Wednesday, June 20th, 2018 Posted by Jim Thacker

Google open-sources Seurat

Originally posted on 13 May 2018. Scroll down for news of the new 3ds Max export script.

Google has made Seurat, its tool for optimising VR scenes to run on mobile hardware, available open-source, along with a readymade Maya script and Unity and Unreal Engine import plugins.

Convert offline renders to VR-ready textured 3D geometry
The software, which was launched in 2017 with the endorsement of ILMxLAB, processes rendered images with a depth channel to generate new 3D geometry with a poly count lower than the original scene.

The result can only be displayed from with a limited viewing region, since the process doesn’t recreate the backs of the original 3D models, but it preserves the subtleties of the original offline renders.

This blog post shows a scene from Blade Runner: Revelations, Seismic Games’ upcoming VR experience for Google Daydream, reduced from 46.6 million to 307,000 triangles with “almost no loss in visual quality”.

There are limitations: each of the pixels in the source renders must correspond to a single camera ray, so you can’t use antialiasing, DoF, motion blur, or most screen space effects.

However, it’s an interesting alternative to simply building the scene at a geometry count low enough for VR, particularly if you’re converting assets originally designed for offline use.

System requirements and availability
The Seurat source code is available on GitHub under an Apache 2.0 licence.

The source images can be rendered in any offline or real-time engine – the GitHub repo includes information on how to set them up – but there is a readymade Maya script that will do the job for you.

Similarly, the output can be used in any game engine, but the repo includes readymade import plugins for Unity and Unreal Engine to streamline the process.

Updated 20 June 2018: Artist and tools developer Rune Spaans has released a MAXScript that will automatically set up a 3ds Max scene to generate the necessary camera data for Seurat.

The script is available on GitHub under an Apache licence. Hat tip to CGPress for spotting it.

Read more about Seurat on Google’s developer blog

Download the source code for Seurat from Google’s GitHub repository

Download Rune Spaans’ 3ds Max to Seurat export script from GitHub