Learn Arnold - Fundamentals of Shading and Lighting
4.3 (382 ratings)
Course Ratings are calculated from individual students’ ratings and a variety of other signals, like age of rating and reliability, to ensure that they reflect course quality fairly and accurately.
4,208 students enrolled

Learn Arnold - Fundamentals of Shading and Lighting

Become an expert in Shading, Lighting and Rendering with Arnold for Maya, Katana, Cinema4d, Houdini and other 3D render
4.3 (382 ratings)
Course Ratings are calculated from individual students’ ratings and a variety of other signals, like age of rating and reliability, to ensure that they reflect course quality fairly and accurately.
4,208 students enrolled
Created by Arvid Schneider
Last updated 6/2019
English [Auto-generated]
Current price: $139.99 Original price: $199.99 Discount: 30% off
5 hours left at this price!
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This course includes
  • 6.5 hours on-demand video
  • 2 downloadable resources
  • Full lifetime access
  • Access on mobile and TV
  • Assignments
  • Certificate of Completion
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What you'll learn
  • Fully understand the principles of shading and lighting and how to apply it to your own work.
  • Have better chances to land a job in the VFX industry by becoming more versatile and efficient.
  • Be able to create photo-realistic renderings which stand out in the community.
  • Prior knowledge about shading and lighting is recommended. Even though the course is targeted for a beginner audience.
  • This course will feature the renderer from Solid Angle - Arnold.
  • To follow along any software DCC (e.g. Maya, Katana, Cinema4D, Houdini) with Arnold renderer installed is needed.

Arvid Schneider is an established artist, who has been working in the professional VFX industry for more than 10 years. He has worked on big blockbusters like Ready Player One, Jurassic World, Transformers and more.

With his knowledge and expertise Arvid has prepared a detailed beginner and intermediate course which helps you to skip the line and become an experienced lighting and shading TD in today's competitive industry.

Learn the fundamentals of Arnold

  • Apply the knowledge to any other software package like 3DsMax, Maya, Cinema4D, Katana using Arnold.

  • Understand the most important shading nodes, like Curvature, Noise, Occlusion, Surface and a lot more.

  • Be able to use best practices in terms of stylized photographic lighting.

  • Create physically correct shaders, which look appealing and render efficiently.

  • Setup complex shading networks with advanced light rigs.

What this course is NOT

  • Not teaching how to work within Autodesk Maya.

  • Not about modelling, texturing or animation.

  • Not providing source files.

Who this course is for:
  • Students, industry beginners or mid level artists who are willing to go the extra mile and stand out.
  • Students who are always looking for a new challenge and want to improve their skill set to become more versatile in the industry.
  • Students who want to learn from an industry expert with more than 10 years of professional VFX experience.
Course content
Expand all 38 lectures 06:42:02
+ Introduction
2 lectures 05:02

A complete overview of what this course will cover, how the sections and lectures are structured, and how each lectures helps progress to the next one.

Preview 01:21

Congratulations again on taking this course. I'm sure you will benefit from it an become a better artist.

Just a quick tip about reviewing this course.

Sometimes, Udemy asks for a review and rating for the course very early on.

It's difficult to know about the course by just watching a couple of videos. Isn't it?

Please take your time to go through the course and once you get an idea, then please leave your honest review and rating.

Wish you all the best.

Can't wait for your renders!

Preview 03:41
+ Introduction to shaders
10 lectures 01:22:35

A brief introduction on what shaders will be covered, and how each lecture is tied to the next one.


The Image node is a color shader which performs texture mapping using a specified image file.


The Color Correct node allows you to adjust the gamma, hue, saturation, contrast, and exposure of an image


Remap input from the [input min, input max] range to the [ouput min, output max] range linearly.


This shader will sample around the shading point within a given radius to output the curvature.


Ambient occlusion is an approximation of global illumination that emulates the complex interactions between the diffuse inter-reflections of objects

Preview 07:09

A noise pattern generator with various different options which can be used as an input to several other shader nodes to produce various effects.

Noise and CellNoise

This simple to use shader is useful for creating car paint materials. It supports three layers: Base layer, Specular and clear Coat.


Standard Hair is a physically based shader to render hair and fur, based on the d'Eon model for specular and Zinke model for diffuse.


The Standard Surface shader is a physically-based shader capable of producing many types of materials.


Some simple questions about the outlined shaders

3 questions
+ Introduction to lights
5 lectures 31:00

Brief introduction on what this section will cover, and how lights will affect the final image.


Simulates light from an area source (a quadrilateral, specified by four vertices

Quad light

Simulates light from a hemisphere or dome above the scene, representing the sky. 

