Isotropix Clarisse iFX and Clarisse BUiLDER are game changer 3D softwares.
The Virtual Assist thanks Elia Vermander (International sales, Isotropix) to make this exclusive interview happen. Check out detailed information as below.
Please give educational and production credentials of Isotropix founders – Sam Assadian and Sebastien Guichou.
Before founding Isotropix and creating Clarisse, Sam Assadian and Sebastien Guichou, have spent most of their careers in the Animation and VFX industry. They were directly involved in the design and development of several production pipelines in prestigious animation studios.
Working as a duo since 1996, they have gained an international reputation for their rare expertise in improving the digital image creation process. Beyond being graphics software engineers, they were themselves 3D artists on high end productions such as feature films, TV and AAA game cinematics. This has given them a unique vision on the Animation industry, experiencing the needs for innovation both as engineers and as artists, they understood perfectly well that the commercial tools available on the market then and for the most part still today, were not sufficient to meet the rising demands in scene complexity and fast turnaround times in a very competitive Visual Effects and Animation market.
So they created Clarisse.
What are the core vision and philosophy behind Isotropix offerings?
For artists, by artists.
Isotroprix Clarisse has been designed with the artist in mind. Older 3D DCC’s (Digital Content Creation) are unable to display any decent amount of geometry interactively, meaning that the artist has to spend a lot of time optimizing their scene, instead of doing what they love: creating images.
For bigger scenes, the artist even has to work blindly, using bounding boxes and proxies, not seeing the effect when they iterate and having to do test renders to get validation from the art director. Clarisse caused a revolution in the industry as right from the start, it was able to display billions of polygons, with full effects and real materials on, without a problem in the 3D viewport, offering the artist a true WYSIWYG (What You See Is What You Get) experience.
You could say the philosophy behind Clarisse is: to make the artist work more efficiently (which is good for the studio) and to make him enjoy creating images again, by offering an intuitive and hassle-free workflow (which is good for the artist).
Animation and VFX industry is already dominated by few software giants. How Isotropix will create its own niche?
The two movies who won the last Oscars (Academy Awards) for best VFX were rendered either entirely (First Man) or for a large part (Blade Runner 2049) with Clarisse. So you could say that the high-end, award winning movies are a niche for us.
In all seriousness, we do not really see ourselves as occupying a niche. Since its creation, Isotropix always does whatever it takes to constantly innovate. Indeed, unlike most existing commercial packages that have been developed over 20 years ago or created in pipelines of studios during production constraints, Clarisse has been designed from scratch, back in 2011, from a whole new perspective while being free from any constraints.
We truly embrace innovation. We create completely new workflows. We truly understand the needs and the pipeline constraints of our clients and more importantly we are customer driven. This is why, for example, about 70% of our new features in our releases are customer requests. This is also why we are always among the firsts if not the firsts to implement new technologies such as Alembic, PIXAR’s USD, NVIDIA Optix denoiser or more recently NVIDIA RTX GPU acceleration to offer our customers improved interactive feedback or real-time interaction whatever the complexity of their scenes:
For any experienced CG and Visual Effects artist, how will be the transition process from current softwares to Isotropix Clarisse?
We get generally 2 feedback from our new users: Clarisse is insanely fast and Clarisse is very easy to pick up. Indeed, generally it takes, professional artists, a couple days to pick-up our software and a week to be ready to work in actual production. We also offer over one hundred of free tutorials on our website http://learn.isotropix.com. Our community is also very active and friendly on our community forums as well as on our ‘unofficial’ discord channel. We also offer an up-to-date free personal learning edition of Clarisse iFX which is unlimited in time. Thanks to the Clarisse iFX PLE, users can nearly try out all features and even have watermark free renders to share their work with the community!
One thing is certain, once artists make the switch, it becomes very painful for them to go back to “traditional” packages when they have to. As a matter of fact, this is one of the reasons why quite frequently, we receive requests from users that want to know which studios are using Clarisse to apply there when they look for a new job.
Let us know in detail regarding what is Clarisse iFX and its production pipeline / workflow.
Clarisse iFX isn’t a standard 3D DCC as neither you can model nor rig or animate characters. In Clarisse iFX, you import your assets (OBJ, ABC, USD and VDB), textures, and create your layout, set-dressing, do your lookdev and lighting all the way up to the final rendering, without the need of switching to another software. Clarisse iFX integrates all industry standard file formats so it integrates very easily in any production pipelines. Furthermore, you can extend it by great 3rd party plugins such as SpeedTree to generate trees directly in Clarisse iFX or Yeti to generate fur and hair.
