Tech giants – Apple, Pixar, Nvidia and others have come together to create the Alliance for OpenUSD to develop AR & VR standards.
The newly formed alliance will push and standardize Pixar’s Universal Scene Description (USD) technology, a file format that enables developers to move their work across different tools, which makes it easier to create 3D content for gaming, animation and metaverse experiences.
According to their website, the Alliance for OpenUSD (AOUSD) seeks to promote the interoperability of 3D content. This alliance is also meant to bring together a community that would collaborate on developments and discussions around OpenUSD-related issues.
AOUSD chairperson and Pixar CTO Steve May said OpenUSD, which is based on years of research and application in film-making, now expands beyond animation or visual effects to include other industries that “rely on 3D data for media interchange.”
Promising future for the alliance
OpenUSD was founded in 2012 by Pixar, to promote 3D foundations for their films and in 2016 it was made open source. In 2018, Apple joined forces with Pixar and announced plans to develop USDZ Universal file format which would be used to create 3D models for AR.
Now, the formation of the alliance signifies a greater move towards standardization in the 3D content creation pipeline with plans in place to develop written specifications to promote adoption and integration of OpenUSD.
Its future seems promising with support from gaming companies like Epic Games, while tech firms like Apple and Nvidia as founding members add weight to the initiative, and Apple is expected to release its Vision Pro mixed reality headset, months after the formation of the alliance.
Apple’s vice president Mike Rockwell said that the company had already been involved with OpenUSD contributing towards its development.
“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,” he said in a statement.
“Apple has been an active contributor to the development of USD, and it is an essential technology for the ground-breaking VisionOS platform, as well as the new Reality Composer Pro developer tool.”
Nvidia also weighed in saying: “Standardizing OpenUSD will accelerate its adoption, creating a foundational technology that will help today’s 2D internet evolve into a 3D web,” said Nvidia in a statement.
The alliance now plans to develop a standard that can later be used by other bodies. Companies like Unity, Epic, Foundry and SideFX have also offered some statements in support of the Alliance’s goals.
@Pixar, @Adobe, @Apple, @Autodesk, and @NVIDIA have formed the Alliance for #OpenUSD (AOUSD) to promote the standardization, development, evolution, and growth of @openusd technology to standardize the 3D ecosystem.
— Pixar's OpenUSD (@openusd) August 1, 2023
Someone is missing
Pixar, which has described USD as the “first open-source software that can robustly and scalably interchange 3D scenes,” sees the technology as a “fundamental requirement for those creating metaverse content.
However, while these big names are putting work into AR & VR development, one big name that has been making waves in the metaverse – Meta – is missing from the alliance.
The social media platforms giant, also maker of Quest headsets could play a big role in this alliance but seems to be missing out together with Google, Samsung and Qualcomm, which is working on a new XR platform.
According to Fagen Wasanni Technologies, the absence of these tech firms suggests there could be “competing efforts in the industry.”
Other firms involved in the AOUSD include Joint Development Foundation, Autodesk, and Adobe.