EMERYVILLE, CA – Pixar Animation Studios at SIGGRAPH 2016 announced 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,” says 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,” says 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,” says 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.”
Along with USD and Hydra, the distribution ships with USD plug-ins for some common DCCs, such as Autodesk’s Maya and The Foundry’s Katana
To prepare for open sourcing their code, Pixar gathered feedback from various studios and vendors to receive early testing from the community.
"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," says Eoin Murphy, Lead Pipeline Developer, Animal Logic R&D.