When attempting to render a scene in 3ds Max with the Arnold render engine, the following error appears:

Error: "[Arnold]: [texturesys] ImageInput::create() called with no filename - Invalid image file "": ImageInput::create() called with no filename

The render may then stop after the preview pass instead of continuing.

In addition, bitmap slots in either the Compact Material Editor or Slate Material Editor may show as empty (black).


3ds Max cannot find the correct paths for bitmaps used in the scene. This results in empty bitmap nodes showing in the scene materials that are displayed in either the Compact Material Editor or the Slate Material Editor. 

Missing Bitmap Node - Compact Material Editor
 Material Editor window. Empty Bitmap node (Compact Material Editor shown)

Note: if the render stops after the Arnold Preview pass and does not continue, then the “Abort on Error” switch has been turned on (usually after an Arnold update) in the Rendering > Render Setup > Arnold > Diagnostics tab. This checkbox is turned On by default (Figure 2).

Arnold Abort on Error message
Render setup window. Abort on Error flag turned On in Arnold Diagnostics


To address this issue, do the following:

Set correct Bitmap paths

In most cases, if encountering missing bitmap errors, 3ds Max cannot find the bitmaps because of incorrect paths set in the scene file or the Material Library, or the previously-associated bitmaps have been moved to a different location.

To set new Map paths in 3ds Max, follow the instructions in this article: “Invalid Path(s). The following paths are not valid” when opening files in 3ds Max.

Update Arnold

Make sure Arnold is updated to the latest version by downloading and installing it from the Arnold renderer webpage.

Relink Bitmaps manually

If the above steps do not address the issue, then you may need to re-link and re-load the bitmap references manually. To do this, follow these steps:

Identify missing Bitmap references: Slate Material Editor

  1. Open the Slate Material Editor.
  2. Identify missing Bitmap references (The missing bitmaps should show as black nodes, with no specific bitmap filename shown, as in Figure 3.)
  3. Either delete the bitmap reference, or double-click on the empty Bitmap node to open it, then load a specific bitmap into the slot.
Slate Material Editor - Missing Bitmap Node
Slate Material Editor window. Empty Bitmap node showing in the Slate Material Editor.

Identify missing Bitmap references: Compact Material Editor

  1. Open the Compact Material Editor (Figure 4), then the Material/Map Browser (Figure 5).
  2. Search through the materials used in the scene for empty bitmap nodes (Figure 4).
  3. Replace or delete the bitmap references (Figure 5).
Compact Material Editor - Missing Bitmap Nodes
Missing Bitmap node shown in Compact Material Editor.
Empty Nodes in Browser
Empty Bitmap nodes shown in Compact Material Editor Browser.

See Also:

Source: Autodesk

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