Universal Scene Description (USD)

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Computer graphic productions (films, games, or other forms) typically generate, store, and transmit a great deal of 3D data. That data comes from various sources (animators, lighting or shading artists, modelers, fx artists, and more) who use a wide range of applications (Unreal Engine, Maya, Houdini, Blender) in the pipeline, each of which have historically had their own proprietary form of scene description tailored to the specific needs and workflows of the task or application.

The Universal Scene Description (USD) format was developed by Pixar to address the need to robustly and scalably interchange and augment arbitrary 3D scenes that may be composed of many elemental assets. USD not only provides a rich toolset for reading, writing, editing, and rapidly previewing 3D geometry and shading, but it also provides for the interchange of elemental assets (for example, models) or animations.

Unlike other interchange packages, however, USD also enables assembly and organization of any number of assets into virtual sets, scenes, and shots, which you can then transmit from application to application, and non-destructively edit them (as overrides), with a single, consistent API, in a single scenegraph.

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