Pixar, Adobe, Apple, Autodesk, and Nvidia, in collaboration with the Joint Development Foundation (JDF), an affiliate of the Linux Foundation, have recently announced the creation of the Alliance for OpenUSD (AOUSD). The purpose of this alliance is to foster the standardization, development, evolution, and expansion of Pixar’s Universal Scene Description (USD) technology, with the aim of standardizing the 3D ecosystem.
Open Universal Scene Description, or OpenUSD, is a high-performance 3D scene description technology developed by Pixar Animation Studios. It’s recognized for its capacity to capture artistic expression and streamline content creation, offering robust interoperability across various tools, data, and workflows. The technology is versatile and suited to the requirements of different industries and applications beyond just film and visual effects.
The AOUSD seeks to advance the capabilities of OpenUSD by promoting greater interoperability of 3D tools and data. This will enable developers and content creators to describe, compose, and simulate large-scale 3D projects, paving the way for an increasing variety of 3D-enabled products and services. With the new alliance, the potential of OpenUSD expands to industries that increasingly depend on 3D data for media interchange.
An essential task for the alliance is the development of written specifications detailing the features of OpenUSD. These specifications will facilitate broader compatibility, adoption, integration, and implementation, allowing the inclusion of OpenUSD by other standards bodies into their specifications. The Linux Foundation’s JDF has been chosen to host the project. This will facilitate the open, efficient, and effective development of OpenUSD specifications and provide a route to recognition through the International Organization for Standardization (ISO).
The AOUSD will also serve as the main forum for the collaborative definition of enhancements to the technology by the wider industry. A variety of companies and organizations are invited to join and participate in shaping the future of OpenUSD.
Steve May, Chief Technology Officer at Pixar and Chairperson of AOUSD, stated that OpenUSD is a result of years of research and application in Pixar filmmaking. Open-sourced in 2016, the technology now extends to other industries, signaling the next evolutionary step in its development.
Guido Quaroni, Senior Director of Engineering, 3D&I at Adobe, emphasized the role of OpenUSD as a common 3D data representation that acts as a ‘multiplier’ in the creative process.
According to Mike Rockwell, Apple’s vice president of the Vision Products Group, OpenUSD will fuel the next wave of AR experiences, and it is vital for platforms like the visionOS and developer tools like Reality Composer Pro.
Gordon Bradley, Fellow, Media & Entertainment, Autodesk, expressed support for the alliance as it drives 3D interoperability in various fields, including visual effects and animation.
Nvidia’s Guy Martin, Director of Open Source and Standards, stressed that OpenUSD provides a foundation for large-scale industrial, digital content creation, and simulation workloads, offering extensive interoperability across applications.
The formation of AOUSD represents a unique collaboration among industry leaders to build formal standards across different sectors and initiatives, laying the groundwork for realizing 3D worlds and advancing industrial digitization. By consolidating efforts and expertise, the alliance anticipates a future where 3D technologies are more accessible, standardized, and innovative.