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Solaris+Karma v.s Solaris+Arnold


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HI !

We have just started small new studio and we are at the point of choosing proper pipeline for us. we are free from any legacy and are able to build our pipeline from scratch

we plan to switch to usd, but not sure what to use - Karma or Arnold. we have experience using both arnold and redshift in the past ....but think about using karma as the best integrated rendering solution (seems like)

sidefx says that it is production ready.

but does it make sense ? wouldn't we regret ? 

so maybe someone has already walked this way and could share some opinions ?

what is better option to choose ? 

Thanx in advance fir any info regarding this matter 


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  • 2 weeks later...

If USD brings some direct benefit is precisely the rendering abstraction layer that a Hydra delegate provides, I would go with Karma precisely because of the integration and as MaterialX matures a bit more, then it wont matter at all. In our case we are using Redshift but as a temporary solution waiting for MaterialX to be ready and then we will go to Karma.


I hope it helps

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We've been running a bunch of pipeline tests recently and it really depends on the type of work you do and what your needs are. I would say that the first question to answer is whether USD and solaris benefits your pipeline. And understanding that these are two different questions.

You can use solaris without adopting a full USD pipeline. Keep using your old workflow and just import it into solaris and let solaris hand the USD under the hood so to speak. If you are committing to a full USD workflow it takes a fair amount of care and work to maintain and support. Making a USD pipeline that is friendly to artists (and doesn't allow artists to break it) requires a lot of custom tool building and pipeline TD time. You really have to be sure it will benefit that kind of investment.

Solaris, too, has some great features, especially for sequence lighting and working on multiple shots at once time. But it does bring an added step to rendering that takes time and that most artists are not currently very familiar with. Are the benefits worth it for you? For commercial work with quick turn arounds, I don't always like the additional steps of working with solaris. For longform work or commercial work with more time where you are working on multiple shots with similar lighting setups, it can sometimes be worth it. And if you do lots of different types of work, it is generally (at the moment) easier to maintain a non-USD pipeline than a USD one.

Then, if you do decide to use solaris in your pipeline, I'll say I'm very excited about where Karma is going. Its speed is on par with Redshift. Karma XPU is behind CPU, but promises a great way to move between quick GPU rendering and farm-based final rendering. And I find it a more pleasing looking renderer than Redshift. Plus you get the benefit of direct Houdini integration with volume shaders, ocean spectra, heighfields, etc. That said, Karma is not 100% production ready. It's close, but make sure to take a look at which features are currently missing before you commit.


Edited by madebygeoff
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  • 4 weeks later...

With all the bugs, crashes, broken features, and glacial dev cycle, why would anyone choose Arnold? 

Have you never rendered deforming objects with instantaneous shutter, and seen that it distorts the render? Well it's been 4yrs and that bug is still there. Lights that cast shadows from other lights and which can never be turned off, lights that allow you to add a texture but won't use it, super-slow or noisy renders, nasty fireflies etc. etc.

Edited by TobyGaines
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