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What is Arion?



Arion is a hybrid, GPU-accelerated, and physically-based production render engine capable of generating hyper-real images.


It inherits all our expertise in light simulation and makes it run on steroids, thanks to our very unique massively parallel GPU+CPU approach.


Take a tour through this presentation to get a grasp of Arion's incredible quality and performance.




Hybrid: GPU accelerated


Arion uses all the GPUs -and- all the CPUs in the system simultaneously, not wasting a single flop available.


Additionally, Arion can use all the GPUs and all the CPUs in all the other computers in the network forming a cluster for massive distribution of animation frames.


nVidia's CUDA technology empowers Arion to previously unthinkable levels of performance.


For a full list of compatible and recommended hardware, please visit our compatibility page.

Physically-based


Arion is a physically-based and unbiased render engine.


This means that Arion accurately simulates the physics of light and materials to deliver the most true-to-life output possible.


In Arion there are no complex render parameters. The engine does the hard work of light simulation automatically, saving precious time and effort in the set-up phase.

Feature-complete


Arion can handle most of the rendering effects which are considered standard these days, such as displacements, instancing, motion blur, sub-surface scattering, volumetrics, ...


Like everything else in Arion, these features are all physically-correct, easy to use, and GPU-accelerated.


And beyond the current list of Arion features, we keep researching to expand the power and capabilities of the engine in the near future.

Stable and rock-solid


The underlying technology in Arion is crafted with the highest software architecture and coding quality standards in mind.


As a result, its rendering core is nearly unbreakable and will relentlessly render for hours or days without ever crashing.


We like to think of this as one of the main defining characteristics of our software, which is made with great care and passion.


Our goal is that our users can count on Arion to never let them down.

Why Arion?



Some good reasons to choose Arion are:


  • Arion is the most sophisticated and complete GPU accelerated and GPU+CPU hybrid renderer on the market.

  • Its quality, speed, flexibility, and ease of use are unrivalled.

  • The predictability of its unbiased nature makes it a solid ally in a production pipeline.

  • The native integration of the Arion Core inside some of the most popular 3D packages through our plug-ins opens the door to great creativity and workflow efficiency.

Uncompromised quality


Arion doesn't cut corners when it comes to rendering a project with the most accurate precision and quality.


Arion stays fully unbiased no matter what, and all its default parameters and the simulation core itself are strictly physically-based.


As a matter of fact, Arion features some really top-notch mathematical models developed over years of intense in-house R&D.

Predictable, reliable


Just like a carefully crafted watch, Arion delivers precisely what one expects, right in time.


The predictability of the unbiased nature of the rendering core makes it possible to deliver photo-realistic results minimizing the need for trial-and-error test renders.


Also, Arion renders interactively at final quality, not using a dumbed-down optimized engine like other products do. What You See Is What You Get, all the way.

It is easy to use


As a result of being unbiased and physically-based, Arion is very easy to use.


The learning curve is not steep, as all its parameters have a 1:1 correspondence in real life, and produce an easily predictable output.


Arion does things logically and in a way that reproduces the behavior of the real world, avoiding the unobvious complications of traditional render engines.


This very important characteristic makes Arion suitable for nearly any kind of work.

Unprecedented speed


For hardware acceleration, Arion makes use of all the CUDA-enabled GPUs available to the system, making it render incredibly fast.


Remarkably, Arion scales rendering power linearly, which means that adding extra GPUs to the machine literally multiplies rendering speed.


Traditionally in the CG world, the user had to choose between quality or speed. With Arion one can get both at once, avoiding a huge investment in hardware.

Who can use it?



Despite its very high quality and its physically-correct nature, Arion is designed to be very easy to use.


Its interface and the concepts behind each parameter are straightforward, making the learning curve as flat as possible.


Whether you are an architect, an artist, a designer, and whether you are a freelance or part of a large company, Arion is the right tool to achieve excellence.


Let yourself be amazed by the quality that you can achieve with Arion.

Artists


Arion brings artists the benefits of physical correctness, without the rigid constraints that one might expect from a light simulation engine.


Creating complex and true-to-life materials and light setups is easy in Arion.


Arion's real-world simulation approach gives artists with photographic knowledge the best way to make their artwork shine beautifully.


The essence of being an artist is to be free to create. Arion is here to render your creations just right.

Architects


Since the beginning, architects have always loved RandomControl's products and their powerful set of tools and features.


Easy sun positioning, beautiful sky rendering, accurate simulation of artificial lights, and true-to-life materials are among the most appreciated Arion features for architecture.


