Apple joins Pixar, Adobe, and others to form OpenUSD alliance for 3D Universal Scene technology

Nishita Gupta
Nishita Gupta August 5, 2023
Updated 2023/09/10 at 8:31 AM

Apple has teamed up with Pixar, Adobe, Autodesk, NVIDIA, and Linux to support and advance Pixar’s 3D Universal Scene Description technology. Pixar Animation Studios developed the Open Universal Scene Description (USD). According to Apple, USD enables easier creation of 3D content using diverse tools.

The alliance is aiming to make the 3D ecosystem more standardised by enhancing the capabilities of Open Universal Scene Description (OpenUSD). This will lead to better interoperability among 3D tools and data, which will allow developers and content creators to describe, compose, and simulate large-scale 3D projects easily. As a result, the alliance hopes to expand the range of 3D-enabled products and services available.

OpenUSD is a 3D scene description technology developed by Pixar Animation Studios. It offers high-performance, robust interoperability across various tools, data, and workflows and is already known for its ability to streamline cinematic content production and capture artistic expression. OpenUSD’s power and flexibility make it an ideal platform for new industries and applications.

“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.”

To enable greater compatibility and broader adoption, an alliance will develop written specifications outlining the features of OpenUSD. These specifications will be included by other standards bodies, allowing for integration and implementation. The project will be hosted by the Linux Foundation’s JDF, enabling open, efficient, and effective development of OpenUSD specifications, leading to recognition through the International Organization for Standardization (ISO).

The alliance also invites a broad range of companies and organisations to join and participate in shaping the future of OpenUSD. AOUSD will provide the primary forum for the collaborative definition of enhancements to the technology by the more significant industry.

“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.”

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