3-D content leaders align under Linux Foundation JDF

Pixar, Adobe, Apple, Autodesk and Nvidia have worked with the Joint Development Foundation (JDF), an affiliate of the Linux Foundation, to now announce the Alliance for OpenUSD (AOUSD).

Presumably pronounced Ah-Oh-You-Ess-Dee (rather than “aouzed”) this alliance seeks to promote the standardisation, development, evolution and growth of Pixar’s Universal Scene Description technology.

Universal Scene Description technology? 

Yes, but this is not a method for describing movie scenes of any particular kind in a standardised way from a creative storytelling point (at least not in the first place) to specify that people go here, mountains go there and dogs go somewhere else… this is (as Nvidia describes it) ‘more than a file format’, it’s an open source 3D scene description used for 3D content creation and interchange among different tools. 

“As a result of its power and versatility, it’s being widely adopted, not only in the visual effects community, but also in architecture, design, robotics, manufacturing and other industries,” notes Nvidia. 

In terms of use, Universal Scene Description technology can also be said to be a framework that focuses on collaboration, non-destructive editing and enabling multiple views and opinions about graphics data.


The alliance seeks to standardise the 3D ecosystem by advancing the capabilities of Open Universal Scene Description (OpenUSD). By promoting greater interoperability of 3D tools and data, the alliance will 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.

Created by Pixar Animation Studios, OpenUSD is a 3D scene description technology that offers interoperability across tools, data and workflows. Already known for its ability to collaboratively capture artistic expression and streamline cinematic content

production, OpenUSD’s power and flexibility make it an ideal content platform to embrace the needs of new industries and applications.

“Universal Scene Description was invented at Pixar and is the technological foundation of our state-of-the-art animation pipeline,” asserted Steve May, chief technology officer at Pixar and chairperson of AOUSD. 

May says that 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,” he added.

Written specifications 

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

The Linux Foundation’s JDF was chosen to house the project, as it has a track record in enabling open and efficient development of OpenUSD specifications, while providing a path to recognition through the International Organization for Standardization (ISO).

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

“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 an opportunity to accelerate OpenUSD collaboration globally by building formal standards across industries and initiatives to realise 3D worlds and industrial digitalisation.”

The Joint Development Foundation (JDF), part of the Linux Foundation Family, provides the corporate and legal infrastructure to enable organisations to develop technical specifications, standards, data sets and source code. 

Free image credits (below) – Wikipedia.

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