© 2014 Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation. Image courtesy of Double Negative.

VFX and Animation Workflow

It’s simple, Clarisse offers what’s probably the most productive and streamlined workflow available on the market which is why it is increasingly used in feature films produced by world leading studios. Imagine this, Clarisse provides a powerful referencing system that works and a rule-based non-linear and non-destructive workflow!

 The nextgen lighting and rendering tool

There’s a secret behind why Clarisse’s streamlined workflow and its unique solution answer so closely the needs of studios producing 3D VFX and animated films or series. Shhh don’t tell anyone but it has been designed in co-operation with Industry's players with the objectives of dramatically increasing productivity, reducing learning curve and keeping pipeline integration effort very low while making artists happy!


 

Clarisse workflow overview

 

Clarisse Workflow Overview

The idea behind a Clarisse pipeline is to keep modeling, rigging and animating geometries in external packages. Data and animation is however exported in Alembic cache using either built-in Alembic exporter or third party plugins.

What do you do in Clarisse?

Shot assembly and final layout, lighting/look development/material definition, layering, final rendering and pre-compositing.

Try Clarisse

In the previous example, the assembled Clarisse project could be generated manually or using a simple Python script ran from the animation package. For example, this script could both export alembic files and generate the resulting Clarisse project using Project Directives.

This "export" script could be extended to launch a Clarisse application on the animator workstation, load the generated project and start an interactive render of the current frame the artist is working on. It could also submit a job to the farm for a first line test. 

Read more on pipeline integration

 

reference_file("my_render_settings.project")
reference_file("my_assets.abc")
reference_file("my_lightset.project")
reference_file("my_shaders.project")
set_value("image.background.renderer", "my_render_settings")
set_value("image.background.shading_layer", "my_shading_layer")

Example of project generated externally from an animation package. 

 

 

The interactive rendering you experience when working with Clarisse is a massive bonus. It means we can light and work on assets and shots at a much quicker rate than we could previously (...) Having a lot of indirect lighting was always a challenge for us previously, and this was something that Clarisse brought to the table. Clarisse general rendering speed is a massive increase on what we were used to.
Peter Seager, Lighting & Rendering Supervisor at Double Negative
Peter Seager 

 

Clarisse file referencing system

Clarisse file referencing system

Clarisse provides a powerful file referencing system resolving a lot of the issues that occur when working in teams. When referenced files are modified, projects are automatically updated to latest versions. User modifications on referenced items are performed via attribute overrides and updates are blazing fast: when reloading a reference, Clarisse only updates and reloads what has actually changed.

Updates made smart

In a single click, Clarisse looks for external modifications to update project items to latest versions when available. In the previous example, a lead lighter published a new version of the lightset. When the lighter working on this shot resynched for updates, only its referenced lightset project got updated. Geometries or textures were not reloaded as they didn't change. This is how and why, this update was applied in a fraction of a second.

Left: Original Lightset, Right: Updated Referenced Lightset (resynched in less than 0.5s)

Material Assignments made easy

Alembic is not meant to describe materials, that's why files exported from animation packages do not include any material information. To resolve this issue, Clarisse offers a great feature to streamline material assignment with geometries. Shading Layers and materials can be stored in a separate project file to be referenced later on in shots. 

READ MORE ON LOOK DEVELOPMENT

Left: Alembic + Light Set, Right: Same project with Shading Layer applied.

Compositing made part of the same workflow

Unlike in other applications, compositing is integrated to the lighting and rendering workflow of Clarisse. Instead of working blindly on passes or layers, Artists work directly and interactively their renders will the full compositing on. There's no need to save layers as in-between images. There's no need for the artist to switch back and forth between the rendering and compositing application. Artists directly and interactively work on their final images. They can mix layers of several kinds ranging from a simple still image or an image sequence to a fully rendered animated 3d scene. Each layer provides an independent stack of filters that can be used to add effects such as a Gaussian blur or to adjust color and contrast.

Compositing in Clarisse

Rendering Made Simple

Clarisse comes with a built-in high-end renderer and a set of materials allowing for non photorealistic to photorealistic rendering. Clarisse renderer is Monte Carlo based: there's no need for pre-process, pre-pass, shadow/reflection map, baked point cloud or any magic-driven-time-consuming feature. Image quality is defined by the number of samples and artists may control global sampling quality by changing a single parameter. It's that simple.

READ MORE ON RENDERING FEATURES

Left: quality set to 0% (0.7s) Right: quality set to 100% (47.0s)

 

 
Memory Optimizations made automatic

Clarisse unique memory manager automatically tracks memory to detect if similar data is already there. When detected, data is automatically shared to avoid redundancy. This simple rule applies to geometries, to deformations, to tessellations and to virtually anything. This saves a massive amount of Artists time making a huge difference between a "shot that can" from a "shot that can't" render. The infamous frustrating-time-consuming-manual-memory-optimization step required by traditionnal software is, using Clarisse, a thing of the past.

READ MORE

Full Color Management

Clarisse supports custom 2D or 3D LUTs that can be arranged in a user library. Artists can then switch between LUTs in the application to apply color correction on texture maps or any user interface elements displaying color. Clarisse makes it simple: artists can work in context while seeing their images with the right colors.