Monday, July 31st, 2017 Posted by Jim Thacker

Isotropix releases Clarisse 3.5

Originally posted on 5 May 2017. Scroll down for news of the commercial release.

Isotropix has unveiled Clarisse 3.5, a big update to its 2D/3D rendering system, adding a scattering toolset, a new PBR material, and support for Light Path Expressions and the Cryptomatte matte-generation system.

The release, which is due to ship later this month, was announced at FMX 2017.

An increasingly well-rounded look development system for visual effects
The update also marks a change of branding for Clarisse, previously known officially as Clarisse iFX.

Although we described it as a hybrid 2D/3D rendering tool – Isotropix’s own previous description – it is increasingly becoming a more general-purpose look development system.

While it still contains features you would expect in renderers and compositors, it also now contains layout and set dressing tools, and we notice that Isotropix now refers to it simply as a “next-gen 3D/VFX tool”.

However, its central objective remains the same: to enable visual effects artists to develop heavy production scenes while being able to visualise the effect of changes on the final image in real time.

New in Clarisse 3.5: particle-based scattering
Clarisse 3.5 further extends the software’s layout capabilities with a new scattering system (shown above).

Users can scatter instanced objects like rocks or vegetation through a scene by directly painting particles across a surface. Instance properties like ID, rotation and scale can also be painted in directly.

The system comes with collision detection to control the spacing of instances; and supports a per-instance time offset, making it possible to create animation effects like gusts of wind or Mexican waves in crowds.

Procedurally generated scatters can also be baked to improve performance when working with large scenes.

Improvements to file referencing and item grouping for shot layout
The update also introduces a new file-referencing engine, with the option to set overrides at attribute, object or context level. Overrides can now be cleared without reloading the original references from disk.

The software’s grouping system has also been extended, with the option to mix both procedural rules and explicit item referencing when definining groups; and to bake the content of groups to improve performance.

Support for Light Path Expressions and Cryptomatte
Outside of the new scene assembly tools, Clarisse’s original core rendering and compositing toolsets have been extended.

The update introduces Light Path Expressions – also now supported in Arnold and RenderMan – to enable artists to generate AOVs on a per-light basis for more control over the look of a shot during compositing.

It also adds support for Cryptomatte, Psyop’s open-source system for generating ID mattes from the geometry and materials within a scene.

The system makes it possible isolate objects for compositing complete with motion blur and depth of field.

Other new lighting and rendering features include falloff controls for lights; a Low Light Threshold setting to force Clarisse not to compute lights whose effect on a scene is minimal; and “improved ray tracing precision”.

New Standard material based on Arnold’s alSurface, support for triplanar texturing
The update also introduces a new Standard PBR material based on Anders Langlands’ alSurface material.

As well as being able to mimic a range of real-world materials – ranging from metal and plastic to car paint, skin and water – alSurface is implemented in both Arnold and V-Ray, enabling “virtually 1:1 reuse” of parameter values and texture maps when importing materials created for those renderers into Clarisse.

There is also a new triplanar texture node, enabling users to texture objects realistically without the need for UVs, by projecting different texture maps on each scene axis.

The system has also recently been implemented in renderers including V-Ray and Corona Renderer, and is supported in standard texturing software including Mari and Substance Painter.

Other changes include Pixar’s OpenSubdiv subdivision surface technology, now supported in a wide range of DCC tools, ensuring that geometry displays identically in Clarisse to the package it was modelled in.

Updated 31 July 2017: Clarisse 3.5 is now shipping, and will also be on show at Siggraph 2017 this week. You can see the updated product demo above.

Pricing and availability
Clarisse 3.5 is available for Windows 7+, RHEL and CentOS 6+ Linux and Mac OS X 10.9+. The update is free to existing users with active maintenance plans.

The software costs $999 for the first licence, then $1,998 per additional node-locked licence, or $3,198 per floating licence. Prices include one year’s maintenance. See more pricing options here.

Read a full list of features in Clarisse 3.5 on Isotropix’s website

Watch more demo videos of the new features on Isotropix’s YouTube channel