Tuesday, 2 August 2016

Introducing Maya 2017 - and Arnold!

Autodesk has just released a new version of Maya, titled Maya 2017 (I know, we're only half way through 2016) - which now features an entirely new system for rendering your images. 

The old ray trace renderer, Mental Ray, has been dropped, and Autodesk have chosen Arnold instead.  For those of you have have never used Arnold before, and might have some catching up to do, animator Lee Caller has helpfully put together a YouTube playlist of videos that will walk you through the basics of the Arnold renderer. 

Arnold is a great renderer, and no doubt a significant improvement on Mental Ray. However, there is a catch, and it's a pretty big one.

The version of Arnold embedded in Maya is limited. You can render single frames with no difficulty, but as soon as you try to make a batch render of your work - Maya will give you a watermark.

So, if you are a student making a short film, or indeed simply trying to render out a lit version of your animation, you will no longer be able to use Maya for your entire production pipeline. Unless you don't mind watermarks on your work, of course.  To create watermark-free images using Maya 2017, you will need to purchase an Arnold license from Solid Angle.

And who owns Solid Angle? The answer is Autodesk, the same folks who own Maya.

The Escape Studios Animation Blog offers a personal view on the art of animation and visual effects. To apply for our new BA/MArt starting in September 2016, follow this link.


  1. You forgot one important thing : Maya 2017 comes with a new option "Render Sequence" (in menu "Render"), that allows to render a complete sequence from maya UI. This sequence is rendered with Arnold without any watermark. While it's not a solution for big studios who rely on a render farm, this is a good enough way for students / short films / very small studios to achieve their project without any additional license for rendering. So don't worry, they would still be able to use Maya for their entire production.... ;-)
    (a SolidAngle engineer)

  2. Thanks Solid Angle Engineer! I will test that out!