Does Blender Have a Scene Assembler like Maya's Scene Assembly, Houdini Solaris and Clarisse IFX?

In Maya, Houdini and Clarisse IFX, we can assemble or combine multiple heavy scenes into a master scene, without lowering the frame rate. This is very useful to reduce the complexity.

Does Blender have something like that? If not, what do you usually use to assemble multiple complex scenes?

3 Likes

You can arrange/render scenes from the video sequence editor. Just choose scene instead of movie/image sequence etc.

In scene properties, you can precise another scene as Background Scene.

But don’t expect a huge performance gain from that.
You can set maximum display of many objects to Wire or Bounds or Solid, if you want performance in viewport.

Each scene can be divided in different collections that can be individually deactivated.
You can create collection instances.
You can create several View Layers that are sets of activated/deactivated collections.
View Layers can be used to reduce display of objects or for compositing in Compositor.

There are many ways to use Blender in non-obvious ways. For instance, you can emulate Clarisse like workflow (not the rendering aspect) partially in Blender. You can also link assets, collections, or full scenes from other Blender files.

2 Likes

Thanks for the info

1 Like

Thanks for the detailed info

1 Like

What’s your definition of Scene in that context ?
In blender a scene is a set of object, with a camera, a world (environment settings) , an unit ( meters) and stuff like that.

While there are different ways to build a scene, you can have say a building in one file made of several objects, that is handled like one object in a master scene. That object you can then duplicate it and it will be instanced. Stuff like that…
But unless you rely on instancing, blender doesn’t have many mechanism that allows to have more polys that the computer can display.
I believe Katana can do something like that, by having proxies and then the “real” geo is loaded only at rendertime.

Blender isn’t really good at this kind of stuff, you can reduce scene complexity by instancing a group of object as if they’re one, but that won’t really help in saving performances.

1 Like

Hi.

There is currently active development in the introduction of the concept of ‘projects’ to Blender through a new branch (being worked on by Julian). Based on this thread it might be something you may be interested in.
/ · rB (blender.org)

From what I have read, this does not replace .blend files (since the purpose of a project allows it to hold multiple files).

1 Like

Yes. I mean a heavy scene assembler like The Foundry’s Katana, Isotropix Clarisse IFX and Houdini Solaris, where a look-dev artist can assemble multiple heavy scenes with hundreds of millions of polygons without having to worry about the frame rate or performance.

If Blender developers would like to focus on feature film technology, I think they’d better try to make something similar to those software. We currently just have Unreal Engine 5’s Nanite to do that kind of stuff

1 Like

Looks interesting. Hopefully it will be a heavy scene assembler

1 Like

I’ve played around with both Clarisse and Solaris and the part where one does not worry might be correct, but you still WAIT because performance is still dependent on your machine, its just used much more effectively.
If you throw hundreds of millions of polygons at any software you’ll get seconds per frame, not frames per second.

Do you actually want to create bleeding edge feature film level quality with such an high complexity that you NEED the performance and ability of these tools or do you just want to scale up your Blender projects and have a need for faster and more productive scene management?
If its the former I would suggest you actually invest in either Clarisse (stay away from Katana), or Houdini if you want to do complex VFX with detailed simulations in addition.
The price of investment for both combined is still much less than the cheapest professional cinema camera and it’ll be worth it.
If its the latter and you don’t want to invest cash, there is an open source scene assembler and look dev tool called gaffer that has been used on several triple A blockbuster movies.
https://www.gafferhq.org/

I played around with that too, but I gave up in frustration, its rather complex and not that user friendly.
The price of investment seems to be a lot of time, it wasn’t worth it for me - I just mentioned it for completion. YMMV

There is also an USD (and Hydra, maybe even MaterialX) implementation done by AMD which comes with a node scene graph for assembling and managing USD scenes, but i don’t know the state of completion the add-on is in, and its performance and ability.
You should definitely check that one out as it is closest to home and if it is anywhere near feature completeness it might give you the amount of control and productivity you desire.

7 Likes

I don’t think it’s the goal, and blender is more efficient in scenes of medium complexity.
Best is to look at their open movies, as they reflect what the software is aiming. So mostly high quality animation for now, or maybe video game cinematic with project heist. But it probably won’t be stuff like the Elysium space station soon.

Having something like Clarisse that allows to put more geo and polys in a scene that another regular software would really imply a major rewrite of many parts with that goal in mind.

That said, slowly but surely performances are getting better in many areas, but don’t expect blender to be “better” than regular DCC in that area soon.

But it’s always possible to work in blender and use Clarisse to assemble scenes, that’s what it’s used for anyway !

3 Likes

Blender is a “regular” DCC. And a number of the “regular” DCCs perform worse than Blender in large number of objects handling - or even just plain poly editing handling.

I do agree that if you want/need massive scene setups it is a good idea to invest in something like Clarisse.

And/Or use the same tricks and workarounds as have been used by the industry for a very long time: smart comping and smart scene setups.

In the end it’s all so relative and job context dependent.

2 Likes

Thank you for the info about Gaffer! I didn’t know there was an open-source version of Clarisse IFX

I agree we’d better use a scene assembler specialist like Clarisse IFX for the purpose. @Romanji has shared an interesting open-source software similar to Katana. I will check it out

The old methods still work. I was just curious to know whether Blender has a built-in heavy scene assembler feature as Maya and Houdini have or not

haha thanks for the clarification !
I was getting the impress that blender was a bit behind other DCC regarding performances, but it’s nice to hear that it’s not the case !

1 Like

Blender is an all in one DCC, it is intent is not to specialize in lookdev or td stuff only. It is used to create all kinds of production related needs like assets, shots, renders, textures, sculpts, videos etc. If you are looking for such specialized pipeline, Blender is not the tool for it. You can emulate Clarisse to certain extend as I mentioned, however replicating Katana’s worklow in Blender is out of question “as of now”.

I was just curious to know whether Blender has a built-in heavy scene assembler feature as Maya and Houdini have or not

What is Maya’s heavy scene building feature you mentioned? Are you talking about render layers, references etc? That is nothing like Katana or Houdini.

No worries! It depends on the DCC, btw, and the context. Houdini deals with scene assembly like a hot knife through butter, for example - Maya or Blender don’t compare, really.

@Romanji I had no idea that Gaffer existed. Complete blind spot! Thanks for the info. Going to check that out.

Reference:

//edit
I added this video reference because I did not find anything new to link, I think it is more useful to watch how it works than reading the online manual.

1 Like