Arion also gives the ability to isolate objects (Object-based Region Render) or light sources (LightMixer) for quick post-production. This way, one can do material replacements, or even render multiple light configurations easily.


Product designers


Arion, which behaves pretty much like an interactive virtual camera, is an ideal tool for product designers.


Prototypes and studio-like setups can be defined and rendered in a matter of minutes with amazing photographic quality.


Many designers have adopted Arion to render photo-realistic shots of their products, due to its incredible speed and workflow efficiency.


Arion for Rhinoceros provides built-in support for all the Arion features from within McNeel's Rhino 3D. Alternatively, Arion stand-alone can import models exported in .obj from any 3D package or CAD application.

Film an animation


Lately, film, animation, and VFX are RandomControl's main areas of Research and Development.


Every feature in Arion has been thought of and crafted with support for animation in mind.


Arion for 3ds Max provides built-in support for all the Arion features from within Autodesk's 3ds Max..


Some features in the latest versions of Arion have been specifically implemented for film and animation users, such as fully automatic 3D motion blur, heavy support for AOVs, etc...

Features



Arion is the first and only GPU-accelerated render engine on the market to provide such a rich list of features.


It is also the only GPU-accelerated engine with a Metropolis Light Transport implementation to help solve light analysis and optical problems.


There are so many things Arion can do, that this presentation focuses on the main ones, but there are so many inside, and so many yet to come.


For a complete features-list, please visit the Arion Knowledge Base here.

Lighting



  • Physically-based sun and sky

    Physically-based sun and sky


    Lighting a scene realistically has never been so easy, thanks to the physical sky and sun atmospheric simulation system.


    Arion's atmosphere editor is complete and the sun positioning is accurate. Wherever and whenever your scene must be, Arion will light it right.

  • Image-Based Lighting

    Image-Based Lighting


    Arion's powerful image-based lighting makes it easy and exceptionally fast to use a high dynamic range image as an environment light source.


    Besides, Arion's importance sampling can render the most difficult light maps incredibly fast.


    Create stunning renders with IBL and the wide variety of HDR and EXR environment images collections available on the internet.

  • Importance sampling

    Importance sampling


    Thanks to the importance sampling feature, it's possible to light a scene with very difficult bitmaps (very small and bright light sources).


    Important sampling is also fully compatible with HDR Light Studio.

  • Mesh emitters

    Mesh emitters


    With arion you can light your scene with any object of any shape.


    Arbitrary shaped neon lights have never been easier to render.


    Arion's mesh emitters are the base of any lighting. They are very efficient and fully customizable.


    Since lights are objects, soft shadows are automatically proportional to the size of the object, without the need for any trial and error test.

  • Kelvin emitters

    Kelvin emitters


    Arion's emitter material supports Kelvin temperature as colour to match the real world of emitting black bodies.


    Kelvin temperature is also available in every emitting soure in Arion, such as environment lighting.


    It's needless to say that Arion also supports all the standard light source units such as lumen, candela, lux or watts.

  • Spotlights

    Spotlights


    Mesh emitters can be 'focused' using standard spotlight parameters such as falloff and hotspot to easily create spotlight without the need for the usual tricks required by unbiased engines.


    Spotlights will bring that special touch that makes great light setups.

  • Projection maps

    Projection maps


    Arion's emitters can project any bitmap onto the scene to create very cool projection effects like a theatre screen.


    Projectos are fully compatible with spotlights or participating media and can greatly improve the mood of an image with no effort or additional rendertime.

  • IES photometric profiles

    IES photometric profiles


    Arion supports direct input of IES photometric files to 'shape' the way light spreads from the emitter without the need for the usual tricks required by unbiased engines such as modeling the light fixture and relying massively on caustics.

  • HDR Light Studio support

    HDR Light Studio support


    HDR Light Studio is available in Arion at your fingertip.


    It updates your scene lighting interactively while editing the environment in HDR Light Studio.


    This wonderful feature makes it easy and fast to light any kind of product-viz shot.

Shading



  • Advanced multi-layered material editor

    Advanced multi-layered material editor


    Arion's material editing system is both easy to use and extremely powerful.


    It can recreate nearly any kind of common real-life surface accurately and beautifuly.


    RandomControl also provides you with a selection of fine pre-made materials here: http://materials.randomcontrol.com.

  • Fresnel and falloff controls

    Fresnel and falloff controls


    The Fresnel effect is one of the cornerstone of Arion's materials. It's fully and accurately supported to make it possible to create a wide range of materials, from plastic to metal.


    The falloff effect is a more artistic way to control the way light behave and allows to create stunning fabric materials, for example.

