Open-source VFX pipeline builder Prism 2.0 is now available
Originally posted on 2 August 2023 for the open beta, and updated for the official release.
It’s a major update, making it possible to set up a USD pipeline “out of the box”, expanding the range of DCC apps that Prism supports, and introducing paid licences for some plugins.
Automate common VFX pipeline-management tasks without scripting
First released in 2018, Prism lets users set up and maintain a production pipeline without scripting, working from a standard GUI inside its host applications, which include Maya, Houdini, Blender and Nuke.
Users can create projects using a readymade directory structure, establish assets and shots within them, create tasks, and assign them to departments within the studio.
Prism manages the exchange of data between the DCC applications to which it connects, and also manages the generation of assets for review, including playblasts and renders.
You can find a brief overview of the workflow in the online documentation.
Prism 2.0: set up a custom USD pipeline ‘out of the box’
Prism 2.0 is a major overhaul – projects aren’t backwards-compatible with Prism 1.x – and has been in development for some time: the update was first announced in 2021.
The key change is that Prism now enables users to create a pipeline based around the Universal Scene Description format (USD: now officially renamed OpenUSD).
Users can also export data from other apps in Alembic or OBJ format that can be referenced by USD files in Prism.
New options for setting up custom workflows and managing cloud-based teams
Prism’s UI and core workflow have also been overhauled, with the interface getting a new “modern stylesheet”, and a more streamlined layout for the Project Browser.
Directory structure and filenames can now be customised on a per-project basis, and custom environment variables can now be defined per-user and per-project.
New integration plugins for DCC applications, some of them paid-for
The number of DCC applications that Prism supports directly has also expanded, with new integration plugins available for DaVinci Resolve, Kitsu, Open RV, Substance 3D Painter and Unreal Engine.
The core plugins, including 3ds Max, Blender, Deadline, Houdini, Maya, Nuke and Photoshop, remain free.
In a change to the licence model, the other plugins – including the new USD plugin, Unreal Engine and ZBrush – become paid add-ons.
System requirements, prices and release date
Prism 2.0 is available now. The core software is compatible with Windows only. The versions of the host software compatible with the integration plugins are listed in the online documentation.
Source code for the core application and the 3ds Max, Blender, Deadline, Houdini, Maya, Nuke, Photoshop and PureRef plugins is available under a GNU LGPL licence, making them free for use in commercial projects. The other plugins require a paid subscription.
Plus subscriptions cost €19/user/month or €180/user/year, and support up to 15 users; Pro subscriptions cost €45/user/month or €468/user/year, and support unlimited users.
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