The Academy Software Foundation kicked off two projects on the opening day of CG confab SIGGRAPH: The Open Review Initiative, aimed at developing an open source toolset for playing, rating and approving movies and other entertainment media; and the Digital Production Sample Library, which will provide production-grade sample content for testing hardware and software development.
Founded in August 2018 as a partnership between the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences and the Linux Foundation, the Academy Software Foundation is a neutral hub for the development of open source software (i.e. publicly available software) used in areas of the entertainment industry such as animation, visual effects and sound.
The new Open Review Initiative stems from the foundation’s Review and Approval Working Group, which was established in 2021 in response to how COVID-19 reshaped manufacturing workflows. The group’s goals were to examine the state of playback and rating systems and explore the possibility of creating a common set of tools.
The initiative will be led by a steering committee that includes representatives from software developer Autodesk and VFX firms DNEG and Sony Pictures Imageworks. As part of the effort, Autodesk is making its RV rating and playback software available as an open source tool. Similarly, DNEG’s xSTUDIO and Imageworks’ itView review and playback applications will be available as open source software.
“The review and approval landscape spans a deceptively large number of interconnected systems — including playback, production tracking, asset management, editorial integration, transcoding, transport, and annotations,” said Erik Strauss, who will become president of the Open Review Initiative. “Each of the code contributions from Autodesk, DNEG and Imageworks is of great value and covers different areas that we want to include in a best-in-class system. Their convergence over time, driven by a shared vision and contribution strategy, is the most efficient approach to solving the needs of the entire creative community.”
The foundation’s new digital production sample library was created as a vendor-neutral platform for test content with a unified license agreement available to developers, researchers, and educators.
One of DPEL’s first hosted assets is the American Society of Cinematographer’s recently completed Standard Evaluation Material II (StEM 2), which consists of a 17-minute short film, The missionwhich is designed to load image processing and display systems, including high dynamic range and high frame rates.
Additional resources hosted by DPEL at launch include Intel’s Volumetric Clouds Library, Amazon Web Services’ animated character resources, and Animal Logic’s ALab Phase 2 production scene. (Last month, Netflix acquired animation studio Animal Logic).