Ben Houston, Exocortex CEO on Clara.io

18102

In this interview that was broadcast live from SIGGRAPH 2014 in Vancouver Canada, Exocortex CEO Ben Houston and Steve Waskul talk about the Company’s new product Clara.io.

Exocortex is an Ottowa-based company who’s been making plugins for 3D applications like 3DS Max, Soft Image and Maya for about ten years. Their products include Alembic Crate, Fury, Slipstream, Momentum and Species.

The interview begins with an overview of the company and a brief discussion of Crate which has a full range of Alembic features allowing production teams to transfer all their assets using a single format. So, with Crate, you can seamlessly import and export Alembic data between Softimage, Maya and 3DS Max which eases the production pipeline.

Just recently Ben and his team have released Clara.io which is an online 3D modeling and rendering application. As the interview moves forward Steve and Ben discuss many of the tools features and use cases. Ben says this is one of the first full-featured cloud-based modeling, animation and rendering software tools that is capable of running on standard web browsers. Users can make complex 3D models, create photorealistic renderings and share them with other Clara.io users.

One of the nice features of the program is that it can render with VRay in the cloud on servers hosted by Exocortex. This allows users to leverage the huge material library available for VRay and it’s powerful features which are exposed to the end user at this time.

Another interesting feature of Clara.io is that it allows for simultaneous multi-user editing. During the interview Ben provides an example of several people working simultaneously on a project in various locations on “light” portable devices. Since the rendering is done in the cloud and all the javascript is executed locally in a WebGL browser this is clearly a very different approach.

Exocortex has roughly 65,000 Clara.io users now and Ben explains that the company is focused on growing this rapidly over the next year as the company continues to work on the product which is still in beta at the time of this interview.To see what is possible with Clara.io, you can browse its new online 3D model library that is filled with thousands of scenes created by Clara.io users.