Midway: How Pixomondo Brought the Pacific Theater to Life


But why Arnold?

Evgeny Berbasov: Integration is a major benefit to Arnold. It’s majorly supported by products like Maya and Houdini, so it can act as a bridge between our teams. If one team creates a little dove in Houdini, it would look exactly the same in Maya. Arnold can also export all of the assets in the stand-in, since it’s part of Maya; we just load it up in Maya and render it really quickly. And finally, since Arnold comes with Maya for free, it’s easy to find students or people just starting out who are familiar with the software. Arnold is also relatively fast, so we were able to render tons of geo and build metrics in one scene. Some scenes were upwards of 200 million polygons, so for Arnold to be able to transfer such large amounts of data was huge. Our effects data at the end of the day was about 100 terabytes.

Phil Jones: It was more than that. We were getting yelled at constantly because all of our caches were taking up – I think, in the end, it was like 150 terabytes of data. Just for effects cache.

Evgeny Berbasov: It’s a lot to manage. I was actually surprised that Arnold and Maya could handle it. It made us more agile.

Phil Jones: As for the transition itself, it was a learning experience. Our veteran lighters tend to pick up new renderers very quickly, then our seniors are passing on the knowledge they are learning or discovering themselves. Not everybody has experience with every single renderer, but when you have enough experience in even just one renderer, it’s pretty easy to move to another. There are exceptions, though. The shading networks are slightly different in V-Ray than in Arnold, so there was a lot of learning to do the same thing in two different places.

Evgeny Berbasov: Arnold is more for artistic driven people. You are actually making the picture, and the scene is actually calculating the final result. There aren’t that many knobs you have to turn to get the result you want. Arnold is very approachable in that way.