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Isotropix unveils Angie

Tuesday, December 1st, 2020 | Posted by Jim Thacker

Isotropix has posted a preview video of Angie, the next-gen hybrid CPU/GPU rendering engine due to be rolled out next year in Clarisse iFX and Clarisse Builder, its layout, lighting and rendering software.

The company says that on dense production scenes, Angie is “up to 10x faster” than the current version of Clarisse when rendering on the CPU.

On top of that, when using current top-of-the-range workstation processors, rendering on both CPU and GPU is over 2x faster than rendering on the CPU alone.

Shown in action with a 450-billion-triangle 3D environment
Even when running purely on the CPU, Angie is significantly faster than Clarisse’s existing engine: Isotropix claims that its CPU-only mode is “up to 10x faster” tha the current version of Clarisse.

It is also possible to co-opt both CPU and GPU for rendering, further increasing render speed.

The demo video above shows a 450-billion-triangle test scene of the city of Florence created by Industrial Light & Magic artist Mickael Riciotti running on a system with a current top-of-the-range 64-core AMD Ryzen Threadripper 3990X CPU and Nvidia Quadro RTX 8000 GPU.

On the CPU alone, a final-quality render takes 231 seconds. On GPU alone, it takes 150 seconds. With both CPU and GPU, it takes 99 seconds: 2.3x faster than CPU alone, and 1.5x faster than GPU alone.

However, using both CPU and GPU increases power consumption significantly, so artists using the new hybrid mode will need to balance speed against cost.

For the test system in the demo video, power draw was over 100W higher when rendering on CPU and GPU than when rendering on CPU or GPU alone.

As well as final-quality renders, hybrid mode can be used for interactive renders: the demo shows the Florence scene being edited and the viewport display updating in near-real time.

Supports at least some key open standards
Isotropix’s news announcement doesn’t include any information on which compute API Angie is based on, so we aren’t sure whether it runs on all manufacturers’ GPUs, or on all operating systems.

However, according to the demo video, it is “completely denoiser friendly” – which, in the case of Clarisse, would mean that it is compatible with the software’s existing Nvidia-only denoising systems.

Updated: Isotropix tells us that Angie also uses Nvidia’s CUDA and OptiX APIs and requires a Nvidia card for GPU rendering, although “this may change in future”.

The render engine is based on Open Shading Language, is “fully compatible” with MaterialX, and compliant with R2C, Isotropix’s open-source library for integrating Clarisse with third-party renderers.

Pricing and system requirements
Angie will be publicly available in 2021. Isotropix tells us that it will ship after Clarisse 5.0 – currently available as a development snapshot under the codename ‘Olympus‘ – which is due in Q1 2021.

The render will form part of a free update to Clarisse iFX or Clarisse Builder users with active maintenance contracts, and will also be available in CNode.

The current stable release, Clarisse iFX 4.0 SP13, is available for Windows 7+, RHEL and CentOS 6+ Linux and Mac OS X 10.9+.

For studios, new nodelocked licences cost $2,299 each; floating licences costs $2,999. Indie artists can buy a single nodelocked licence of Clarisse iFX for $999. Floating render node licences cost $549.

You can find more information here, including rental and educational pricing.

Read Isotropix’s official announcement of Angie

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