The USD ALab

Animal Logic Entertainment has announced the open source release of USD ALab, just in time for SIGGRAPH 2021.   The USD ALab is a fully realised USD Scene that aims to encourage further collaboration and exploration by the wider community!

As an early adopter of Pixar’s Universal Scene Description (USD), Animal Logic began transitioning their Sydney and Vancouver studios to an end-to-end USD based pipeline during production on Peter Rabbit in 2017 and completing with Peter Rabbit 2 in March of 2020.

“We believe USD to be a foundational technology for our industry and broader communities, and we encourage the release of open source assets to educate and inspire others to conduct their own exploration,” said CTO Darin Grant.

This whole ALab concept came out of an idea from Animal Logic’s Art Department.  The team got together and came up with something, ‘uniquely animal’, involving a secret backyard shed.  “The resulting asset suite draws on the unique aesthetic that you’ll find in our studios, and there’s also some fun Easter eggs in there, that link back to 30 years of Animal Logic’s branding,” adds Aidan Sarsfield, the Head of Production Technology at Animal Logic.

“There are two downloads available, including guiding documents and two sets of textures,” explains Supervising Assets TD, Jens Jebens. “The first download contains the ALab scene assets themselves, derived from our production assets and conformed for compatibility to allow them to load in any tool which supports USD. The second download is an optional extra, a ‘production rendering Texture Pack,’ which delivers 4K OpenEXR textures with udims for production style rendering.”

“In addition to the USD assets, we’ve included documentation that showcases some new ideas and concepts from our experience using USD, including the idea of render procedural definitions, an extremely useful concept that we have not seen in USD to date.” explains Grant.  “We hope that this combination provides the starting point for future contributors to showcase their own ideas for discussion, promotion, and hopeful adoption.”

USD ALab is also the first asset set to adopt the Academy Software Foundation’s asset license.   Animal Logic wanted to allow for the broadest use of these assets to promote education, training, and demonstration by students, studios, and vendors. 

“Initially motivated by our own desire to create unencumbered assets for demonstration and presentation purposes, we realised that the industry at-large could use something similar and pushed to release them,” explains Sarsfield.  “I’m excited to see how ALab develops in the community, particularly as we will be extending the data set over time.”

The USD ALab data set is hosted on Animal Logic’s website courtesy of Amazon Web Services and is now available to access at the link below, in Related Links.

Related links, (see?)

USD ALab data set

SIGGRAPH 2021

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