DreamWorks Animation Releases Proprietary Volumetric Format OpenVDB to Open Source Community

Glendale, Calif. — August 3, 2012— DreamWorks Animation SKG, Inc. today announced the launch of OpenVDB, a previously proprietary sparse volume data format, to the Open Source community. OpenVDB enables a dramatic increase in the scale of achievable volumetric effects.

“DreamWorks Animation’s technology in the hands of our artists has created our rich, iconic characters and worlds. Our OpenVDB technology in particular has been the focus of intense industry interest,” said Dr. Lincoln Wallen, Head of Animation Technology at DreamWorks Animation. “We have benefitted from using Open Source, and we are pleased to contribute back into the Open Source community in sharing OpenVDB.”

“With OpenVDB volume technology we are able to overcome the memory limitations to which other data formats are subject,” said David Lipton, Head of Effects on DreamWorks Animation’s up-coming Mr. Peabody & Sherman release. “This allows us to create more detailed and interesting images than would otherwise be possible. By removing these limitations we are more free to achieve the director’s vision.”

OpenVDB is a hierarchical data structure and suite of tools for the efficient manipulation of sparse volumetric data. Developed by Dr. Ken Museth at DreamWorks Animation, OpenVDB stores sparse three-dimensional voxel grids in a compact form. It offers an effectively infinite index space, compact storage in memory and on disk, fast random and sequential data access. Additionally, the release contains a collection of algorithms designed for important operations such as filtering, constructive solid geometry, compositing, sampling and voxelization from other geometric representations. Further details on the technology will be published in a forthcoming paper in the ACM journal Transactions on Graphics.

DreamWorks Animation began development of OpenVDB several years ago and has extended and improved it over the course of several feature film productions. Within the studio, OpenVDB was rapidly adopted as a key technology for effects on features such as Puss in Boots and Madagascar 3: Europe’s Most Wanted.

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