Athera (Project Elara): Cloud Based Service to Manage Your Entire VFX Pipeline Through Mobile / Web Browser

Athera (Project Elara) from Foundry is a new age cloud technology to provide all-in-one solution to simplify your complex VFX pipeline on virtual studio.


athera elara vfx pipeline post production

Foundry has always been instrumental for developing cutting edge technologies and softwares for betterment of CGI and VFX pipeline. Foundry’s vast range of 3D and VFX softwares (Nuke, Nuke Studio, Modo, Mari, Katana, Heiro, Cara VR, Flix, Ocula, Colorway and Mischief) with their continuous updates are continuously pushing the envelope.

Coined as ‘studio in a box’, Elara is the latest development in genre of cloud based media technologies from the software house.

Please note that ‘Project Elara’ is re-branded as ‘Athera’ by Foundry.

What is Athera?

Athera is a cloud-based service to provide centralized mechanism to control complete online visual effects pipeline. As it is a cloud based online platform, Foundry Athera works through a web browser interface. It can be accessed via web browser through any computer device, even a mobile.

Athera migrates your physical setup of VFX pipeline into virtual setup of VFX pipeline. All your 3D and Visual Effects softwares, plug-ins, collaboration tools, physical storage space, online rendering management, various analytics – Athera stores it all. Registered user can control his/her online post production studio from anywhere in the world.

In simple terms, it gives ease of operating an entire VFX pipeline, running through a web browser. Athera’s integrated workflow of cloud technology runs all operations of virtual studio very smoothly. From existing cloud storage systems; it supports Google Drive, Google Cloud Storage, Dropbox and Amazon S3.

Don’t get confused by mixing it with only cloud based rendering service.

elara vfx pipeline

History of Athera (Project Elara):

Project Elara was initiated as a two year research project, partnering between Foundry and Industrial Light & Magic (ILM). Financially supported by UK government, it was titled as ‘Production Pipeline in the Cloud (PIC)’. Both the companies, Foundry and ILM, worked together with collaborative Research & Development and Elara was the outcome. As practical test purpose, it was used in the post production pipeline of live action short movie titled ‘Unremarkable’. Softwares used were Houdini and V-Ray.

As the deal, Foundry has commercial rights of Elara. The company will also provide open APIs to interested parties, so the cloud technology can be advanced further.

Foundry introduced Elara during NAB 2017. Check out the official complete video. Later on, Foundry changed the name from ‘Project Elara’ to ‘Athera’.

Benefits of Athera:

Key features of Athera are as follows.

  • No need to invest in high-end infrastructure like CPU, GPU, physical render farms and others. It sets you financially free on a very huge level.
  • You can control your entire post production pipeline through a mobile device / web browser.
  • Smartphone is not must. Even a cheap mobile device, having internet connectivity, can provide smooth remote access to control various 3D and Post Production softwares.
  • It is a boon for small players / studio owners as they don’t have to invest money upfront to buy resources.
  • Cross platform production softwares are supported.
  • It gives freedom to director /artist to focus more on creative aspects rather than worrying about huge financial matters.
  • It forms a virtual post production studio, to get connected decentralized artists to work on a single project at the same time.
  • Various permission levels can be easily created and modified for global teams.

Learn how to setup complete post production VFX pipeline for your virtual studio in cloud through official Foundry Elara webinar.

To know more about Athera and its latest development, check out the official website.

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