Academy Software Foundation Unveils Updated OpenColorIO

The Academy Software Foundation (ASWF) debuted OpenColorIO version 2 (OCIO v2) for developers to integrate into their applications. OCIO is an industry standard for consistent color management across VFX and animation pipelines that has been used on hundreds of feature film productions. One major enhancement is native implementation of ACES, replacing the requirement for finite LUT files with precise algorithms. In addition, new foundation members include Unity Technologies, Conductor Technologies and SMPTE.

The ASWF reports that the official v2 release will be available by the end of 2020, “after a four-month period of bug-fixing and refinement of features based on developer feedback and testing,” adding that, “OCIO v2 will also be in the VFX Reference Platform for calendar year 2021.”

Other enhancements found in v2 include “full read and write support for the Academy/ASC Common LUT Format (CLF); all OCIO transforms can now be losslessly serialized for improved reproducibility of color pipelines between studios and vendors; and a new GPU renderer that matches the CPU result and may be used to produce final frames.”

The new version also offers “a better user experience for artists, allowing config authors to organize color spaces by category, hide color spaces, and define hierarchical menus; all transforms, including 3D-LUTs, may now be inverted; new transforms provide precise implementations of common camera and display encodings, and provide a complete set of building blocks for implementing complex color transforms without the use of external files; and new command-line tools make it easier to analyze and troubleshoot color issues.”

Further, ASWF unveiled a new website and documentation that, “make it easier to learn and faster to find the information you need.”

“The visual effects industry has changed considerably since the introduction of OpenColorIO v1 ten years ago, including the wide adoption of ACES and a higher demand for leveraging GPUs for final pixels,” said Autodesk technology lead for color science Doug Walker, who is chief architect of the OpenColorIO TSC.

“With those trends in mind, we re-engineered core components of OpenColorIO … drawing on the latest color science and software engineering techniques, writing hundreds of new CPU and GPU unit-tests to ensure reliability, and adding a new Continuous Integration (CI) system and upgraded cmake scripts to ease development,” he added. “Color experts may now author pipelines that are easier to use for artists, are more accurate, and are easier to maintain.”

Elsewhere, the ASWF revealed that Unity Technologies joined as a premier member, Conductor Technologies as a general member, and SMPTE as an associate member. ASWF executive director David Morin welcomed the new members, stating that, “they join a strong group of member companies focused on developing our open source platform and projects for the motion picture industry.”

“Their commitment to the Foundation in this time of COVID-19 … highlights open source as a proven model for collaborative and remote software development, in a time when we have no choice but to reinvent how we work together,” he said.