Apple joins alliance with Pixar, Adobe, Autodesk, and NVIDIA to drive open standards for 3D Content

In General XR News

August 3, 2023 – Pixar, Adobe, Apple, Autodesk, and NVIDIA, together with the Joint Development Foundation (JDF), a part of the Linux Foundation family, have this week announced the Alliance for OpenUSD (AOUSD) to promote the standardization, development, evolution, and growth of Pixar’s Universal Scene Description (USD) technology.

The alliance seeks to standardize the 3D ecosystem by advancing the capabilities of Open Universal Scene Description (OpenUSD). In its announcement, the alliance stated that by promoting greater interoperability of 3D tools and data, it aims to enable developers and content creators to describe, compose, and simulate large-scale 3D projects and build an ever-widening range of 3D-enabled products and services.

What is OpenUSD?

Created by Pixar Animation Studios, OpenUSD is a high-performance 3D scene description technology that offers interoperability across tools, data, and workflows. It serves as a foundation for managing and processing 3D graphics data and scenes in a variety of applications, including computer animation, visual effects, and virtual reality (VR). OpenUSD provides a standardized and efficient way to store, exchange, and manipulate complex 3D data, enabling artists, animators, and developers to collaborate more effectively on large-scale projects.

“Universal Scene Description was invented at Pixar and is the technological foundation of our state-of-the-art animation pipeline,” said Steve May, Chief Technology Officer at Pixar and Chairperson of AOUSD. “OpenUSD is based on years of research and application in Pixar filmmaking. 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. With the announcement of AOUSD, we signal the exciting next step: the continued evolution of OpenUSD as a technology and its position as an international standard.”

Universal Scene Description was created by Pixar Animation Studios. Shown above – a still from Disney Pixar’s short film ‘Piper’

The alliance will develop written specifications detailing the features of OpenUSD in order to enable greater compatibility and wider adoption, integration, and implementation. This will also allow inclusion by other standards bodies into their specifications.

The Linux Foundation’s JDF was chosen to house the project as it provides the corporate and legal infrastructure to enable organizations to develop technical specifications, standards, data sets, and source code. As a result, the JDF will enable open, efficient, and effective development of OpenUSD specifications, while providing a path to recognition through the International Organization for Standardization (ISO).

AOUSD will provide the primary forum for the collaborative definition of enhancements to the technology by the greater industry. The alliance also opened an invitation to any companies and organizations interested and looking to join and participate in shaping the future of OpenUSD.

“OpenUSD will help accelerate the next generation of AR experiences, from artistic creation to content delivery, and produce an ever-widening array of spatial computing applications,” said Mike Rockwell, Apple’s vice president of the Vision Products Group. “Apple has been an active contributor to the development of USD, and it is an essential technology for the groundbreaking visionOS platform, as well as the new Reality Composer Pro developer tool. We look forward to fostering its growth into a broadly adopted standard.”

“OpenUSD gives 3D developers, artists, and designers the complete foundation to tackle large-scale industrial, digital content creation, and simulation workloads with broad multi-app interoperability,” said Guy Martin, Director of Open Source and Standards at NVIDIA. “This alliance is a unique opportunity to accelerate OpenUSD collaboration globally by building formal standards across industries and initiatives to realize 3D worlds and industrial digitalization.”

“Whether you’re building CG worlds or digital twins or looking ahead to the 3D web, content creators need a cohesive way to collaborate and share data across tools, services, and platforms,” said Gordon Bradley, Fellow, Media & Entertainment, Autodesk. “Autodesk is excited to support the Alliance for OpenUSD as it drives 3D interoperability for visual effects, animation, and beyond, and supports our vision to help customers design and make a better world.”

To learn more about AOUSD and how to get involved, visit the alliance’s website.

Image / video credit: AOUSD / Disney Pixar / NVIDIA Studio YouTube

About the author

Sam Sprigg

Sam is the Founder and Managing Editor of Auganix. With a background in research and report writing, he has been covering XR industry news for the past seven years.