Cycles vs Arnold



If I understand correctly, Autodesk is moving from mental ray to Arnold. Blender also got this amazing renderer Cycles. Anyone got any experience or take on Arnold vs Cycles rendering?

Throw your take!


I have used both Arnold and cycles and personally I like Arnold better in most cases. Arnold is usually faster, can be tuned easier, and is simply all around easier to use.
blender is getting its Eevee realtime renderer very soon and I have heard amazing things about it and seen some pretty impressive results from the testing.


Hi Jaycie,

I’ve used Arnold once and Cycles many times, and they are both great renderers. I found Arnold to be more difficult to use, but that was probably due to lack of experience with it. I prefer Cycles, as I have been using Blender for years now, and I think that it can produce results on par with other renderers. An added bonus is the ability to render NPR with Cycles (not sure if Arnold can do that). One big question to ask is what are you using it for? I work in CAD and visualization, the data-sets I need to render can contain many millions of polygons/tens of thousands of objects, for this reason I am unable to use Blender as I would like to. Blender has an object limit of 2/3 thousand objects I think (don’t quote me on that), so once the scene becomes too large, it becomes impossible to edit and render. I still use Blender as often as I can, and when I need to model something fast, that’s my go-to, just figure out your needs.

Also, remember, Blender is free. Download it. Try it. Leave it installed and get used to it. It has grown tremendously in the last few years and will continue to grow and improve.

As soon as I can handle data-sets like 3DS MAX does, my work life will be perfect!

Some necessary websites:


I don’t know very well to Arnold but I say Cycles can achieve what Arnold does, the only difference is price and quality. I often compare Cycles to Indigo because i render very similar of looking and they are fast as high quality. Maybe Arnold from setup is quite easy so Cycles is more node based material to render like PBR thus quite difficult for beginner. Now Cycles has denoiser and it pretty is fast and in futur the team can make even better in terms of speed :). Cycles can compute for complex scene without problems, it can make VFX too, separate pass per material and can tweak here and there very easy. There are other 3rd party as Yafaray or Luxrender or better Appleseed can make beautiful 3d images… After that there is all depend from you want to try these renderers and make you you think what is better from them.

I am more confortable to Cycles in my taste cause it can make high degree of realism and alot of freedom to tweak to render it so i can say Cycles can compete to high 3d renderer :slight_smile:


Blender can handle a lot more complex(don’t duplicate but instanced instead) scene without problem if you have alot of RAM and speed computer so yeah it works pretty well that is i tested it


Arnold is the most expensive render engine and is subscription-based
Cycles is free

Arnold is among the best at achieving realism quickly as it’s the among the easiest to work with and preview, but one of the slower ones for final renders. It does not do cartoons or NPR art styles well, yet

Cycles is more well-rounded


Many thanks for the input guys! I should have been more clear with my question with what I want it for, sorry. I’m not looking for very realistic style but rather cartoonish like Disney/Dreamworks movies or even in game cinematic like Kingdom Hearts 3. Any ideas my friends?

More help are appreciated! :smiley:


if you dont have a renderfarm go with cycles…


nice work Jaycie !