Autodesk shares vision of cloud-based ecosystem
October 5, 2021

Autodesk shares vision of cloud-based ecosystem

SAN RAFAEL, CA – At Autodesk University (AU) 2021, Autodesk announced that is is helping to drive the production and post production industry forward through data-fluent, cloud-based workflows and industry partnerships. Autodesk’s vision aligns with the 2030 view of production outlined by industry think-tank MovieLabs. Underlying this vision is a foundation built on open standards, such as Universal Scene Description (USD) for 3D data exchange, and OpenColorIO for color calibration and management. Working with customers and the Academy Software Foundation, Autodesk is actively involved in helping create these standards, as well as integrating them into its products to further their adoption.
Thanks to an extensive collaboration with Pixar, Animal Logic, Luma Pictures and Blue Sky, Autodesk says it is helping to refine the multiple ‘flavors’ of USD into a common standard, as well as implementing support for USD in Maya and 3ds Max. USD enables artists to load and edit massive datasets quickly, increasing pipeline efficiency and improving collaboration. 
The company’s vision for the cloud spans across industries with similar challenges taking a unified approach. The company invested in building an extensive and extensible cloud platform called Forge. Forge will provide the capabilities needed, from security to scalability, to connect teams to their projects efficiently. And by centralizing on a single platform, Autodesk can bring to bear more research and development resources and expertise than would be possible when focusing on a single industry. Autodesk will also continue to invest in its portfolio of products, including Maya, 3ds Max, Flame and ShotGrid (formerly Shotgun), keeping them competitive in preparation for the transition.
As entertainment projects get larger and more complex, with more teams collaborating from disparate locations, it is essential that producers have an accurate, realtime view of production. An upcoming Generative Scheduling service will enable customers to run projects with smarter business insights powered by Forge. With new collaborative review capabilities, teams can synchronously review material, whether they’re in studio or not, to streamline review and approvals.
As Autodesk moves toward production in the cloud, the company is investing in content creation tools, like Bifrost, a low-footprint, low-code, visual programing environment for creating sophisticated simulations and effects. By bringing this technology to the Forge platform, Autodesk can provide greater performance and scalability, new types of services, such as simulation wedging, as well as future, cloud connected workflows with third-party tools, like Unreal Engine, Unity, Blender and Houdini.
Autodesk is also investing in AI assisted workflows for media and entertainment. The company recently added several such tools to Flame, helping artists automate complex compositing and retouching tasks on image sequences. Going forward Autodesk will seek to combine its machine learning tools with the massive compute power and scalability of the cloud. This will allow artists to automate repetitive tasks, work faster and focus on the artistry of their craft.
Autodesk recently announced its partnership with Weta Digital, the company behind Lord of The Rings, Avatar, and Planet of the Apes. The two companies recognized the need to help artists boost creativity and introduced WetaM, a cloud-based production pipeline toolset that seamlessly integrates with Maya, delivering Weta’s signature artist tools and next-generation procedural workflows. WetaM productizes Weta’s proprietary VFX tools built on Maya’s open API, and will be commercialized by Weta Digital as a subscription cloud service.
With WetaM, artists everywhere gain access to the visual design and workflow automation that Weta Digital used to create some of the signature moments in Game of Thrones (Season 8), and to bring giants to life in the film adaptation of Roald Dahl’s BFG.