Introduction to Arnold

In this Introduction to Arnold series, you’ll learn everything you need to know about using Arnold for Maya and how to create stunning renders. Learn the theory of Arnold and how to optimize it to get fast and efficient renders. With Arnold, you can spend less time worrying about technical issues and more time making beautiful images.

Quality Training

With almost 4 hours of quality Arnold training, you’ll be ready to start your own projects right away. Learn how to install custom shaders, how linear workflow works in Arnold, using cryptomattes, using the render view, setting up a custom lookdev environment and much more!

Project Based

Introduction to Arnold is heavily project based. The beginning of the series will cover the theory, while the second part will guide you through a project. You’ll learn how to light and shade a scene, combining all the principles you’ve learnt so far.

Lookdev Environment

One of the most important parts of shading is having a clean and effective lookdev environment. Zeno will guide you through how to he sets up his lookdev environments – and how to make sure your shaders will work in any light setup. A good lookdev environment is one of a shading artist’s most useful tools.

Master Arnold Shaders

The Arnold shaders are covered in-depth, where advanced topics will be covered. Learn about how work with the shaders in a physically based manner, how IOR and metalness works, and much more. Once you understand how the shaders work, you can create every material you can imagine.

About your Instructor

Zeno Pelgrims is an incredibly talented artist and instructor with a deep knowledge of shading, render engines and how light operates. He’s worked as lead shading artist and now currently working at Animal Logic in Vancouver as a shading artist. Zeno is also the founder of – a community focused around shading. You can check out Zeno’s beautiful work on his Personal Website.

Software Used

  • Maya 2017
  • Arnold 5

Files Included

  • 3 hours 51 minutes of video tutorials
  • Project files

Chapter List

  • 01 – Introduction
  • 02 – Arnold Theory
  • 03 – Render Settings
  • 04 – Linear Workflow & Mip Mapping
  • 05 – AlShaders
  • 06 – Render View
  • 07 – StandardSurface
  • 08 – Lookdev Environment
  • 09 – Shading of the Can
  • 10 – Shading of the Tubes
  • 11 – Shading of the Tape
  • 12 – Curves
  • 13 – Shadow Mattes
  • 14 – Cryptomatte Render Settings
  • 15 – Lights
  • 16 – Camera
  • 17 – Stand-ins
  • 18 – Light Groups

Related Products

The FlippedNormals Lighting Scenes 2.0 is the perfect companion to Introduction to Arnold. Drag and drop your models into 20 pre-made custom light setups to make it look stunning and professional in seconds.

FlippedNormals Lighting Scenes 2.0 – Arnold

Note About the Al-Library

The alshaders nodes that are used were compiled for Arnold 5. Development stopped for the alSurface shader, but the nodes used in the tutorial are just as valid now as they were then. There’s no problem using any of the nodes used in Maya 2018. 

You can find the alShaders here

The tutorial uses the standard Arnold shaders for the main shading.

Skill Level

Introduction to Arnold is a great series for artists who has an understanding of basic 3D and wants to take their renders to the next level!


Average rating: 3.75 out of 5 stars
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  • Not an introduction...

    I’ve been working in 3D for 8 years now. I think I’m competent enough that when I buy an “introduction” lesson to some topic, I can comfortably go from zero to some degree of proficiency. Unfortunately, this video lesson does not start from zero. The pacing and plan for this lesson is also all over the place.

    Beware: You must have some degree of comfort with Maya and rendering in Arnold for Maya to begin with. This lesson will not go over the basics for you. This lesson assumes a strong familiarity with a lot of rendering concepts. If you’re looking for a true intro lesson, like I was, look elsewhere. If you’re looking to further knowledge that you already have, tips, tricks and polish, then this is for you.

    1 of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • an excellent intro to Arnold for Maya

    This may be one of the most approachable introductions to a sophisticated high end renderer that I have encountered in 20+ years of working in the entertainment industry. I am migrating from Mental Ray in May 2015 (was on a very long project) to Arnold in Maya 18.5 and the video’s workflow of non-destructive shader building is powerful and, with a little patience and trial and error on the part of the student, an excellent intro to that subject as well as the basics of the rest of the renderer. Certainly, one could triple (or more) the size of the product and cover more but this is an introduction, not a master course and it succeeds splendidly at what it is intended to do and who it is intended for. Equally important, the “basic” skills introduced will, with practice, yield very nice results for the motivated student as they grow used to the software and become ready to attack the more advanced features of the Arnold renderer. If the author produces further tutorials on Arnold, I will be eagerly waiting to purchase them.

    1 of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Great Tutorial and Awesome Teacher

    Easy to understand and really good for getting into Arnold with. The whole software can be a bit impenetrable from the outside so it’s really useful having this tutorial to get you started. Now, I’m able to follow all of the massively advanced tutorials I had found everywhere else and dive deeper into all of the millions of parts that make this software. I feel confident with the software at this point and that is incredibly valuable. The teacher seems like a knowledgable guy too!

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  • Good but not enough

    good lesson. but unfortunately there is not enough information.
    shaders, operator, texture, utility shader, could be talked about it
    Do you have an update?

    Thank you for your feedback.

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