Pixar and the OpenSubdiv Project
At the Autodesk booth at Siggraph 2012, the Pixar GPU Team comprised of Takahito Tejima, Dirk Van Gelder, Manuel Kraemer, and David Yu announced and demonstrated their recent work on an open-source project called OpenSubdiv.
Their demo utilized Maya's Viewport 2.0 to demonstrate some stunning real-time results that included deformation of around 1.5 million vertices on a model (the ToadKing rides again!) with multiple channel maps displayed. Vector Displacment was extracted from the model (sculpted and painted in) Mudbox, along with all of the Diffuse, Specularity and Reflectivity and displayed with a simple rig that allowed full deformation IN REAL TIME!
Why is this important?
Aside from being incredibly cool, there is a very important production reason for this. At render time, subdivision surfaces are most often used to achieve smooth and clean results that accurately and properly mimic the models in a scene. This is great at render time, but what about during animation, set layout, effects, or anything else that needs to interact with specific features of that model's surface? When working on a production animators, for example, are working with a more simplistic, low-res or even proxy version of the models in the scene. This is typically done for performance so that animators can preview the work in real-time. However, the historical problem with this process is that it makes it difficult to properly interact with objects. A scaley hand grasping a weapon or a shirt colliding with rippled skin, for example, require a more delicate approach during animation. Previewing the full-subdivided surface in real-time, at ALL times, solves a number of these issues. This code is being utilised in Pixar's pipeline in current productions right now and is changing how animators work by taking a huge chunk of guess work out of animation and interaction. This is resulting in a shortened time in the production process.
Watch the Pixar OpenSubdiv presentation with Autodesk here:
Find out more information about OpenSubdiv at the Pixar research web site here: http://www.opensubdiv.com/
OpenSubdiv is covered by an opensource license, and is free to use for commercial or non-commercial use. The source code for OpenSubdiv is located at the link below and has entered open beta for SIGGRAPH 2012. Feel free to use it and let Pixar know what you think through the following site:
(Platforms supported: Windows, Linux, limited OSX)
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