As rendering engines and GPUs race to the top for technical superiority in a landscape filled with constant growth, there is one piece of software that might already be in the lead.
And this is a piece of software that I've never even heard of until today.
You ever heard of Isotropix? I hadn't, until a couple of days ago. When I first heard about it, I got a little obsessed and dug in as hard as I could. Why?
Well, they have a software called Clarisse iFX, which is said to have virtually zero polygon limits. Meaning there is an almost infinite level to the amount of detail and models you can throw into a scene. They've had this software available since well before the recent Unreal 5 nanite technology, which is similar, but still seems a bit behind Clarisse.
So you can make entire dense forests or cityscapes while still maintaining a fully interactive viewport.
Still not sold? Well, it's been used in hundreds of films (some of them with Academy Awards for VFX). It's credited in the last Star Wars, some Marvel Films, and Tenet. Say what you will about Nolan and VFX, but if it's good enough for him, it's good enough for me.
With Clarisse, it appears that you get a fully-featured DCC (digital content creation) tool, a command line render system, and a node-based workflow from render all the way through compositing. In the below video, Andrey Lebrov breaks the whole thing down fantastically.
There are a few key things that I love about what I'm seeing with Clarisse—the scattering tools, and the shading groups.
With the scattering tools, it appears that you can basically just scatter essentially however many you want of something. This is a huge feature with OctaneRender, and people love Octane's scattering abilities.
However, the ability to do it without using up all the VRAM in the world is a huge plus. They advertise the ability to have almost trillions of polygons in a scene without a hiccup.
Also, the shading groups system appears to make automatic choices about materials and shading with your objects based on what group you put them in. This could mean that you'd be able to build essentially fully procedurally generated scenes without the need to constantly tweak materials and settings.
This is all very new to me. I'm still kind of figuring out some of the details of what makes Clarisse so capable of handling such huge workloads. Though again, I think we can allow the pedigree to speak for itself.
This is just a very exciting time, in my opinion. These tools are just dropping left and right, and they're becoming more and more affordable.
In Hollywood, a lot of the VFX tools used are things that are either a proprietary in-house piece of software or just something that is a little bit out of reach for most people. Whether it be price, or even sometimes just the ability to learn about it without insider knowledge, there are lots of barriers of entry to certain Hollywood tools.
Here's the exciting part about Clarisse, though—you can try it right now for free.
That's right, they have a version that you can just use to learn with. Or if you'd rather just own it outright, they have a node-locked variety at different levels ($59 for 30 days, $499 for 1 year, and $999 for perpetual). For such a powerful tool, all of those prices are entirely reasonable.
I don't know about you, but I'm excited to dive in more and give Clarisse a shot.