ASWF Announces Its Next Project: Open Shading Language

The Academy Software Foundation (ASWF), developed by the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences and the Linux Foundation to provide a neutral forum for open source software developers, announced that its sixth hosted project is Open Shading Language (OSL), originally developed by Sony Pictures Imageworks. OSL, which was honored with an Academy Scientific and Technical Award in 2017, is now the de facto standard shading language for VFX and animation. ASWF also stated that AMD and DockYard have joined as new members.

ASWF reported that OSL “was released as open source in 2010 so it could be used by other visual effects and animation studios and rendering software vendors … [and] has since become the main embedded language in several industry-standard renderers.” It has been used in 100+ films including “Spider-Man: Far From Home,” “The Angry Birds Movie 2” and “Men in Black: International.

“Over the past ten years, Open Shading Language has grown to become a critical component of the VFX and animation ecosystem, widely used in production and embedded into several industry-standard renderers,” said ASWF governing board chair Rob Bredow, who is also Industrial Light & Magic head and senior vice president/executive creative director. “Many of our members and projects rely on and support OSL, so it’s a natural fit for the Foundation.”

Sony Pictures Imageworks software engineering architect Larry Gritz, who was OSL’s founder/chief architect, noted that, “joining the Foundation is the next step to help us expand the Open Shading Language community.” “We have some major development efforts underway, including bringing OSL to a full GPU ray traced implementation,” he said. “The additional resources, support, and increased community involvement that the Foundation facilitates will be highly beneficial.”

ASWF stated that it will “maintain and further develop the project with oversight provided by a technical steering committee.” Interested developers can sign up here to join the mailing list.

ASWF executive director David Morin also announced that AMD has joined the Foundation as a Premier member and DockYard as a General member. “We look forward to working with AMD and DockYard, and leveraging their expertise in graphics, rendering, and software development,” he said.

AMD VFX and virtual production director James Knight noted that, “with the ever-increasing use of AMD’s CPUs in the motion picture industry, and as we collaborate with more and more studios, we feel it is imperative to help drive best practices as a major technology provider.”

At DockYard, a digital product consultancy, chief executive Jon Lacks said that, “as evangelists of the open-source community, we’re thrilled to support the Academy Software Foundation in its mission to establish best practices for technology collaboration within the entertainment industry.”