  • Absorption

    Absorption


    Without absorption, dielectrics (transparent materials) are nothing.


    Arion provides a physical simulation of dielectric colour absorption based on the object's thickness, just like it happens in the real world.


    Absorption is also used to tint accurately sub-surface scattering-based materials in a physically-correct way.

  • Dispersion (chromatic aberration)

    Dispersion (chromatic aberration)


    Being a physically-based spectral engine enables Arion to perfectly simulate the dispersion of light through dielectric mediums.


    This feature is particularly useful to render gems and glasses, but is also a must-have when dealing with optics simulations.

  • Bump and Normal mapping

    Bump and Normal mapping


    Arion fully support bump and normal mapping to add subtle details to your materials.


    Bump and normal mapping is very fast to render and every other effect such as caustics takes it into account.

  • Plastic coatings

    Plastic coatings


    Unlike reflective materials done using multiple BSDF layers, plastic coatings have the ability to fully occlude the substrate and reflect 100% of the light at grazing angles.


    This adds a great hint of realism to the most simple scenes and materials.


    Plastic coatings can and should be preferred when using lacquered surfaces, whether they are shiny or glossy.


    Plastic coatings have their own Fresnel index and roughness settings (which can be mapped for more variety in the details).

  • Sub-Surface Scattering

    Sub-Surface Scattering


    Everything in real life absorb a bit of light, depending the density of the material.


    Arion's sub-surface scattering model is accurate and fully customizable, from backward to forward scattering and everything in-between.

  • Displacement Mapping

    Displacement Mapping


    When bump and normal mapping are simply not enough to create surface details, Arion allows you to use render-time micro-polygon displacement mapping.


    Since displacement happens at render-time, it does not cost any extra memory and saves you extensive model subdivision.


    Arion can even subdivide AND displace your model on-the-fly when saving memory is more important than the render-time itself.


    Displacement mapping supports mid-point placement as well as waterlevel features for a complete compatibility with sculpting softwares and perfect control.

  • Local exit color

    Local exit color


    When using finite sampling (aka a lower number of bounces than necessary for a full global illumination solution) to save on render-time, using exit color makes it possible to recover a quality that is so close to the full GI solution that it's mind blowing.

  • Single-Sheet SSS

    Single-Sheet SSS


    Single-Sheet SSS (or 5S) is a very powerful feature for translucent objects with no thickness.


    This feature is particularly useful to render sheets of papers, curtains, drapes, leaves or thin translucent walls and windows.


Special effects



  • Compositing channels

    Compositing channels


    Arion comes with an extensive list of compositing channels (AOVs) to ease the post-production's process.


    Every single AOV in Arion can be computed on the fly along with the main render, as they are extracted from the raytracing routines themselves.


    This makes Arion a powerful and efficient tool for compositing and production requirements.

  • True optics and reflex camera simulation

    True optics and reflex camera simulation


    Because of Arion's physically-correct nature, depth of field happens automatically within the camera lens and film simulation.


    Arion also lets you set any film-back size to match any real-world camera perfectly.

  • Film shift

    Film shift


    Film shift (also called shift-lens or tilt-lens) is mostly used in architecture to capture a building from a point of view that does not allow for perfectly parallel lines (like when you stand on the ground at the base of a tall building).

  • Barrel and pincushion lens distortion

    Barrel and pincushion lens distortion


    To add subtle lens distortion to your render, Arion features a two-way distortion setting.


    Using this parameter, you can easily create barrel an pin-cushion lens distortion right inside the physical camera settings.

  • Panoramic cameras

    Panoramic cameras


    Arion provies a full 360° camera type.


    Panoramic cameras can be used to create image-based lighting textures, for example.


    But they also are used to export Quicktime VR file straight from Arion without any QTVR authoring software required.

  • Orthogonal cameras

    Orthogonal cameras


    Arion comes with an orthogonal camera projection type to render perspective-less images, like this cute video game-like appartment render.

  • Automatic efficient 3D motion blur

    Automatic efficient 3D motion blur


    Motion blur is crucial when rendering footage for live-action integration or feature film animation.


    Despite post-production motion blur can be enough at times, true 3D motion blur is desired for better accuracy and quality.


    Since Arion is all about that, it brings you the finest motion blur, GPU-accelerated.

  • Physically-based participating media

    Physically-based participating media


    Arion support global participating media (fog) in an easy and straightforward way.


    Participating media simply uses the Sub-surface scattering property of a material. Create it, link it, you're done.


    Participating media can greatly improve the overall mood of your scene and is fully physically-correct.