One of the most important features of Isotroprix Clarisse iFX is that it offers at the heart of its workflow the best referencing system available in the market. Clarisse iFX is really an amazing tool for team work as assets are being updated automatically. Multiple departments and artists can always work in parallel if they chose to. This is really fantastic! Here is a video made a few years ago which paints a pretty good picture of what’s Clarisse iFX:
Let us know in detail regarding what is Clarisse BUiLDER and its production pipeline / workflow.
Clarisse BUiLDER offers all the features and advantages of Clarisse iFX but brings them to a next level. In fact, Clarisse BUiLDER is a node-based super set of Clarisse iFX that has been specifically designed to offer streamline sequence lighting from nodal scene assembly up to nodal compositing. It brings the revolution the lighting artists were looking for since they are be able to control all the shots of on entire sequence at a macro-level, while being able to make interactive per shot micro-edits such as set-dressing, lookdev, lighting… when necessary!
What are new features of Clarisse 4.0?
Clarisse 4.0 introduces a whole host of new tools and workflows to make set dressing a breeze for Clarisse artists. The addition of a transform manipulator streamlines workflow, a new volume display density modifier offers fast and accurate feedback on volumes, a new surface constraint makes attaching items on animated deformed geometry quick and easy, while new playblast functionality gives artists quick photorealistic animated previews with a single click.
Look development gets even more powerful in Clarisse 4.0. With multiple scattering, rendering results on rough materials get way more photorealistic, without a hit on performance. In addition new mip mapping controls, volume sampling, and material improvements, make lookdev in Clarisse even more accurate, efficient and fast.
Lighting improvements in Clarisse 4.0 ensure artists are never in the dark. The lighting and rendering pipeline has been rewritten from the ground up to: improve quality, make lights visible to primary rays and optimize render times. There’s also native support for industry standard IES light profiles to ensure photoreal results when matching real lights, and the addition of portal lights and improved spot lights to reduce noise and increase quality.
Rendering in Clarisse 4.0 has never been faster or more powerful! All-new adaptive anti-aliasing and new render diagnostic tools deliver high quality renders faster than ever before. The improved OCIO integration lets artists work one step closer to final grading. The supercharged AOV and holdout workflow streamlines day-to-day work even further, and the new render recovery feature gives the freedom of interrupting and resuming renders over the farm without wasting any precious rendering resources!
Clarisse 4.0 delivers increased power and control to the artist thanks to native integration of Pixar’s USD, that lets artists load assets up to 50 times faster than with Alembic, and a game changing new expressions engine, based on the powerful language SeExpr from Walt Disney Animation Studios. In addition major enhancements to scene management improve user experience and streamline workflows, while the new support for Alembic layering ensures artists maximum flexibility.
What is CNode?
CNode is the headless version of Clarisse, without the 3D DCC interface. It is mainly used to render on studio’s render farms and execute offline scripts.
In which movies and series, Clarisse software is used so far?
Clarisse is used In about 60% of the Hollywood blockbusters. Some of the biggest titles are: The Star-Wars franchise, Blade Runner 2049, First Man, Alita Battle Angel, Pacific Rim Uprising, Wonder Woman, most of the Marvel movies. In TV series, we have been very pleased to have been used on the final season of Game of Thrones, but also Black Mirror, Black Sails, Doctor Who, Altered Carbon and many others.
Less known but just as dear to us: Clarisse is being used by a lot of smaller studios to make the VFX in indie movies as well as advertising.
How has been the response from various studios and individuals who used Clarisse for their production / personal work?
Many studios who adopted Clarisse have become cherished partners of Isotropix, who help us to continually improve Clarisse and battle test the early versions. Some smaller studios have been able to grow expansively, thanks to adopting Clarisse iFX and being able to handle bigger, more complex projects, with the same amount of people.
Can Clarisse software be used for AR and VR solutions?
For AR, we haven’t seen use cases yet, but for offline VR, it has been used many times, for example for this ride by Tippett studios, for the Chinese province of Anhui: http://kentmatheson.com/mp-anhui.html
What can we expect in upcoming version of Clarisse software?
It’s a secret! We actually never publicly disclose information on what we are working on, but we can promise you it will be pretty good and exciting!
We thanks Sam Assadian and Sebastien Guichou for giving such strong workflow and robust production pipeline to our Animation and Visual Effects industry. We are waiting for much more ground breaking features of Clarisse iFX and Clarisse BUiLDER.