Aaron F. Ross shows how to adjust render settings and object properties, add image-based and studio lighting, simulate natural daylight, customize and apply materials, and build a shading network. Finally, learn how to apply a variety of camera and rendering tools such as displacement, subdivision, and panoramas to get exactly the look you want.


  • Welcome
  • Using the exercise files
  • Updating the MAXtoA plugin
1. Concepts
  • Course prerequisites
  • Introducing Arnold
  • Arnold rendering concepts
2. Processing and Interactivity
  • Setting 3ds Max preferences
  • Creating a default template scene
  • ActiveShade rendering
  • Tuning sampling quality
  • Controlling global illumination Ray Depth
  • Preview materials with GPU rendering
3. Environment Lighting
  • Image-based lighting with scene environment
  • Image-based lighting with a skydome
  • Daylighting with Arnold Physical Sky
  • Using multiple Skydome lights
  • Setting color temperature of an environment
  • Improving light samples
  • Using Environment Advanced mode
4. Studio Lighting
  • Creating an Arnold Quad Light
  • Setting Arnold Quad Light parameters
  • Rendering self-illuminated surfaces
  • Setting Arnold Properties for an object
  • Improving skydome interiors with Portal mode
  • Control distance intensity with a Light Decay filter
  • Emulating sunlight with an Arnold distant light
  • Creating an Arnold spot light
  • Focusing Lens Radius for a collimated beam
5. Materials and Maps
  • Creating an Arnold Standard Surface
  • Base color and specular roughness
  • Mapping material parameters
  • Surface relief with bump mapping
  • Rendering metallic surfaces with metalness
  • Mapping opacity
  • Refracting light with transmission
  • Shading with ambient occlusion
  • Building an Arnold shading network
6. Rendering
  • Test rendering with the utility map
  • Mesh subdivision with Arnold Properties
  • Render adaptive displacement
  • Optimize subdivision with frustum culling
  • Control displacement with Arnold Properties
  • Panorama rendering with a spherical camera
  • Next steps

Taught by

Aaron F. Ross

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