  • Interactive tonemapping

    Interactive tonemapping


    Arion comes with a very classic linear workflow tone-mapping operator as well as with a custom, contrast enhanced RandomControl Camera operator for a greater realism without post-processing the render.

  • Real Camera Response operators

    Real Camera Response operators


    In addition to its own tonemapping operators, Arion comes with a selection of 47 real-world camera film tone-mapping response curves to mimic a wide variety of film quality and sensitivity.


    These response curves are taken mostly from old-fashioned film cameras to create the easy impression that the image is a photograph taken with a real camera.


    The great thing about the camera response curves is that just like Arion's default tone-mapping, they are post-process operators and are applied interactively without the need to re-render.

Technology



  • Hybrid acceleration (GPU+CPU)

    Hybrid acceleration (GPU+CPU)


    Arion is a hybrid-accelerated and physically-based production render engine. It inherits all our expertise in light simulation and makes it run on steroids, thanks to our very unique massively parallel GPU+CPU approach.


  • CPU SSE and SIMD support

    CPU SSE and SIMD support


    Arion Core is SEE and SIMD compatible to get the most out of every single FLOP available on your computer(s).


    SSE and SIMD are particularly efficient when dealing with a lot of bitmaps.

  • Spectral and unbiased rendering

    Spectral and unbiased rendering


    Arion Core is computing colors in the spectral space and converge the final image in an unbiased way, never introducing unwanted or illegitimate artefacts. With the appropriate render time, the noise will always disappear.


  • Automatic Full Global Illumination

    Automatic Full Global Illumination


    Despite Arion's ability to crop global illumination bounces, it can also compute a full solution without any energy lost in bounces cropping, in a fully automatic way.


    Arion makes full, GPU accelerated global illumination finally affordable for small and massive productions, including feature film.

  • Path tracing core

    Path tracing core


    Arion is based on a solid, fast and efficient path tracing core that renders beautiful images with very well balanced noise distribution.


    Path tracing is an ideal way of sampling as it produces an homogeneous noise that clears linearly. And quickly, thanks to Arion's hybrid core.

  • Metropolis Light Transport core

    Metropolis Light Transport core


    On top of its excellent path tracing core, Arion also provides a Metropolis Light Transport implementation for those before "impossible" cases for an unbiased renderer.


    With the help of this core, nothing is impossible to Arion, as shown in the image below.


    Underwater caustics were previously really difficult or even impossible to render with unbiased engines. Arion handles those cases with ease to produce astonishing images.

  • Render-time Sub-D surfaces

    Render-time Sub-D surfaces


    Memory management is crucial when rendering on the GPU(s). Based on that fact, RandomControl is deploying great efforts in implementing render-time features such as Sub-D surfaces.


    Arion's subdivision surfaces are in constant evolution for a better quality, a faster render-time and a better fit for massive productions.

  • Geometry instancing

    Geometry instancing


    Thanks to geometry instancing, rendering billions of objects in Arion is easy, efficient and very memory-friendly.


    Arion's instancing supports all the local transforms such as translation, rotation and scaling.


    Arion also support point clouds from particle systems to make the scene as lightweight as possible.

  • Images I/O

    Images I/O


    Arion support the most used image format either as input map or output file.


    The following formats are fully supported, as well as our in-house Arion G-Buffer format .agb:


    .jpg, .bmp, .png, .tga, .tif, .hdr, .exr, agb


  • Multi-channel OpenEXR HDR output

    Multi-channel OpenEXR HDR output


    Because perfect compositing abilities is key in a modern production pipeline, Arion provides you with every render channel that is possible to extract from an unbiased engine.


    About OpenEXR


    OpenEXR is a high dynamic-range (HDR) image file format developed by Industrial Light & Magic for use in computer imaging applications. OpenEXR is used by ILM on all motion pictures currently in production. The first movies to employ OpenEXR were Harry Potter and the Sorcerers Stone, Men in Black II, Gangs of New York, and Signs. Since then, OpenEXR has become ILM's main image file format.

Arion stand-alone



Arion stand-alone is a full-featured rendering editor running the RandomControl Arion Core technology.


Arion stand-alone supports .rcs files exported from any of our plug-ins, and also scenes exported in the universally available .obj format.


Arion stand-alone features a brand new nodal material and scene attributes editor, which presents the content of the scene in a very visual and natural way.

Arion Core


The Arion rendering core is at the heart of the Arion stand-alone and the Arion plug-ins.


The Arion Core is a beautifully crafted piece of technology, designed with performance and robustness in mind.


The Arion Core is the result of over a decade of uncompromised dedication to in-house Research and Development.

