NVIDIA Omniverse for AEC/O is getting a major boost as the chip company furthers efforts with partners to accelerate the Metaverse and new generation AI to propel game-changing new ways of working. The effort is centered around making Pixar’s USD (Universal Scene Description) file format more broadly utilized and extensible beyond its original target industry—visual effects (VFX).
Partners and USD
Partners including Pixar, Adobe, Autodesk, Siemens, and several other leading companies, along with NVIDIA, will pursue a multi-year roadmap to expand the capabilities of the USD format for industries like architecture, engineering, manufacturing, scientific computing, robotics, and industrial digital twins.
There is even discussion about encoding the IFC schema into USD, exploring the way BIM schemas work for the AEC/O industry. AEC Magazine reported that NVIDIA figures IFC is the most likely path forward for bringing universal interoperability for the BIM industry into the Omniverse platform.
At SIGGRAPH, at a special address session, NVIDIA announced its USD plans in more detail, including international character support, which is critical to taking Omniverse to all countries. Geospatial coordinates are also in the works to enable city-scale and planetary-scale digital twins. And real-time streaming of IoT data will further boost the future development of real-time syncing of digital twins to their physical counterparts.
USD Compatibility Testing and Certification Suite
NVIDIA has created a USD Compatibility, and Certification Suite, free to use by developers to test their USD builds and certify they work as planned.
“Beyond media and entertainment, USD will give 3D artists, designers, developers, and others the ability to work collaboratively across diverse workflows and applications as they build virtual worlds,” said Rev Lebaredian, vice president of Omniverse and simulation technology at NVIDIA. “Working with our community of partners, we’re investing in USD so that it can serve as the foundation for architecture, manufacturing, robotics, engineering, and many more domains.”
Open-Source USD Resources
The chip company has also released free resources to help speed up the adoption of USD, including USD assets purpose-built for virtual world-building, plus hundreds of on-demand tutorials, documentation and developer tools.
“USD is a cornerstone of Pixar’s pipeline, and it’s seeing rapidly growing momentum as an open-source framework across not only VFX and animation, but now industrial, design, and scientific applications,” said Steve May, chief technology officer at Pixar Animation Studios. “NVIDIA’s contributions to help evolve USD as the open foundation of fully interoperable 3D platforms will be a great benefit across industries.”
What Partners Are Saying
“Autodesk has been closely involved in the development of USD from its early inception as a means of standardizing the exchange of 3D data in animation and visual effects workflows,” said Raji Arasu, executive vice president and chief technology officer at Autodesk. “We have long understood the importance of 3D interoperability and have already begun extending USD’s applications beyond media and entertainment to design, engineering and industrial applications. We are excited by the momentum behind USD from partners like NVIDIA, which we believe will help better realize the concept of the metaverse and all the workflows it unlocks for our customers.”
“Siemens and NVIDIA are coming together to enable the industrial metaverse where the future of design, engineering and collaboration will occur,” said Dirk Didascalou, chief technology officer of Siemens Digital Industries. “We are excited to support USD in the Siemens Xcelerator platform and plan to collaborate with NVIDIA on the next generation of the format.”
“The promise of USD is immense. At Volvo, we immediately understood the value of the open, extensible, interoperable 3D scene description for our metaverse projects. Being able to maintain assets as a single source of truth and bring them from virtual world to virtual world will be seamless in 3D internet consumer applications,” said Mattias Wikenmalm, senior expert of visualization at Volvo Cars.
Finally, NVIDIA has announced its own investment in building USD plugins for popular 3D software ecosystems to NVIDIA Omniverse. New beta releases for these include PTC Creo, SideFX Houdini, Autodesk Alias, Autodesk Civil3D, and Siemens Xcelerator. And there are more coming.
Architosh Analysis and Commentary
While the push from NVIDIA to encode IFC into USD is a big deal, today, there are products available to support the conversion of IFC models to USD. CAD Exchanger makes this possible, for example. Getting IFC into USD is just a baby step in a grander vision. IFC itself seeks to solve many of its own limitations, but the possible marriage with USD is a promising and exciting next development.