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Managing Items#

Items can be created and managed from many different ways in Clarisse.

Creating Items#

The most common way to create Items is by using the Create menu which can be found in the application main menu bar. The Create menu sorts items by categories. For example, all geometries supported by Clarisse can found under Create > Geometry and in the same way, all materials are found under Create > Material.


If you type the name of the item you are looking for when a menu is displayed in Clarisse, the menu automatically filters out to only display matching entries.

Each time a new item is created using the Create menu, it will be created within the current application context. If you create, for example, a new material while the current application context is set to build://project/scene, the material will be created in the context build://project/scene

Locking Items#

You can lock items so that they can't be deleted or edited by mistake. To lock/unlock items, you can use the script that comes by default with the shelf in the General tab or use the following scripting commands:


Deleting Items#

Deletion is performed on a selection. To delete selected items press Del key or go to Edit > Delete Selection.

Duplicating Items#

To duplicate items, you need to select the source item(s) and go to Edit > Copy or press Ctrl+C to copy items to the clipboard. Once items have been copied to the clipboard you can use Edit > Paste or Ctrl+V to paste copies as many times as you want.


A copy creates a new identical copy of the source item: all source attributes values and embedded items are copied recursively. After a copy is created, there is virtually no difference between the source and the copy at the exception of the copied item name.

It is also possible to copy and paste items between two Clarisse applications, or paste the content of a clipboard in a text editor to create custom asset libraries that you would paste later in Clarisse. Here is the content of the clipboard after copying an image into the clipboard.

#Isotropix_Clarisse_Clipboard_Serialization 0.96
GeometryPolygrid {
   name "polygrid"
   #version 0.9
   copy_from "build://project/scene/polygrid"
   colortag "blue"
   translate 5 6 7

You can just copy the text above and directly paste it in Clarisse. This will create a new polygrid.


When copying a selection of items that are connected to each other, Clarisse reconnects them together instead of leaving them connected to their sources. This way, it is very easy to duplicate whole branches since you don't have to manually reconnect copies together.

Duplicating items with their dependencies#

Sometimes it is useful to copy items with all their input connections in order to duplicate the whole set of items. This can be very useful when you want to copy a material with all its shading network for example.

To copy items with their dependencies, go to Edit > Copy With Dependencies or use Ctrl+Shift+C. When pasting using Edit > Paste or Ctrl+V, Clarisse pastes all new items in the current context while all dependencies are pasted in a sub-context named ext_deps.

Memory Management#

In Clarisse, you can freely duplicate objects bound to heavy data such as geometries without caring about memory usage. Clarisse is built upon a smart memory manager that detects and eliminates, automatically and on the fly, redundant data.

If you create thousands of copies of a geometry with heavy data, data is automatically shared across copies to be stored only once in memory. If you wish to see how much redundant data has been eliminated, you can use the Resource View widget.

Redundant data elimination efficiency of 89% in the Resource View

Redundant data elimination efficiency of 89% in the Resource View

Instancing items#

Instead of duplicating items by making copies, it is possible to create instances. To instantiate an item go to Edit > Instantiate or use Ctrl+I.


When an item is instantiated a little i is displayed on its icon. Sources have a little s displayed on their icons. Instances are italicized and displayed bold when localized.

Explorer showing item instances

Explorer showing item instances

What are instances?#

Instances in Clarisse are not render-time duplicates like in other 3D DCCs. They are dynamic copies which are linked to their source so that when you modify an attribute on either the source or the instance, both are modified. The relationship between instances and sources is really as if they are sharing the same set of attributes. In a way, instances can be seen as shortcuts to their sources. Instances are extremely useful when it comes to organize projects. Using instances you can, for example, work with instances in a scene context while having the the sources a asset one.


An instance of a context can't be localized.


Another super useful features of instances is that it is possible to break the connection to the source at the attribute level via localization. This way instances can be partially specialized to perform modifications at attribute level. In Clarisse instance attribute specialization is called localization.

Localizing an attribute is very useful since you can break the connection of certain attributes while keeping others being still driven by the source. For example, you can localize transform attributes of geometries while keeping material associations of their source. This way you can set-dress freely instances and keeping any modifications of the source material association.

