Friday, August 5th, 2022 Posted by Jim Thacker

Download Animal Logic’s free ALab USD production scene

Originally posted on 6 August 2021. Scroll down for news of the latest update.

Leading VFX facility Animal Logic has released USD ALab, a free USD asset that company describes as “the first real-world implementation of a complete USD production scene”.

The scene – a retro-style mad scientist’s laboratory – follows Animal Logic’s own USD production workflow, and is the first asset released under the new Academy Software Foundation (ASWF) asset license.

A pioneer in the adoption of the Universal Scene Description for VFX and feature animation
Animal Logic was a pioneer of USD-based workflows in VFX production, having begun to transition its Sydney and Vancouver studios to an end-to-end USD pipeline in 2017 during work on Peter Rabbit.

The studio open-sourced AL_USDMaya, its in-house plugin for authoring and editing USD data at the time, the code for which was later migrated into Maya’s new USD plugin.

An alternative to standard USD test scenes reflecting real-world workflows
The new test scene provides an alternative to existing USD demo scenes like Nvidia’s Attic sample that Animal Logic says provides a better representation of the way USD is used in production.

The studio describes it as a “full scene description from global assets through to shot outputs, including referencing, point instancing, assemblies, technical variants, global assets and shot based overrides”.

In addition, Animal Logic has included “documentation that showcases some … new concepts from our experience using USD, including the idea of render procedural definitions”.

The studio says that it hopes that the release will lead to wider adoption of the concept in production.

Updated 5 August 2022: Animal Logic has released ALab Phase 2, the latest version of the scene.

The update brings the number of production-quality assets included in the scene to over 300, including Goggles and Hinge, new rigged CG characters with looping animation and baked procedural fur and fabric.

Animal Logic used the assets in production on Unhinged, a new CG short, created in Unreal Engine.

Licensing and system requirements
The ALab scene is a free download, and is available under movie industry open-source standards body the Academy Software Foundation’s Digtal Assets Licence, which permits non-commercial use with attribution.

It can be loaded in any DCC software that can import USD files, including Maya, Houdini and Omniverse.

The ‘lightweight’ version of the scene, with 1K textures and without fur and cloth, weighs in at 8.75GB.

Separate – and even larger – downloads provide 4K OpenEXR textures and fur and cloth caches, for production-quality rendering.

Download the free ALab USD production test scene from Animal Logic’s website