When rendering scenes with Arnold in Maya, what are the best strategies to reduce render times?


Causes for slow render times include (but are not limited to) the following:

  • Unsupported Processor.
  • Unsupported Graphics card (GPU).
  • Outdated or unsupported Graphics card drivers.
  • Render sampling higher than necessary.
  • Outdated Arnold Plug-in.
  • Updates missing from Maya.
  • Large scene files.


To resolve the causes listed above, use the following strategies:

Implement a supported processor for Arnold

Arnold rendering system requirements state that the processor (CPU) in use must support SSE4.1 instruction set. 

To determine if the processor meets this requirement, find the name of the CPU and search for it on the manufacturer website.

If a supported processor cannot be implemented, use a different renderer in Maya: Select a renderer.

Update graphics card

Find the name of the graphics card, and confirm that the card is on the Autodesk Maya Certified Hardware list

Once confirmed, ensure that the most current drivers are installed:

  • Nvidia Driver Finder
  • AMD Driver Downloads
  • Intel Driver Downloads

Note: Mac automatically updates drivers with OS updates.

Reduce render sampling

In the render settings, under the Arnold tab reduce the number of sampling set to the applicable fields. 

Install latest Arnold updates

Updates are published for Arnold more frequently than Maya.

Install the latest Maya updates

Maya updates are not included in the initial download of Maya, regardless of when it is installed. Updates are a separate installation process.

Use Arnold Stand-ins to reduce scene size

Whenever possible, use Arnold stand-ins to minimize overall size of the scene file.


Refer to some related articles:
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Maya crashes when opening the file browser

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