Localize/Unlocalize attributes#

Localizing attributes is achieved using the Attribute Editor. ++right--button++ on the attribute and choose Localize. To unlocalize a localized attribute, ++right--button++ and choose Unlocalize.

Localize Items#

It is possible to localize instances to convert them to a non instanced items. To localize a selection of instances, go to Edit > Make Local or using the Browser or the Explorer, ++right--button++ and select Make Local in the pop up menu.


Make Local has no effect on instances of contexts.

Make Instance Of#

It is possible to convert existing items to instances of a selected source. Select the item(s) and go to Edit > Make Instance Of... or using the Browser or the Explorer Right Button and select Make Instance Of...

An object picker will open to let you choose the new source. This feature also allows to replace the source of existing instances by a new one.


Instances must be of the same type of the source. For example, locators can only become instances of another locator.

Moving Items#

Moving items is mostly performed via the use of the Browser or Explorer widgets.

Contextualizing Items#

Contextualizing allows to move the content of the selection into a new context named after the last item of the selection. For example, let's imagine you've selected box1, box2, box3 and box4. If you select Edit > Contextualize, Clarisse moves the selection in a newly created context named box4.

Renaming Items#

By default, new items are named after the name of the class they instantiate. For example, when you create a new Matte material, the newly created material will be matte. However, sometimes it may happen this default name is already taken by another item, which leads to a naming collision.

Indeed, item names must always be unique within their parent context. It's very similar to files in folders: you can't have two files sharing the same name.

In Clarisse, naming conflicts are automatically resolved by appending two conflicted names a suffix number. For example, if there is already a matte material in the current context, the new object gets automatically renamed matte1. The next Matte material to be created will be renamed to matte2 and so on...

To rename explicitly a selected item, press the F2 key or go to Edit > Rename... to popup the Renaming Window where you will be invited to enter a new item name.

If the Renaming Window doesn't appear then:

  • No item or no renamable item is selected
  • The user pressed F2 in a Browser or an Explorer and in this case the rename is directly performed on the item itself.

Item Name limitations#

You can set the name you want to items but they will be automatically renamed to comply to the following limitations:

  • names can't start with a digit
  • names support only underscores and alphanumeric characters
  • names must be unique in the parent context

Disabling Items#

When you disable an item, it behaves exactly as if it was deleted. However, all connections to disabled items are kept in place. This way, it's possible to bring them back to life later on, without manually reconnecting anything.

For example, in the event a disabled scene item would be used as parent for others, it would behave as if its children Parent attributes were set to (none).


When an item is disabled it can't be edited.

Disabling items is a toggle which makes it very handy to toggle items on and off from renders amongst other use cases. To disable the current selection simply go to Edit > Disable or press Ctrl+D. To enable the current selection go to Edit > Enable or press Shift+D


Disabled item names are displayed strikethrough.

Here the polygrid is disabled

In the screenshot above we can see that polygrid is disabled.

Sometimes items can display a double strikethrough. This happens when both the item and its parent item are disabled.

Here both polygrid and scene context are disabled Note the double strikethrough on polygrid

Here both polygrid and scene context are disabled. Note the double strikethrough on polygrid

Commenting Items#

It is possible to add custom comments to items using the Attribute Editor.

Attaching Color Tags#

It is possible to attach color tags to objects using Edit > Color Tags. When items are attached to a color tags, a color can is displayed next to their item names.

Color Tags displayed in the Browser

Color Tags displayed in the Browser

To remove color tags on a selection just choose Edit > Color Tags > Clear.


It is possible to sort views by color tags.

Creating Custom Color Tags#

Clarisse comes with a default color tag configuration files which can be customized. It is possible to either edit the file color_tags.cfg by or use another one by setting Color Tags File found in Edit > Preferences.../User Interface to the file you want.

Color tag file format is pretty straight forward. It is basically a succession of named tags that have a tip (name displayed in the user interface), a weight (used when sorting items) and finally a color.

color_tags {
   my_tag1 {
       weight 0
       tip "My Tag 1"
       color 0 0 0
   my_tag2 {
       weight 1
       tip "My Tag 2"
       color 127 127 127