Guest: Guy Martin (LinkedIn)
Company: NVIDIA (Twitter)
Show: Let’s Talk

In this video, NVIDIA Director of Open Source and Standards Guy Martin talks about the formation of an alliance to promote the standardization and development of the Open Universal Scene Description (OpenUSD) technology.

OpenUSD and the Alliance:

  • Universal Scene Description (USD) was developed by Pixar to support large-scale visual effects and animation in their feature films. It became clear that its potential went beyond the film industry, so they decided to open source as OpenUSD in 2016.
  • NVIDIA adopted OpenUSD for its Omniverse platform.
  • Earlier this month, the Alliance for OpenUSD (AOUSD) was formed to promote the standardization and development of the OpenUSD technology.
  • Standardization is needed so that 1) alternative implementations (e.g., different language or technology stack) retain compatibility, and 2) businesses can build their technology stack on it, knowing that it’s going to be supported and maintained.
  • Founding members: Pixar, Adobe, Apple, Autodesk, and NVIDIA.
  • General members: Cesium, Epic Foundry, Hexagon, IKEA, SideFX, and Unity.
  • Future members: AOUSD welcomes anybody that has something to do with 3D, from system-level vendors, software companies, etc. If they need to describe 3D content, then they can help drive the standard as well as understand what the standard is going to be in OpenUSD.
  • The Joint Development Foundation (JDF), an affiliate of the Linux Foundation, will house the project. It was chosen because it will provide the right balance of rigor to create specifications that can be recognized as an international standard and the flexible governance model that would adapt at the scale and speed that OpenUSD is going.
  • AOUSD is pursuing an official liaison agreement with the Academy Software Foundation (ASWF) because they believe that the OpenUSD work that’s already going on in the media and entertainment will inform what’s going on in the standard.
  • It is also pursuing a liaison agreement with the Khronos Group because it’s important for USD and glTF (GL Transmission Format) to work effectively together. A lot of companies have made significant investments in both ecosystems.
  • Another possible collaboration down the line is with the Open 3D Foundation, which is working on 3D engines.

On USD and gITF:

  • People look at USD as a great authoring and editing format while glTF is a great lightweight runtime and delivery format for 3D content. Many like to pit these 2 against each other, but there’s a lot of opportunity for collaboration so that both standards fulfill what they were designed to do.

Next steps for AOUSD:

  • Build out the core specifications, i.e., look at the Pixar code base and agree on what is considered the core pieces of that technology.
  • Build a solid set of interoperable materials standards so that you can describe how something looks but also how it behaves in the real world.
  • Stand up other working groups so they can start building standards, everything from physics to animation, rigging materials, solid modeling, etc.
  • These working groups will probably need some reference implementations so there is a possibility that some code will be built that would live within AOUSD.

This summary was written by Camille Gregory.

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