ILM & SPI update Alembic open source project
August 7, 2012

ILM & SPI update Alembic open source project

LOS ANGELES — Alembic 1.1, the open source project jointly developed by Sony Pictures Imageworks (SPI) and Lucasfilm Ltd. released its newest improvements and updates at this year’s ACM SIGGRAPH Conference, here. Joint development of Alembic was first announced at SIGGRAPH 2010 and Alembic 1.0 was released to the public at the 2011 SIGGRAPH conference in Vancouver. 

The software focuses on efficiently storing and sharing animation and visual effects scenes across multiple software applications. Since the software’s debut last year both companies have integrated the technology into their production pipelines. ILM notably using the software for their work on the 2012 blockbuster The Avengers and Sony Pictures Imageworks on the 2012 worldwide hits Men in Black 3 and The Amazing Spider-Man, in addition to the upcoming animated feature Hotel Transylvania, scheduled for release September 28.

Alembic 1.1’s updates include Python API bindings, support for Lights, Materials, and Collections, as well as core performance improvements and bug fixes. Feature updates to the Maya plug-in will also be included. The code base for Alembic is available for download on the project’s Google Code site and more information can be found online at:  

Since Alembic’s 1.0 release, solution providers such as Autodesk, The Foundry, Solid Angle, Side Effects and Luxology have added Alembic support in their product lines. Software plug-in provider, Exocortex, has also introduced a suite of Alembic based plug-ins for all of Autodesk’s major content creation tools. 

Also of note, Sony Pictures Imageworks and Lucasfilm have begun collaborating more closely with Autodesk on continued Alembic support within Autodesk’s products, initially focused on Autodesk Maya software. Maya 2013 took steps to integrate Alembic at a base level with the addition of Alembic-based GPU file caching.