Tech Firms Join Pixar in Group Promoting OpenUSD Standard

Led by Pixar Animation Studios, a consortium of tech companies has formed the Alliance for OpenUSD to promote an open 3D computer graphics standard for the metaverse and other 3D projects. Adobe, Apple, Autodesk and Nvidia are also founding members along with the Linux Foundation’s Joint Development Foundation. The group will promote the development and standardization of Pixar’s Universal Scene Description tech, a 3D platform that is interoperable across a variety of tools, data and workflows. The goal is to make it easier to describe, compose and simulate large-scale 3D imaging projects and services across industries and platforms worldwide.

OpenUSD is already a popular collaborative tool for cinematic content production, and the group is focused on putting it out there for new industries and applications. The alliance aims to encourage developers and content creators to keep the range of products and services expanding.

The OpenUSD methodology was used by Pixar as far back as 1998’s “A Bug’s Life,” which “served as an inspiration for the file format’s collaborative capabilities, allowing multiple animators to work together on the same scene at once,” writes SiliconANGLE, explaining that “Pixar open-sourced the Universal Scene Description format in 2016 in a bid to make it the go-to standard for 3D workflows.”

“OpenUSD is based on years of research and application in Pixar filmmaking,” Pixar CTO and OpenUSD Chair Steve May said, calling the framework “the technological foundation of our state-of-the-art animation pipeline” in a news announcement. “We open-sourced the project in 2016, and the influence of OpenUSD now expands beyond film, visual effects, and animation and into other industries that increasingly rely on 3D data for media interchange.”

Several companies already creating in the 3D ecosystem have already signed on as AOUSD general members, among them Cesium, Epic Games, Foundry, Hexagon, IKEA, SideFX and Unity.

“Standardizing OpenUSD will accelerate its adoption, creating a foundational technology that will help today’s 2D Internet evolve into a 3D web,” or Web 3.0, according to a blog post written by Nvidia Director of Open Source and Standards Guy Martin. Nvidia has been using OpenUSD for metaverse applications.

SilconANGLE says the AOUSD founding members “will work toward developing a written specification for OpenUSD that will detail features for the standard,” with the goal being to have the specs adopted by other standards bodies.

“The group chose the JDF as a partner because it will smooth effective development of specifications for OpenUSD and open an avenue for standardization through the International Organization for Standardization,” SiliconANGLE reports.

Apple Sees Vision Pro on Pixar Platform, TechRadar, 8/1/23
Apple Plays Nice with Others for an OpenUSD Metaverse, Computerworld, 8/2/23

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