Five major tech giants – Pixar, Adobe, Apple, Autodesk, and NVIDIA – have come together with the Joint Development Foundation (JDF), an affiliate of the Linux Foundation, to announce the formation of the Alliance for OpenUSD (AOUSD). This union, announced on August 1, 2023, aims to advance Pixar’s Universal Scene Description (USD) technology, a robust 3D scene description tool, and drive the standardization and development of 3D content.

At its core, the AOUSD aims to streamline and standardize the 3D ecosystem through OpenUSD. By enhancing the interoperability of 3D tools and data, the alliance will enable developers and content creators to effectively design, compose, and simulate extensive 3D projects, thereby broadening the scope of 3D-enabled products and services.

Apple Leaps into the VR Universe with OpenUSD

This formation of AOUSD marks a significant development for Apple, as it gears up to launch its highly anticipated Apple Vision Pro, marking its foray into the realm of virtual reality (VR). OpenUSD is pegged to play a pivotal role in Apple’s groundbreaking visionOS platform, as well as its new Reality Composer Pro developer tool.

“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.

The Apple Vision Pro, a mixed reality headset, is expected to be priced at around $3,500 and available exclusively through Apple’s online and retail stores in early 2024. Equipped with two high-resolution displays, a powerful processor, and various sensors, it allows tracking of the user’s head, eyes, and hands, promising to revolutionize applications such as gaming, education, and enterprise use.

OpenUSD: An Evolving International Standard

OpenUSD, created by Pixar Animation Studios, offers robust interoperability across tools, data, and workflows, facilitating the collaborative capture of artistic expression and streamlining cinematic content production. Its potential goes beyond film and animation, reaching into industries that increasingly rely on 3D data interchange.

Steve May, Chief Technology Officer at Pixar and Chairperson of AOUSD, voiced his optimism, “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.”

The AOUSD will develop written specifications detailing the features of OpenUSD, thus ensuring its compatibility, adoption, integration, and implementation across different industry standards. Additionally, the AOUSD invites a broad range of companies and organizations to join and participate in shaping the future of OpenUSD.

The Dawn of a Unified 3D Ecosystem

This collaboration symbolizes the growing need for a cohesive way to collaborate and share data across 3D tools, services, and platforms. With OpenUSD at its core, the AOUSD brings with it the promise of an interoperable 3D ecosystem, setting the stage for the next generation of 3D products and services, and paving the way for Apple’s dive into the VR space.

To learn more about AOUSD and to get involved, you can visit their official website at Attend the Academy Software Foundation panel on USD on Aug. 6, 2023, by visiting their website.