Before we get to the juicy bits, just a quick update on that Quicktime thing. Adobe have now issued some semi-official statement via their blogs. Of course it’s just the usual evasive jibber-jabber where they don’t commit to anything, but at least it should ease the minds of some people. Now for the good parts.
Yepp, you probably already know it, Autodesk buys Solid Angle and their Arnold renderer. People are discussing their heads off on forums, there’s the official press statements from both sides (here and here) and of course we get all sorts of comments, opinions and additional bits of information like this FXGuide article. The usual “bloody murder” screaming is of course a big part of it (nobody really likes Autodesk), but that aside, things aren’t that bad.
As a business decision it makes perfect sense – in a time where Mental Ray has seriously fallen behind (mostly due to that complicated thing with changes in ownership and NVidia having other priorities) you have to go looking for alternatives. The same could in a way be said for Renderman, or else Arnold wouldn’t be in this position. That is to say a lot of groundwork is already done and you have a pretty big user base as well, so why not take the logic this one step further and integrate it at the source?
Elsewhere there is of course that issue of competing renderers and Arnold support for alternate 3D programs and likewise lots of doomsday predictions. I find neither of any real value. Autodesk is not stupid and won’t pull the plug on the Cinema 4D right away as long as there’s some money to make. Of course in the long run, as the code is more tightly interwoven with Maya and MAX and the divergences to other programs’ APIs get to great, that time may come when they withdraw development because it’s too much trouble, but we’re not there yet by a long shot. You just need to look at Octane. It’s still around in many forms, is it not, despite also being owned by the same company?
Similarly, people won’t stop using vRay, Maxwell, Corona or whatever. Learning a renderer and getting the results you want out of it is a complex thing and why would people throw away years of experience and knowledge just because they now get a chance to use a different renderer? As a matter of fact I’m reasonably sure even the old default scanline renderers in some programs are used reasonably often and with talented people turning the knobs can produce acceptable results. If nothing else, this little shock may be a wake-up call for some third-party developers and at the same time allow them to put their focus on what they deem worthwile without carrying excess baggage and implementing features that are already covered elsewhere…