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Pixar is planning to release its Universal Scene Description Software (USD) as an open-source project by summer 2016.
The tools solve a need in the CG film and game industries for effective ways to modify, assemble, and describe high-complexity virtual scenes between different digital content creation tools used by studios.
For over 20 years Pixar has developed USD’s ability to edit graphics, this includes the production of A Bug’s Life. File-referencing, layered overrides, variation and inheritance, were completely overhauled into a uniform design for the in-house animation studio, Presto. Although it’s still actively being developed, USD has been used for about a year in the production of Finding Dory.
The team behind USD plan to build on the Alembic open-source project’s success with the VFX industry. It has standardized the algebra which makes assets aggregated and refined.
One of the key aspects of Pixar’s pipeline is the ability for hundreds of artists to operate simultaneously on the same collections of assets in different contexts, using separate ‘layers’ of data that are composited together at various production stages. USD generalizes these concepts in an attempt to make them available to any DCC application,” says Guido Quaroni, VP of Software R&D at Pixar.
Embeddable direct 3D visualization will be included, provided by Pixar’s Hydra GPU renderer. Plenty of plugins such as for VFX DCCs, comprehensive documentation, tutorials and complete python bindings.