Slugline. Simple, elegant screenwriting.

Red Giant Color Suite, with Magic Bullet Looks 2.5 and Colorista II

  • Sony Alpha a7S Compact Interchangeable Lens Digital Camera
    Sony Alpha a7S Compact Interchangeable Lens Digital Camera
  • Panasonic LUMIX DMC-GH4KBODY 16.05MP Digital Single Lens Mirrorless Camera with 4K Cinematic Video (Body Only)
    Panasonic LUMIX DMC-GH4KBODY 16.05MP Digital Single Lens Mirrorless Camera with 4K Cinematic Video (Body Only)
  • TASCAM DR-100mkII 2-Channel Portable Digital Recorder
    TASCAM DR-100mkII 2-Channel Portable Digital Recorder
  • The DV Rebel's Guide: An All-Digital Approach to Making Killer Action Movies on the Cheap (Peachpit)
    The DV Rebel's Guide: An All-Digital Approach to Making Killer Action Movies on the Cheap (Peachpit)
    by Stu Maschwitz

Fast Ray Tracers

Thanks to @quarterlight for the link to this demo of Clarisse, an interactive ray-traced shading and rendering environment that uses the progressive refinement method I mention in my previous post. From the FAQ:

Clarisse is CPU-based. A basic graphics card supporting OpenGL 2.0 is more than enough.


Clarisse runs perfectly fine on lower end hardware such as laptops and remains perfectly smooth and interactive. The What is Clarisse video? was recorded on a dual-core laptop dating from 2009.

This is what I’m talking about when I say that the ray-traced 3D performance in After Effects CS6 could be better optimized for the CPU.

Still not convinced? Then I guess you didn’t click the progressive refinement link in that last post. It goes to an interactive demo of a ray-traced scene that you can interact with, live, at very high frame rates. The real time rendering, which includes secondary light bounces (AKA radiosity), is done in your browser.

Reader Comments (8)

Extremely impressive, I played over a year ago with that GL demo and was impressed but seemed to far away in development.

Not only Adobe but all major 3D apps will have to evolve and adapt like the Clarisse demo shows. Computers are vastly more powerful but I don't see those order of magnitude improvements in scene files, everything seems just as slow with every release, the brute force approach has to be retired.

This post is a gem, thank you!

June 4, 2012 | Registered CommenterJames Benet

The thing that's got me scratching my head is why Adobe chose such a slow renderer. Yes, ray tracing can be gorgeous, but how could anyone think that this is a practical solution for AE's target market?

June 4, 2012 | Registered CommenterDave Bittner

Clarisse, it sounds like a hair care product :D

June 4, 2012 | Registered CommenterTom Daigon

Extremely impressive, thanks for the heads up Stu. I notice there's not much in the way of support for Autodesk products. Max, Softimage and Maya interop seems a low priority in favour of Lightwave of all things. Hopefully that will change. Maybe there's some red tape in the way from the Autodesk end?

June 5, 2012 | Registered CommenterJudd Hyland

Jaw dropped.

but the real question here is how long before Autodesk will buy Isotropix.

June 5, 2012 | Registered CommenterJason Hamilton

I don't use Lightwave, but I find their focus on it a comforting implication that they will remain independent.

This technical display stands in stark contrast to the absolutely stifling bureaucracy that Autodesk employs to stunt any and all innovation.

I have greatly enjoyed watching the Pixologic folks pummel Autodesk with each release. I look forward to watching Isotropix further dismantle that kludge.

June 7, 2012 | Registered CommenterCasey Basichis

i'm not super versed in 3D, so excuse the comment/question if it sounds stupid. I couldn't tell by the demo, but does it do more photo-realistic renders?

June 7, 2012 | Registered CommenterMike Cha

If you're interested in realtime path tracers, you should really check out the latest version of Blender3D which is openSource and recently added a new internal path tracing engine. Pretty damn cool!

As for seeing a similar system in After Effects, path tracers are a very different beast to traditional ray tracers. Primarily the fact that it uses a BVH system to trace light photons back through the scene from the camera, may not be entirely possible to integrate into a 2.5D composting package.

Also, its awesome for live previews, but depending your system, and the complexity of the surface shaders on your geometry (which are all important in this method of rendering), the time required to get a frame that isn't grainy as shit could still take hours. If compatible surface shaders would even be possible with the way multitudes of legacy plugin effects are stacked onto layers in After Effects.

Not to say its impossible, i don't know, but it would not be anywhere near as simple as a few tweaks here and there. The entire rendering system for after effects would have to be rewritten from the ground up including how it handles and renders its plugins. If it is actually possible, to integrate such a render system, it probably wouldn't be possible to do it in a way that legacy AE projects could be opened.

June 21, 2012 | Registered Commentergeoff murphy
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