Important Looking Pirates sail with Clarisse

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Press Release
February 20th, 2017

MONTPELLIER, FRANCE – Isotropix, a privately held software company developing high-end innovative graphics software, announces that the Sweden-based visual effects studio Important Looking Pirates (ILP), freshly awarded at 15th annual VES Awards for Outstanding Supporting Visual Effects in a Photoreal Episode on an episode of the third season of Black Sails, adopted last year Isotropix’ flagship Clarisse and relied on it heavily to create and render the visual effects of the fourth and final season of Black Sails currently on the Air.

“Black Sails is a very asset heavy production with lots of pirate ships and cannon fires and water simulation, open ocean. As an example, a standard shot could have up to 1TB of Alembic data.” says Martin Ogren Lead Lighting Artist at ILP. The high quality standards of the show, Black Sails, involves many interdepartmental  dependencies. To create lifelike visual effects, the studio needs to produce realistic simulations, dynamics and volumetric effects interacting with each other and ultimately leading to greatly increase the cost and the complexity of each artistic iteration. “(...) One change tends to ripple through to a lot of departments so it is technically a great challenge!” says Yafei Wu, co-founder of ILP and VFX Supervisor of Black Sails. Until early in 2016, ILP mainly relied on Maya coupled with major rendering softwares, proprietary tools and custom scripts in order to assemble and manage scenes, look dev assets, light and render visual effects. “We’ve always been a very Maya based studio, so we started it out with Maya and RenderMan to begin with and then we switched over to VRay and after that, we switched to Arnold as a renderer instead. Now, on the final season of Black Sails, we switched to Clarisse and today, we are using it in full production on multiple shows. For us, it was a very smooth transition. Clarisse is such easy intuitive artistic software and today it takes around 2 to 3 days for a general lighting artist to pick Clarisse up and start doing shots” adds Yafei Wu.

The adoption of Clarisse at ILP greatly simplified ILP’s pipeline and improved the workflow of their artists thanks to Clarisse’s modern solutions designed to answer the needs of VFX production environments working in teams. “We need to do lots of like residual smoke layouts, canon fires, fire and stuff like that and be able to actually see that cuts down the production time a lot, it’s like a different world.” adds Martin Ogren. “Clarisse enabled us to scene assembly very complex scenes but still maintaining flexibility on a shot per shot level so things were not locked down into bounding boxes or things like that but we could still see things, access things” complements Niklas Strom, Lead Artist at ILP.

“The reasons we chose Clarisse are multiple. One of them is the amount of assets that we have to handle and to be able to view them in the viewport to properly do layouts in an artistic and creative way and, at the same time, being able to render everything together so you get the proper shadowing and occlusion etc… from all the assets. The other reason is to really be able to do asset development for an entire show but, at the same time, to be able to easily do overrides on a per shot basis. That’s something that we had to develop a lot of tools for when we’ve been using other software and in Clarisse it’s more or less been out of the box and that’s been amazing.” adds Yafei Wu.

About Important Looking Pirates

Important Looking Pirates (ILP) is one of Scandinavia's biggest visual effects and digital animation studio located in central Stockholm. It has been founded by artists in 2007 with the vision to become one of the top international suppliers of VFX in terms of quality, professionalism and service. The studio is specialized in creating content for all forms of digital productions including TV-series, feature films, commercials, VR, web and games. Recently it received a VES Award for its work on the third season of the TV-series Black Sails. For more information, visit

About Isotropix

Isotropix is a software development company founded in 2011 by former CG Artists. The company develops Clarisse a nextgen high-end 3D graphics software targeted for the VFX industry and adopted by world leading studios such as Double Negative, Industrial Light & Magic, Tippett Studio and WETA Digital. In less than 2 years, Clarisse has already been used in over 20 feature films such as Avengers: The Age of Ultron, Star Wars The Force Awakens, Star Trek Beyond and more recently Assassin's Creed as well as many TV-series like Agent Carter, Fungus, The Young Pope and Black Sails. For more information, visit

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