Wednesday, October 14th, 2020 Posted by Jim Thacker

J Cube unveils new standalone USD editing tool MUSE

J Cube has launched MUSE, an interesting new tool for opening, viewing and non-destructively editing USD files without the need for a DCC application.

MUSE – available as a tech preview with the firm’s Multiverse | USD toolkit for Maya – is intended to provide studios with pipelines based around the USD format with a fast, non-destructive way to modify USD assets.

Load, display and edit USD assets for VFX or animation work without opening your DCC software
MUSE – it stands for ‘Multiverse | USD Standalone Editor’ – is designed to load and visualise assets and compositions in USD format, such as those generated during shot layout in VFX or feature animation.

More significantly – and unlike Usdview, Pixar’s free USD viewer, available as part of the standard USD toolset – it can modify USD assets as well as simply displaying them.

J Cube describes its aim as to provide fast, non-destructive workflow for editing or composing assets that can then be used in other USD-compatible apps, which include Blender, Houdini and Nvidia’s Omniverse.

Edit attributes, add overrides, or write USD compositions
At the minute, editing in MUSE is limited to USD attributes, including multi-selection editing; adding references to other USD files; writing USD overrides; and writing USD compositions with overrides.

Users can select USD prims in the viewport, but in the current release, it isn’t possible to move, rotate or translate them directly.

The software uses Hydra, the native USD rendering framework, to visualise USD files, although J Cube says that it will support render engines other than Hydra’s Storm renderer in future.

MUSE currently has a “more limited feature set for viewing and rendering” than Usdview, but it can play back animation as well as displaying static assets.

Pricing and system requirements
MUSE is available for Windows and Linux. A Metal-compatible macOS version is “coming soon”.

It is currently available as a free tech preview for users with Pro subscriptions to Multiverse | USD. You can find pricing and system requirements for the software in this story.

On its 1.0 release, MUSE will become a completely standalone tool. It will remain free with Multiverse | USD Pro subscriptions, but J Cube hasn’t confirmed other pricing yet.

Read more about MUSE in J Cube’s online FAQs