Arnold 5 Handover

Arnold 5's new standard library replaces most of the functionality of alShaders. As such alShaders (at least in its current form) will not be updated for Arnold 5. However, in order to make upgrading existing networks to the new standard easier, there is a "transition" version available. The pattern and utility nodes should function the same as in Arnold 4, but the surface shaders (alSurface and alHair) are empty parameter shells and will render flat red. You can download the shaders from bitbucket at the links below:


The latest version, 1.0.0rc19, can be downloaded for your target platform (64-bit only) using the links below. Choose the latest version that your DCC plugin supports. If you are unsure, please check your plugin's release notes.

Windows 7+


OS X 10.8+



The installation method depends on which plugin you are using. Choose one of the options below for instructions.


Learn how to use and get the most out of the shaders by following the tutorials and reading the reference documentation.


Step-by-step guides to using the shaders.


Detailed, visual parameter documentation.

Course Notes

Notes from the Siggraph 2014 Course "Phsyically Based Shader Design in Arnold" about the design and implementation of alShaders.


Found a bug or want a feature added? Report it to the mailing list, or better yet, fork the repo and submit a pull request!

Mailing List

Mail the alshaders list.

BitBucket Repository

Head to the BitBucket repository to fork or clone the source code.

alShaders has always been, and will always remain, free and open-source. Since starting this project in 2012, developing, maintaining and supporting it has taken up a considerable chunk of my free time. To be honest, I would probably have spent that time at the pub anyway, so if you feel compelled to express your gratitude please feel free to do so through the internationally recognised medium of beer by using the Donate button below. All proceeds will go towards getting me drunk.


You can either install the shaders directly into your HtoA deployment, or create a custom installation and point HtoA to it with an environment variable. The first option is slightly easier, while the second option is more flexible as it allows you to share one installation across a network, or install multiple versions and choose between them by re-pointing the environment variable

Installing into the HtoA deployment

Creating a custom install location


You can either install the shaders directly alongside MtoA's own, or create a custom installation and point MtoA to it with environment variables. The first option is simpler, but the second option is more flexible and allows you to have multiple versions of the shader library installed side-by-side. For Maya 2016, you will need to use the custom install method to install the new-style XML templates in order for the Hypershade property editor to work correctly.

Installing into the MtoA deployment

Creating a custom install location


C4DtoA currently only allows installing directly into the C4DtoA plugin installation:


The easiest way to install for SItoA is straight into the SItoA distribution. First, copy the contents of the bin folder to:

Then copy the contents of the spdl folder to:

Before you try to use the shaders, generate presets (in the Plug-in Tree, right-click the spdl and click Regenerate Presets). You may need to refresh the preset manager to see the shaders in the render tree.


alShaders comes with Nuke gizmos for using the Cryptomatte AOVs.


KtoA requires setting up a separate installation and pointing to it with an environment variable.