Pixar goes open source


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A few days ago at SIGGRAPH 12 conference, Pixar presented their latest hot technology called Open Subdiv. This is what Pixar uses in all their videos enjoying extreme flexibility that they can achieve with any kind of mesh topology through Subdivision Surfaces. This method is very efficient to model smooth shapes, such as a round face for a human character. For this task subdivision surfaces ensure that you always get an exactly rounded shape without any

sharp or polygonal edges. In addition, this is very important for facial expressions because a clean look is much easier to read the emotions. That’s why Pixar’s short films are so famous and successive — because audience fully understands the behaviour of the character.

Open Subdiv is very powerful performance wise. It supports GPU compute for Tessellation and internal computing through CUDA, while others are also supported, such as OpenCL, GLSL and OpenMP on CPU trying to be as versatile as possible — as well as multiplatform. Thus you can use Maya (Linux version) to do all the workspace running a modern PC at decent speed at an interactive framerate. To simply put, you can deform your object without losing FPS.

Open Subdiv it’s on the trees, on the birds, on the bears, it’s on everything in Pixar’s films; and now it’s free to use! Pixar is now legally granting license to all necessary SubDivision patterns because they have decided it is more important for the industry to be able to share this technology without messing around with intellectual property issues.  If you can’t wait longer, Open Subdiv it’s currently available on github and it’s still on beta due to some optimisation problems.

All in all you are able to use Open Subdiv for your project using any 3rd party animation, modelling and painting application (e.g. Blender). Pixar claimed that they want the whole ecosystem of applications to be consisted and available for everyone. Take a look to the presentation bellow to fully release what Open Subdiv is all about.

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