Interactive interface


Arion stand-alone allows the user to re-configure the scene attributes while the engine is doing its job. Each user action is followed by instant feedback in the frame-buffer.


Unlike most other interactive renderers, Arion's output is always final quality. There is no need to switch to a 'production' rendering mode.


The user can import the scene, edit the materials, the lighting, choose a camera angle, and then just sit and relax. Arion will be rendering the final frame already.


There are no tricks or shortcuts in Arion. What You See Is What You Get, all the way.

Command-line renderer


The Arion stand-alone package features a powerful command-line renderer with which it is possible to batch render tasks, or even do custom render farming.


This power tool is called RenderWarrior, and provides straight access to the Arion Core, but without the stand-alone's User Interface.

Plug-ins



The Arion plug-ins fully integrate the Arion Core in the modeler's native workflow and tools, and also render natively inside the 3D package.


With the Arion plug-ins there is no need to export and render in an external stand-alone application, like other products do.


With the Arion plug-ins one can benefit from Arion's quality and speed, without giving up on the comfort of a well-known platform environment.

Arion for
3ds Max



  • Fully integrated in 3ds Max

    Arion's power inside of 3ds Max


    Every Arion's tool like materials or cameras are implemented using native 3ds Max tools and design.


    With Arion for 3ds Max and unlike with some other products, you feel at home with the user's interface, minimizing the learning curve time.

  • Interactive renderer

    A fully interactive preview


    Arion for 3ds Max provides you with an interactive render window of your scene.


    This preview looks exactly like the final rendering to ensure that the production-quality render brings no surprises.

  • Native materials

    Full support for the Slate Editor


    Arion for 3ds Max materials are fully compatible with the Slate Editor, for a smoother experience.


    It's possible to connect nodes together, share a single bitmap accross several materials etc. It feels just like Max.

  • Full animation support

    Everything is animatable


    Arion for 3ds Max opens the doors of unbiased, physically-correct and GPU-accelerated rendering animation.


    Combining Arion's quality and speed with 3ds Max powerful animation tools enables an unlimited imagination with your animated work.

  • Particle Flow support

    Arion and Particle Flow


    Arion for 3ds Max supports 3ds Max native particle systems as well as Particle Flow.


    Particle Flow is a very powerful particle creation, animation and simulation system built-in 3ds Max that enables unlimited creativity in various type of effects.


    Arion for 3ds Max supports Particle Flow natively, in a very efficient way since all particles are treated as instances.


    Arion for 3ds Max also support full motion blur on Particle Flow systems.

  • Forest Pack Pro support

    Itoo's Forest Pack Pro


    Arion for 3ds Max supports Itoo Software's Forest Pack Pro instancing and scattering plug-in.


    With Forest Pack Pro it has never been easier to do massive scattering and instancing of any kind of object in 3ds Max


    Now with Arion for 3ds Max it's also possible to render gazillions of instances on the GPU to create rich and beautiful scenes.

  • Network rendering

    Backburner support


    Arion for 3ds Max is fully compatible with 3ds Max's network rendering manager.


    Each computer on the network will automatically render its own frame, making full use of the available computing power.

Arion for Rhinoceros



  • Fully integrated in Rhinoceros

    The power of Arion inside of Rhinoceros


    Every Arion's tool like materials or cameras are implemented using native Rhinoceros tools and design.


    With Arion for Rhinoceros and unlike with some other products, you feel at home with the user's interface, minimizing the learning curve time.

  • Interactive preview

    A fully interactive preview


    Arion for Rhinoceros provides you with an interactive render window of your scene.


    This preview looks exactly like the final rendering to ensure that the production-quality render brings no surprises.

  • Rhinoceros-integrated materials

    Native Rhinoceros-like materials


    Arion for Rhinoceros materials are fully integrated into Rhinoceros' interface, for a smoother experience.


    It uses standard Rhinoceros workflow and looks. It feels just like Rhinoceros.

  • Rhinoceros sky and environment support

    Rhinoceros sky and environment


    Arion for Rhinoceros fully supports Rhino's native sun and sky positioning out of the box, there is no additional parameters.


    It also supports Rhinoceros' native environment, and adds a special Arion Environment for special features like Image-Based Lighting importance sampling.

  • Arion physical camera

    Physically-correct camera effects


    Sometimes a perfectly clear and crisp image is wanted, but sometimes a more artistic feeling is required.


    Arion for Rhinoceros accurately simulates a real-world reflex camera and its effects, such as Depth of Field.


    Depth of Field can bring a visualization render to a whole new level of realism and beauty. And in Arion, it's automatic and does not add any second to the render-time.


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