Thursday, May 5th, 2011 Posted by Jim Thacker

fmx 2011: Avatar tech to form part of OpenEXR 2.0

Weta CTO Sebastian Sylwan demonstrates the studio's deep compositing technology at fmx 2011.
Bottom left of slide: incorrect overlap of scene objects in composite. Bottom right: corrected with deep compositing.

Weta Digital’s ‘deep compositing’ technology, developed during its work on Avatar, will be supported in the next release of OpenEXR, company CTO Sebastian Sylwan has announced at fmx.

The deep opacity file format stores opacity depth along the length of a ray, making it possible to control more precisely which objects in a scene appear in front of one another when render passes are composited.

“The idea is that you don’t have to re-render the fog pass if your animation changes [for example] because you don’t have the concept of a holdout that is dependent on [it],” said Sylwan.

The technology can also be used to store colour data, helping to mimic the way background colours show through foreground objects; and to calculate more accurate depth of field.

Supported in OpenEXR 2.0 and Nuke
Following input from studios including ILM, Disney and Sony Pictures Imageworks, the deep opacity format and libraries will be incorporated into the OpenEXR 2.0 file format, due for release around Siggraph this August.

Weta has also licensed “most of” the toolset to The Foundry, and the deep opacity file format will be supported in the next release of Nuke.

The announcement marks Weta’s first significant foray into the open-source market, following the commercial release of its in-house modelling and painting tools as Mudbox and Mari, respectively.

Visit Weta Digital online (no information on deep opacity yet)