The Academy Software Foundation launched two projects on the opening day of CG confab SIGGRAPH: The Open Review Initiative, aimed at developing a set of open source tools for reading, reviewing and approving films and other entertainment media; and the Digital Production Samples Library, which will make production-quality content samples available for testing hardware and software development.
Formed in August 2018 as a partnership between the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences and the Linux Foundation, the Academy Software Foundation is a neutral center for the development of open source software (i.e. publicly available software) used in the fields of the entertainment industry. such as animation, visual effects and sound.
The new open review initiative stems from the foundation’s Review and Approval Task Force, which was formed in 2021 in response to how COVID-19 was reshaping production workflows. The objectives of the group were to study the state of the reading and reviewing systems, and to explore the possibility of creating a common set of tools.
The initiative will be guided by a steering committee made up of representatives from software developer Autodesk and VFX companies DNEG and Sony Pictures Imageworks. As part of this effort, Autodesk is making its VR review and playback software available as an open source tool. Likewise, DNEG’s xSTUDIO and Imageworks’ itView review and playback applications will be available as open source software.
“The review and approval landscape encompasses a deceptive amount of interconnected systems – including playback, production tracking, asset management, editorial integration, transcoding, transport and annotations,” says Erik Strauss, who will chair the Open Review Initiative. “Each of the code contributions from Autodesk, DNEG and Imageworks provides significant value and addresses different areas that we aim to integrate into a best-in-class system. Their convergence over time, guided by a shared vision and contribution strategy, is the most effective approach to meeting the needs of the entire creative community.
The foundation’s new library of digital production examples was created as a vendor-neutral platform for testing content with a uniform licensing agreement available to developers, researchers, and educators.
One of the first assets hosted by DPEL is the recently completed Standard Evaluation Material II (StEM 2) by the American Society of Cinematographer, which includes a 17-minute short film, The missionwhich was designed to test image processing and exposure systems, including high dynamic range and high frame rates.
Additional resources hosted by DPEL at launch include Intel’s Volumetric Cloud Library, an animated character’s resources from Amazon Web Services, and Animal Logic’s ALab Phase 2 production scene. (Last month, Netflix acquired animation studio Animal Logic).