Sony Pictures Imageworks and Industrial Light & Magic announced Alembic, a co-developed, open-source project, during a press conference at SIGGRAPH 2010 in Los Angeles. The new computer graphics interchange format is designed to enable the efficient storage and exchange of animation and visual effects scenes across multiple software applications. Scheduled to become available in August, Alembic is designed to “handle massive animation data sets often required in high-end visual effects,” reveals a spokesperson. The code base for Alembic is available for download on the project’s Google Code site: http://www.alembic.io.
The open-source exchange format solves a common challenge: how to share complex animated scenes across various disciplines and facilities regardless of the software being used. In essence, says a representative, “it distills complex and often proprietary, animated scenes into application-independent files with baked geometric results.”
Alembic has gained support from several industry solution providers, including: Autodesk Media & Entertainment, The Foundry, Luxology, Nvidia, RenderMan at Pixar Animation Studios, and Side Effects Software.