Spirit Rangers Spirit Rangers

Superprod Group has become the first French studio to deploy a new pipeline based on Pixar’s open-source Universal Scene Description (USD) technology, presenting it publicly for the first time at the Radi Raf conference in Angoulême.

The studio currently has four features and six series in production. Its recent projects include Warner Bros. Animation’s Batwheels and Netflix’s Spirit Rangers. It is also working on an untitled Netflix feature directed by Aardman vet Steve Box (Wallace & Gromit: The Curse Of The Were Rabbit).

What is USD technology? USD is an open-source, high-performance extensible software platform for collaboratively constructing animated 3d scenes, designed to meet the needs of large-scale film and visual effects production. It’s already being used by major studios such as Pixar, MPC, and Animal Logic.

Benefits of USD technology: Working in a USD-based pipeline allows for all software to read and write data through the same system, meaning that artists from all departments can visualize and work on the same 3d scene throughout the production process. By removing previous technical constraints, the technology allows for a more iterative process without incurring extra costs. Scenes in the USD pipeline can also be read more quickly than previous methods, resulting in more detailed results, again without extra costs.

Why did Superprod make the change? Superprod first recognized Pixar’s USD system as the pipeline technology best fit to meet its needs back in 2019. Since then, the company has invested significant resources in creating a team to develop “Flow,” Superprod’s proprietary pipeline that aligns with the company’s current expansion strategy. The group has since deployed the pipeline at three Superprod studios: Paris, Angoulême, and Milan.

What are they saying: Virginie Créance, deputy senior vp Animation at Superprod, said in a release:

Animation is a highly competitive sector where the requirements of creativity and technology are constantly expanding. Our desire to keep up with developments in the industry has made investing in R&D essential to us. This strategy allows us to offer our partners the ability to create the most ambitious and highest-quality productions imaginable. The adoption of USD also gives us a chance to position ourselves at the forefront of new markets.

Superprod technical director Christophe Archambault and head of Flow Pipeline Marc Dubrois added:

Large studios such as Pixar, MPC, or Animal Logic were the first to implement USD because the changeover required a significant investment. Today, this USD-based pipeline positions Superprod as one of the top European studios, thanks to USD’s excellent performance and impressive pipeline possibilities.

Pictured at top: Netflix’s Spirit Rangers, co-produced by Superprod