Friday, February 26th, 2021 Posted by Jim Thacker

Download Nvidia’s Omniverse and Omniverse Create

Originally posted on 17 December 2020. Scroll down for news of the new connection plugins.

Nvidia has released Omniverse, its new open collaboration system for 3D production, in free public beta.

The collection of cloud-enabled apps enables users to see changes made to shared 3D assets by other artists, working in other software, in a photorealistic real-time view.

As well as the Omniverse core, Nvidia has released frontend applications targeted at particular industries, including Omniverse Create for VFX and animation, and Omniverse View for design and visualisation.

The software also comes with integration plugins for key DCC applications and game engines, including Maya and Unreal Engine, with 3ds Max, Blender and Houdini to come.

A cloud-native collaboration platform aiming to become ‘the Google Docs for 3D design’
When it was first announced at the firm’s GTC user conference last year, Nvidia CEO Jensen Huang described Omniverse as “essentially the Google Docs for 3D design”.

The platform enables users anywhere in the world to collaborate on 3D projects via the internet.

Changes made to an asset or scene in a linked DCC application are rendered in real time, and the rendered output can be streamed to other collaborators on a project.

As well as enabling multiple users to view an asset, Omniverse handles version control for any edits made.

Connection plugins for key DCC tools and game engines
Omniverse has a modular structure, with components including Nucleus, its server-side services, Kit, its framework for viewing and editing scenes, and Connect, which connects the software to other DCC tools.

The initial open beta ships with connector plugins for Maya, Revit, Rhino, SketchUp and Unreal Engine. Connectors for 3ds Max, Archicad, Blender, Houdini and MotionBuilder are “coming soon”.

Updated 26 February 2021: Nvidia has now released the 3ds Max connector.

Updated 12 April 2021: Nvidia has released a connector for Reallusion’s Character Creator and announced new connectors for clothing design tool Marvelous Designer and city generator CityEngine.

Photoshop, Substance Designer and Substance Painter are also listed on the product website as already supported, although no corresponding connector plugins are available through the installer.

Updated 10 January 2021: Nvidia has posted a video explaining the process of viewing textures from Photoshop and Substance Painter inside Omniverse.

Hardware-accelerated ray tracing on Nvidia RTX GPUs
Omniverse comes with its own photorealistic render engine, RTX Renderer, which taps into the hardware-accelerated ray tracing capabilities of Nvidia’s current-generation RTX GPUs.

However, since Omniverse is built on Pixar’s open-source Universal Scene Description format, developers can integrate any third-party renderer capable of running as a USD Hydra render delegate.

That includes AMD’s Radeon ProRender and Intel’s OSPRay, so it should be possible to build Omniverse apps that run on non-Nvidia GPUs, but they aren’t currently supported out of the box.

Omniverse Create: a collaborative world-building tool for VFX and games work
For most end users, access to Omniverse’s functionality will come through one of Nvidia’s own industry-specific apps, including Kaolin for AI research, and View for AEC work and architectural visualisation.

Entertainment artists, such as those working in VFX, animation or game art, get Omniverse Create, a “world-building [tool] that allows users to assemble, light, simulate and render large scale scenes”.

Workflow begins with importing assets into Omniverse, either from other DCC software via the connection plugins, or by importing files in FBX, OBJ or glTF format directly.

The materials system is based around Nvidia’s open-source MDL format, with a range of template materials available, including USD’s UsdPreviewSurface and readymade physical glass and multi-purpose materials.

Once assembled, a scene can be lit inside Omniverse Create using a set of standard light types, and viewed via virtual cameras that emulate a range of real-world camera properties.

The native animation tools are described as “rudimentary”, but more complex animations can be imported from other apps: Create supports animation clips, skeletal animation, animation caches and blendshapes.

Create also has a range of built-in physics capabilities, based on Nvidia’s own real-time technologies: PhysX for rigid body dynamics, Blast for destruction and Flow for gaseous fluid simulation.

Rendered output can be exported as sequential images or as an MP4 movie file, or streamed to compatible Android devices via the experimental Cloud XR extension.

Availability and system requirements
Omniverse is available as a free public beta for Windows 10 and CentOS 7/Ubuntu 18.04 Linux. It requires a current-gen Nvidia RTX GPU. You can find system requirements for the integration plugins here.

Omniverse Create and View can be installed from the same installer as Omniverse itself. Create is available for Windows 10 and CentOS 7/Ubuntu 18.04 Linux; View for Windows 10 only.

Download Nvidia’s free public beta of Omniverse

Read more about the Omniverse platform in the online documentation

Read more about Omniverse Create in the online documentation