Thursday, March 8th, 2012 Posted by Jim Thacker

The Foundry ships Hiero

The Foundry has released Hiero, its new workflow tool for visual effects.

If that sounds a vague description of the product, it’s because Hiero (pronounced ‘Hero’) isn’t easy to pigeonhole. In the news release below, The Foundry describes it as a “lightweight shot manager” designed to work seamlessly with Nuke, and stresses that it isn’t a compositor, finishing, grading or editing system.

In practice, Hiero imports and plays back any media that Nuke can, conforms timelines imported from editing software in the form of XML or EDLs, roundtrips shots to Nuke, and generally automates the processes of maintaining standard directory structures and managing raw assets, metadata and different versions of shots.

The Foundry’s aim is to eliminate tasks that are time-consuming and error-prone when carried out manually; and which large studios often automate through complex proprietary Python scripting.

Bring on the asterisks
But if Hiero isn’t easy to pigeonhole, it’s a tool studios seem to sense the need for intuitively. Not many news releases include user quotes that say that the product in question is “****** brilliant”, but this is one of them.

The Foundry is currently running a worldwide series of user events to introduce Hiero to the VFX community. CG Channel went along to the London shindig early this week, so at some point in the next few days, we’ll try to bring you some more collected thoughts from the night.

Hiero is available now for 64-bit Linux or Mac OS X, price $5,000. A Windows version is expected shortly.

Leading visual effects software developer The Foundry has today launched HIERO, a brand new innovation in VFX software. Established in 1996, The Foundry is a world-leading innovator of production-proven, efficient visual effects software solutions that empower creative artists. The company’s award-winning product range has a well-established client base and has facilitated ambitious VFX on some of the most memorable Hollywood blockbusters, as well as numerous television and commercial productions.

Collaborative working on VFX projects, especially with a quick turnaround, can be painful. HIERO has been built from the ground up to address these challenges and create a smooth workflow out of the box to improve efficiency and increase shot throughput volume.

The brand new software is a lightweight shot manager for VFX. HIERO 1.0 is NOT a compositor or a system for finishing, grading or editing. It allows production facilities to efficiently conform, review and export shots to visual effects artists and into finishing systems. HIERO has been designed to work seamlessly with The Foundry’s NUKE and NUKEX compositing applications, but also enables collaborative working with other editorial, VFX and finishing tools.

Matt Plec, Head of Product Design at The Foundry comments: “NUKE is already a powerful compositing tool, but it’s missing a component many artists need. HIERO provides this missing link functionality currently dealt with either by expensive tools, in-house scripting or a cumbersome manual process. HIERO’s the bridge tool our customers have been asking us for.”

HIERO removes human error by automatically creating a file structure based on rules that can be created by users as they conform and parcel out VFX shots to multiple NUKE artists. Because HIERO knows exactly where to look for updates, VFX supervisors can easily review shot progress in the context of the edit with the added confidence of knowing that the latest versions are always at their fingertips. HIERO significantly reduces the infrastructure work required to keep a VFX team up and running, saving time and money on every job.

Andres Kirejew, VFX Supervisor/Partner, Township comments: “HIERO has removed all the tedious, manual labour from conforming. I pointed it towards my EDL and 1.5tb of RED Epic footage magically relinked! HIERO breaks out shots with ease and automatically names, symlinks and prepares them for NUKE roundtripping. HIERO is ******* brilliant. Seriously, at the price point, it’s a no-brainer!”

Hugo Guerra, Joint Head of NUKE compositing at The Mill, London adds: “In the NUKE department at The Mill HIERO was a natural choice to fill the pipeline gap that we were bridging using in-house scripting and third party software. Using HIERO and NUKEX together is the perfect solution for us. With these tools we save time and money on our pipeline, leaving the artists more time to be creative and not be delayed by the technical part of the process. This means our productions get better, faster and more collaborative.”

Visit the Hiero product website