Tag Archives: Open Source

Pixar to make Universal Scene Description open-sourced

Pixar Animation Studios, whose latest feature film is Inside Out,  will release Universal Scene Description software (USD) as an open-source project by summer 2016. USD addresses the growing need in the CG film and game industries for an effective way to describe, assemble, interchange and modify high-complexity virtual scenes between digital content creation tools employed by studios.

At the core of USD are Pixar’s techniques for composing and non-destructively editing graphics “scene graphs,” techniques that Pixar has been cultivating for close to 20 years, dating back to A Bug’s Life. These techniques, such as file-referencing, layered overrides, variation and inheritance, were completely overhauled into a robust and uniform design for Pixar’s next-generation animation system, Presto.

Although it is still under active development and optimization, USD has been in use for nearly a year in the making of Pixar’s production Finding Dory.

The open-source Alembic project brought standardization of cached geometry interchange to the VFX industry. USD hopes to build on Alembic’s success, taking the next step of standardizing the “algebra” by which assets are aggregated and refined in-context.

The USD distribution will include embeddable direct 3D visualization provided by Pixar’s modern GPU renderer, Hydra, as well as plug-ins for several key VFX DCCs, comprehensive documentation, tutorials and complete python bindings.

Pixar has already been sharing early USD snapshots with a number of industry vendors and studios for evaluation, feedback and advance incorporation. Among the vendors helping to evaluate USD are The Foundry and Fabric Software.


In related news, to accelerate production of its computer-animated feature films and short film content, Pixar Animation Studios is licensing a suite of Nvidia technologies related to image rendering.

The multiyear strategic licensing agreement gives Pixar access to Nvidia’s quasi-Monte Carlo (QMC) rendering methods. These methods can make rendering more efficient, especially when powered by GPUs and other massively parallel computing architectures.

As part of the agreement, Nvidia will also contribute raytracing technology to Pixar’s OpenSubdiv Project, an open-source initiative to promote high-performance subdivision surface evaluation on massively parallel CPU and GPU architectures. The OpenSubdiv technology will enable rendering of complex Catmull-Clark subdivision surfaces in animation with incredible precision.

Southpaw upgrades Open Source Tactic, brings code to GitHub

TORONTO — Southpaw Technology has launched an upgrade to the backend and frontend of its open source digital workflow platform, Tactic. Major enhancements include a drag ‘n’ drop ingestion widget, a MongoDB integration, a Perforce Integration, an internal messaging tool and more.

Southpaw  (www.southpawtech.com) also deployed their code on GitHub for those programmers serious about collaborating on the Tactic open source code base. The latest version of Tactic can be downloaded from the Tactic Community site (http://community.southpawtech.com/get-started) or from the Tactic GitHub project (https://github.com/Southpaw-TACTIC/TACTIC).

Tactic is an open-source, Web-based platform that allows users to manage the development and delivery of digital assets through the entire content creation process. Designed for busy work environments with high volumes of content traffic, Tactic streamlines workflow by applying business logic to disparate data and file system environments and by dynamically visualizing every aspect through web-based delivery. The platform seamlessly combines elements of DAM, PAM, CMS and ECM technologies, offering users a set of tools to create a wide range of customized enterprise workflow solutions or smart process applications.

tactic_ingest_002Latest Tactic Enhancements:
MongoDB – Tactic can now treat any arbitrary data source as a first-class data source. The initial implementation of this abstraction is an integration into the leading noSQL database, MongoDB. Other NoSQL databases will follow soon.

Perforce Integration – Coders using Tactic alongside the software configuration management system, Perforce, can now check in files to a Perforce repository directly from the Tactic interface. Naming conventions are automatically enforced to ensure they are organized properly.

Ingestion Widget – A new ingestion widget allows users to drag ‘n’ drop any file from Windows Explorer or Mac Finder into Tactic. This is particularly useful for companies just getting started with Tactic that have thousands of files to ingest.

Messaging – A central messaging tool allows users to communicate more easily with each other all along the workflow pipeline. Messages can also be automated based on events, such as file status changes or file check ins.

Performance Enhancements – Drag ‘n’ drop file uploads, asynchronous loading of interface elements and folder-like browsing of assets, are designed to boost the performance of Tactic and enhance the user experience.

Deployment of the new Tactic features can be supported by the Southpaw Professional Services team, which provides workflow advice and technical expertise for companies needing to rapidly extend the functionality of Tactic across departments, studios and entire enterprises.