Emeryville, CA based Pixar Animation Studios announced today the official open source release of Universal Scene Description (USD), technology used for the interchange of 3D graphics data through various digital content creation (DCC) tools. USD provides an effective and scalable solution for the complex workflows of CG film and game industry studios.
“We believe that being open with our technology and sharing it with our peers in the industry is how we can best continue to drive innovation,” said Ed Catmull, President, Pixar and Walt Disney Animation Studios. “It’s in that spirit that we’re happy to be opening up USD.”
With this initial release, Pixar is opening up its development process and providing code used internally at the studio. “USD synthesizes years of engineering aimed at integrating collaborative production workflows that demand a constantly growing number of software packages,” added Guido Quaroni, Vice President of Software Research and Development at Pixar.
USD provides a rich and powerful toolset for reading, writing, editing, and rapidly previewing 3D scene data. With many of its features geared towards performance and large-scale collaboration among many artists, USD is ideal for the complexities of the modern pipeline. One such feature is Hydra, a high-performance preview renderer capable of interactively displaying large data sets.
“With USD, Hydra, and OpenSubdiv, we’re sharing core technologies that can be used in filmmaking tools across the industry,” noted George ElKoura, Supervising Lead Software Engineer at Pixar. “Our focus in developing these libraries is to provide high-quality, high-performance software that can be used reliably under demanding production scenarios.”
“Integrating Hydra into our proprietary Virtual Production Renderer helped us solve one of our biggest challenges,” continued Kevin Wooley, Virtual Production Engineering Lead at ILM. “With the performance improvement, we can handle incredibly complicated digital environments, with thousands of pieces of geometry, while preserving the editability of the scene.”
Along with USD and Hydra, the distribution ships with USD plugins for some common DCCs, such as Autodesk’s Maya and The Foundry’s Katana.
We are committed to working with Pixar to make USD the platform-independent scene representation of choice for Maya artists,” said Marc Stevens, Vice President of Film & Television, Autodesk.
“The Foundry strives to constantly deliver the best innovations to our customers and one of the best ways we can do that is through our partners, so we were delighted to work with Pixar on the release of USD,” stated Andy Whitmore, Chief Product Officer at The Foundry. “This technology will ultimately give companies better and more powerful pipelines by building more robust connections between their tools of choice, resulting in more empowered artists and therefore greater creativity.”
To prepare for open sourcing their code, Pixar gathered feedback from various studios and vendors to receive early testing from the community.
“In designing and refining USD’s concepts and APIs, we’ve worked closely with our own internal production clients, as well as with other studios, who have already provided feedback that helped shape USD’s evolution,” said Sebastian Grassia, USD Lead Engineer.
Studios such as MPC, Double Negative, ILM, and Animal Logic were among those who provided valuable feedback in preparation for this release.
“USD provides a rich and powerful framework which allows us to describe our pipeline in a scalable, coherent and flexible way. It brings conceptual clarity, standardization and great potential for asset and software reuse to the world of Animation and VFX,” concluded Eoin Murphy, Lead Pipeline Developer, Animal Logic R&D.
More information about USD can be found at the official website: openusd.org
USD, Presto, and Hydra are trademarks of Pixar Animation Studios. All other trademarks are trademarks of their respective owners.
His agencies’ services, for over a quarter century, have helped garner early stage and growth companies significant brand exposure, resulting in either acquisition or IPO, with a total valuation of over $2.0 Billion.
Mr. Chan is a serial entrepreneur, philanthropist, author and angel investor. He played key executive roles early on in helping to pioneer and usher in both professional digital audio and digital video technologies for the recording, broadcast, cinematic and post production industries. He also played key executive roles in helping to develop and market data storage technologies. His expansive background spans four decades in ever increasing executive roles in operations, business development, engineering and sales/marketing in the information technology, media & entertainment, storage and networking, and other related high technology industries.
He is an active mentor and senior advisor to many established and start-up companies, a market/technology analyst, and has three decades of experience in brand development, management consulting, company turnarounds, creative advertising and public relations.
A graduate of California Polytechnic State University (Cal Poly), San Luis Obispo; Mr. Chan is celebrating his 12th year as a Board of Director for the Fullerton College Foundation and recipient of the 2017 President’s Award for Outstanding Service in Business; 17th year as an Entrepreneur-in-Residence and mentor for the Small Business Institute at California State University Fullerton and incubators. Additionally, he is a volunteer member of DECA (Delta Epsilon Chi and Distributive Education Clubs of America); an advisor to the College of Engineering's Global Waste Research Institute and Center For Innovation and Entrepreneurship, Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo and a member of the President’s Green and Gold Society. Passionate about hospice care, he was the past Board President for the Healing Hearts Association; and is a regularly featured speaker at many MBA and Doctorate level lectures around the country. He has presented and published over 30 papers worldwide, is a book co-author, an Editorial Board Member for the Society of Motion Picture and Television Engineers, Senior Editor for Broadcast Beat and AV Beat Magazines, past Senior Editor for Computer Technology Review, and is a regularly featured Contributing Editor to many US and international trade publications for over 30 years.
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