The renderer is a rendering program. Rendering is the process of drawing a two-dimensional image based on 3D data, such as vertices, edges, faces, attributes, textures, and camera (viewpoint) information.
Maya has following renderer.
- Maya Software Renderer
- Maya Hardware Renderer
Maya 2017 and laters has the Arnold, and removed the Metal Ray License which had been included in Maya 2016. Since Maya 2017, the Arnold become a default renderer.
Difference between Arnold included with Maya and stand-alone Arnold
The Arnold included with Maya is a MtoA, which is plug-in of the Maya.
The stand-alone version of Arnold is also available. There are some difference between the MtoA plugin and stand-alone Arnold.
- The background rendering functionality.
- Availability of command line program.
The MtoA plugin only has a direct rendering function from Maya.
The stand-alone version has the ability to render distributed rendering using multiple machines or without going through Maya.
Need for stand-alone version
When rendering complex scenes or rendering with high quality, Arnold may takes a long time. I felt this even on my machine with a Core i9 CPU and Nvidia RTX 3060 Ti GPU, so I thought I would want a machine dedicated to rendering if I was using it for work.
I think the weakness of the MtoA plug-in is that modeling work cannot be done during rendering, especially when multiple images are rendered for animation, etc.
The GPU rendering would improve it a lot, but I feel the rendering results of GPU rendering are not as clean as. I think there is a lot of noise. I need to learn more about adjusting light sources.
It would be more cost-effective to add a license for a stand-alone version of Arnold than to add a license for Maya. Another way, you can use a render farm.