Apple bets on Pixar technology to create virtual worlds for Vision Pro

Apple scommette sulla tecnologia Pixar per creare mondi virtuali per Vision Pro thumbnail

Apple has unveiled its long-awaited headset Vision Proa device that opens doors to immersive 3D worlds high quality. However, behind the magic of this visual experience there is a fundamental aspect that often escapes attention: the Creating 3D worlds requires an enormous amount of work and effort by creatives and developers. For this reason, Apple has decided to bet on Pixar technology and co-founded, with Adobe, Autodesk and Nvidia, theAlliance for OpenUSD.

Apple bets on Pixar for Vision Pro virtual reality

Apple, aware of the importance of providing a ecosystem of high-quality 3D content and apps for its Vision Pro headset, it has called on developers and creatives to help build a universe of three-dimensional experiences. To facilitate the creation of this type of content, Apple has partnered with a group of giantsforming an alliance.

L’Alliance for OpenUSDcomposed of giants such as Apple, Pixar, Adobe, Autodesk e Nvidiasets itself the ambitious goal of standardizing and developing the technology Universal Scene Description (USD)originally conceived by Pixar. The scope of this collaboration goes far beyond the simple sharing of resources. It aims to revolutionize the 3D content creation process.

What is OpenUSD?

In simple terms, USD is a file format designed to encode 3D scenes. But reducing its complexity to such a simple definition would be a mistake. In the film and game industry, producing 3D content requires the manipulation, storage and transmission of huge amounts of data, known as “scene description”.

This pipeline involves a number of specialized applications for different stages of the creative process. Ranging from animation to modeling, lighting to shading and rendering. These applications usually use proprietary scene description formats. Which are often not compatible with each other and make collaboration and project sharing difficult.

USD solves this by allowing for 3D tools along the pipeline to communicate with each other. In other words, creative tools can interact and work on a single description of the scene. Allowing creators to collaborate synergistically on the same scene or project. Changes made to one aspect of the environment automatically reverberate to all related partsmaking the creative process more efficient and minimizing communication errors.

Apple’s bet on Pixar technology

Apple has a sizable interest in the widespread adoption of OpenUSD. If it is widely adopted by creative tools, this could benefit developers in the easier creation of 3D apps for the Vision Pro headset.

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Apple wants to create an ecosystem capable of offering compelling apps that make users prefer its headsets over similar products, like those of Meta. Especially if and when Apple launches a more accessible version of its Vision Pro viewer.

It should be noted that USD is not the only one “standardized” format available, nor does it constitute a new development. However, it is currently the favorite to become the industry standard, unlike competing formats such as Alembic. This is due to its flexibility to adapt to extremely intricate development pipelines. Numerous standard applications in industry, such as Autodesk Maya, Adobe Substance 3D and the Nvidia Omniverse platform already support USD. E these same companies have played a key role in its standardization.

A standardization that has been going on for years

Apple has started experimenting with the USD format already a few years ago, when its use was more concentrated in the cinematographic field. As The Verge recalls, at WWDC 2018, the company announced the creation of a newor AR file format called USDZ, intended for AR content within iOS applications such as Messages and Safari.

At that time, Apple was already partnering with Pixar, Adobe and Autodesk for creating this new format. After all, the link between Apple and Pixar is rooted in time, partly thanks to Steve Jobs.

USD has been around for some time. Pixar launched USD in 2016, but there were hopes beforehand that it would become the industry standard for 3D content creation. But he is increasingly catching on, so much so that Nvidia compares him to HTML for the metaverse.

However, Tuesday’s announcement has some notable absences: Metamaker of the Quest headsets, and the trio Google, Samsung e Qualcomm, active in the development of a new XR platform. Meanwhile Epic Games, which develops the much used Unreal Engine, says it is “excited to see the formation” of the Alliance for OpenUSD. That could become the standard format for VR content. Or not: it remains to be seen whether Meta and the other absentees will be able to provide an alternative. But it is on these “technical” decisions that the future of the metaverse is played (even if Apple does not want to call it that).

Walker Ronnie is a tech writer who keeps you informed on the latest developments in the world of technology. With a keen interest in all things tech-related, Walker shares insights and updates on new gadgets, innovative advancements, and digital trends. Stay connected with Walker to stay ahead in the ever-evolving world of technology.