Clarisse 3.6

Greg Barta takes the lat­est re­lease from Isotropix for a spin

3D Artist - - CONTENTS -

Cdig­i­tal­larisse can eas­ily be de­scribed as the

coun­ter­part of a shoot­ing stage in a model work­shop. When ev­ery as­set is ready, you can lay them down there and do the light­ing, com­po­si­tion and all the look de­vel­op­ment work. Clarisse is fa­mous for its quasi-un­lim­ited geom­e­try han­dling ca­pa­bil­i­ties – and that’s why some of the big­gest VFX stu­dios use it. You can put as many mod­els on the stage as you want, they can be static or an­i­mated ge­ome­tries, re­sults of dy­namic sim­u­la­tions, made in other soft­ware. You can even spread them with the new paint tool, which was in­tro­duced in ver­sion 3.5.

How­ever, there are lim­its. For ex­am­ple, the ren­der­ing of the vol­u­met­ric ef­fects is sim­i­larly slow as other CPU based ren­der­ers. There are work­arounds to speed up but noth­ing can beat the fog ma­chine in the work­shop – not just in terms of ren­der­ing speed, but also the re­al­ism of light scat­ter­ing. This is just one rea­son why film­mak­ers still use prac­ti­cal ef­fects, or at least rely on them. Good ex­am­ples are the trash mesa and city scenes in Blade Run­ner 2049 or most of the ef­fects scenes in Dunkirk – how­ever, VFX artists used Clarisse in both films.

and with a new re­lease comes new fea­tures. as usual with up­dates to Clarisse, the new shadow catcher shader has ad­di­tional func­tion­al­ity be­yond the orig­i­nal pur­pose. it can now not only re­ceive shad­ows on the back­ground im­age, but also catch the in­di­rect il­lu­mi­na­tion from the other ob­jects, so this is the cor­rect phys­i­cally based ap­proach.

We can’t find the new out­line shader in the ma­te­ri­als list be­cause it is a sub­pixel fil­ter. Thus we can use any ma­te­rial and light­ing setup, then use this fil­ter to con­vert our phys­i­cally based ren­der­ings to the realm of car­toon-look­ing im­ages. With this fea­ture, an­ime stu­dios are now able to have the same level of geom­e­try com­plex­ity as we’ve seen in just as ad­vanced VFX shots be­fore.

shading vari­ables were ac­ces­si­ble for spe­cial users of Clarisse, like Dneg, but now ev­ery user can have the sig­nif­i­cant ad­van­tage of vari­able based shading dif­fer­ences. in­stead of hav­ing dif­fer­ent node net­works for each vari­ant of a ma­te­rial, we can now utilise vari­ables in al­most ev­ery in­put of the shading nodes and use just one ma­te­rial net­work, then at­tach these vari­able names with dif­fer­ent val­ues to the ge­ome­tries, shading groups or rules of a shading layer to get dif­fer­ent ma­te­rial ef­fects for each.

The new alem­bic bun­dles are for smoother work­flow be­cause in con­trast with the orig­i­nal im­port/ref­er­ence alem­bic func­tions, it im­ports an alem­bic file as a sin­gle Clarisse ob­ject, sim­i­lar to OBJ im­port, but with all the ex­tra alem­bic fea­tures like at­tached ob­ject prop­er­ties. it’s like a black box – it doesn’t flood the in­ter­nal alem­bic hi­er­ar­chy into Clarisse.

The free Ple ver­sion of Clarisse now has the abil­ity to save 2,500 im­ages in a day with­out wa­ter­marks, which can be a great op­por­tu­nity for artists who want to ex­press them­selves with Hol­ly­wood’s vis­ual por­tal gun.

The founders of isotropix made Clarisse to over­come the soft­ware-re­lated frus­tra­tions of VFX artists. Well, they pushed the tech­ni­cal bound­aries of VFX work be­yond the hori­zon, lit­er­ally, so we can create in­ter­ac­tive, highly de­tailed 3D land­scapes with­out com­pro­mise.

How­ever, in some cases there are fre­quent crashes with Clarisse, too, as with other VFX soft­ware. The lucky thing is that the de­vel­op­ers en­cour­age your work and Clarisse au­to­mat­i­cally saves a backup of the project ev­ery 30 sec­onds, which is a huge ad­van­tage.

VFX pro­fes­sion­als may learn that the only real anti-frus­tra­tion thing is to go away from the com­puter fre­quently and have breaks, even if it is a dead­line pe­riod. a few min­utes away – es­pe­cially if you have the op­por­tu­nity to get some fresh air and catch some sun­shine – can give you some ex­tra en­ergy and fruit­ful ideas. This can’t be com­pen­sated with any sort of soft­ware voodoo magic, even if Clarisse does achieve that.

Greg Barta

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