Skydome light

Photometric lights use data measured from real-world lights, often directly from bulb and enclosure manufacturers themselves. 

Photometric light

Light filters are extensions for lights to add interesting shading effects to your renders.

Light filters

You know your lights? 

2 questions
+ Materials
7 lectures 01:52:16

This section will focus on creating the most common materials which you will find all around you. After this section you will be able to create convincing and realistic procedural shaders.


One of the most common materials we are facing today, Plastic aka. Pmma. This lecture will focus on creating simple up to advanced plastic materials, which have scattering and a clear coat.

After this lecture you be able to generate most of the common plastic materials by adapting the techniques outlined in this course.


Something we wear every day, Cloth. This shader will help understand sheen and specular contribution to create convincing cloth shaders.

You will be able to create basic cloth shaders with normal maps, you can make dresses shine in colorful satin materials and you can apply these workflows on any other kind of cloth material.


Conductors? Semi-Conductors? This lecture will help you understand how to create realistic metals. After this course you will be able to create basic metals and if needed advanced broken up metals for more convincing shaders.


Glass is not always easy to handle, especially not in CG. After this lecture you will be able to render glass shaders with ease.


Cars - Something we see every day. Paint, especially metallic paint can be very complex. After completing this lecture you will fully acknowledge this shader and will mass produce CG cars.

Metallic Car Paint

Humans, Aliens or something completely different. This complex material is very intricate and complex to simulate. This lecture will help you understand the fundamentals of skin shading.


Testing you knowledge on shaders

Shader talk
2 questions
+ Light setups
4 lectures 49:13

This section is all about lights, and how to create great light rigs for your renders. You will learn about most common setups like 3 point lighting, cookie lighting and other ways of created the look you strive for. After this section you can easily create good looking renders which stand out in the community.


An introduction to the workflows of studio lighting. You will learn the techniques of lights, backdrops, bounce light and other important factors to create realistic setups. This lecture will help you understand the ways of studio lighting and the benefits of doing it digitally.


The most common used lighting technique for studio setups. You will learn how to create a typical 3 point setup and how this can help you make your renders more interesting.

3 Point

Before all the fancy VFX studios, people had to create convincing lighting on the film sets and really play with lights to make a beautiful picture. This lecture will show you the basics of film noir lighting which are still used today in digital lighting. After this lecture you will understand how to apply these techniques to your renders and make them shine.

Film Noir techniques
+ Shading and Lighting
3 lectures 01:13:40

This section is bringing everything together, materials, complex networks, light rigs, bounce cards. All the important aspects of shading and lighting are outlined and detailed in this section. After completing the section you will be able to create convincing shaders and material networks. Also you will be able to studio light vehicles and other assets after finishing this section.


After learning the fundamentals of the common shaders, you will dive into learning complex materials. Several layers of shaders blended together to give you exactly what you want. After completing this lecture you will be able to create photoreal and detailed shaders with ease. This lecture will focus on vehicle shading, and how to make a photorealistic car paint shader.

Complex materials

With the knowledge of the previous lectures you will now be taught how to light a complete set. With several techniques like light filters, kelvin values and more you will become a true lighter in the competitive VFX industry.

Light rig
+ Rendering
4 lectures 31:52

This section will briefly touch up on setting up your scene for final renders. You will be able to output correct depth of field, output the correct AOVs for compositing and you will be able to render noise free images.


Setting up the camera should be straight forward, setting up depth of field not so much. After this lecture you will be able to set up DOF to render those beautiful bokeh.


Sounds complex, but is actually a very simple process which will go a long way. AOVs are components of the final render which can be used to color correct the image in compositing. This lecture will teach you how to setup the right AOVs for compositing to easily be able to control the image after render times.

Arbitrary Output Variables (AOVs)

Without optimizing the render settings, the farm, our your computer will be busy a long time. This lecture will teach you how spot bad/good noise and submit a final render the most efficient way possible.

+ Bonus Lectures
3 lectures 16:24

Extra lessons which don't belong the the curriculum.


The showreel, your business card! In the VFX industry it is very important to have a polished, stand-out reel. You will learn essential tips and tricks to create good showreels which will land you a job in the right department.


This lecture will help you prepare to land a job in the industry. You will get essential tips and tricks to help you get a foot in the industry.

Landing your first job
Hello Students! First of all I want to thank all of you for enrolling in this course - its so great to see this kind of involvement. The assignment. What I want you to do is setup a procedural shader on a very basic sphere, and try to achieve a convincing shader.
Procedural Shading
1 question