Guest workflow by Yanis Lachat, a 3D artist from Geneva, Switzerland. Yanis previously shared his workflow for this scene using 3ds Max and Corona. We then asked if he'd give it another shot using Arnold.
When Autodesk asked me to recreate my industrial bar and restaurant scene with Arnold, a renderer now integrated in 3ds Max, I was a bit afraid but also very excited. I knew nothing about Arnold and was eager to see how I could use it for architectural visualization.
BRUSHING UP ON ARNOLD
FROM CORONA TO ARNOLD
I initially applied a standard surface material to the entire geometry in order to have a neutral volume and thus have an easier scene to work with. Pretty quickly and without tweaking too many parameters, I got nice feedback in Active Shade mode. I kept the same lighting principles that I used for the prior scene - an HDRI map from Peter Guthrie's collection - as the main light source. Through the duration of this project, I was having an issue with noise. It takes a little bit of testing before getting the right results, though it's definitely worth spending some time to understand noise in order to avoid a very long render time.
TEXTURING WITH ARNOLD SHADERS
RENDERING WITH ARNOLD
The volumetric effects in Arnold are the best I have tried so far, as they're very intuitive and responsive. They give you a beautiful and clean result, however since my scene was very heavy, I decided not to use them. I will definitely explore them further with an exterior scene.
As a first-time Arnold user, I can say that it's very powerful and quickly gives a very polished result. Because of its flexibility and the possibility to use it in a more artistic way, I will absolutely be exploring its uses in future projects.