Nvidia releases 2023.1 updates to Omniverse apps
Nvidia has released its 2023.1 updates to apps in Omniverse, its real-time 3D design collaboration platform, including USD Composer and Presenter, previously known as Omniverse Create and View, and Audio2Face.
USD Composer 2023.1 adds new features for creating and viewing design variants, for troubleshooting imported assets, for recording simulations, and native XR viewing capabilities.
USD Presenter 2023.1 refocuses the software as a dedicated scene viewing and markup tool, streamlining the user interface.
Audio2Face 2023.1 adds the option to stream facial blendshapes from the AI animation tool to DCC software like Unreal Engine, and a new AI model based on a female Chinese character.
(Full disclosure: the USD Composer and Audio2Face updates have been out for several weeks, but we didn’t manage to post stories on them at the time.)
A OpenUSD-based collaboration platform for VFX, game development, design and visualization
Officially launched last year after a year in beta, Omniverse enables artists and designers anywhere in the world to collaborate on projects in real time.
Data is exchanged between compatible CAD and DCC applications and Omniverse in OpenUSD format, with connector plugins available for tools including 3ds Max, Maya, Revit, Rhino, SketchUp and Unreal Engine.
Although the platform was initially pitched a range of markets, including VFX and game development, Nvidia’s current product website focuses more on industrial use cases like digital twins.
USD Composer 2023.1: new tools for authoring and viewing design variants
Previously named Omniverse Create, scene assembly tool USD Composer gets a sizeable update, adding new tools for generating and presenting design variants.
New features for troubleshooting imported assets and recording animation and simulation
Other new features include the Asset Validator, for identifying and fixing technical issues with imported assets, and Metrics Assembler, for automatically converting scale units and co-ordinate axes.
Updates to existing features include UV generation in the Scene Optimizer, and the option to edit USD Preview Surfaces directly in the Material Editor.
A new denoiser and “greatly improved” distiller for materials in MDL format improve visual parity between the RTX Realtime and RTX Interactive rendering modes.
Omniverse XR functionality now available directly inside USD Composer
In addition, extended reality viewing app Omniverse XR has been deprecated, in favour of the ability to view XR content directly inside USD Composer.
Pipeline changes include support for Python 3.10, as specified in the CY2023 VFX Reference Platform specification, and for USD 22.11.
There are also two new asset collections: an Automotive Asset Pack of materials and dome maps, and the SimReady Explorer content browser, which comes with over a thousand assets.
USD Presenter 2023.1 removes the option to create new files, refocusing the software as a pure scene viewer, and introduces three use modes: View, Review and Approve.
View makes it possible to view scenes, with a range of render quality options.
Review adds scene markup, measurement and analysis tools, including sun study tools for visualisations; more advanced render modes like white mode and section views; and movie capture.
Approve is itended for clients and supervisors to approve scene markups added in Review mode, but is described as “not 100% complete” in the current release.
The online release notes also list a new Fabric Scene Delegate, and the option to lock height when navigating a scene.
Audio2Face 2023.1: stream facial blendshapes to applications like Unreal Engine
Audio2Face, Nvidia’s experimental AI-based tool for generating facial animation from audio sources, gets support for live streaming the facial blendshapes it generates to other software.
Before Audio2Face 2023.1, blendshapes had to be imported manually.
The video above shows the process for a MetaHuman character in Unreal Engine, although the Audio2Face release notes only mention a live link plugin for Unreal Engine 4, not Unreal Engine 5.
Other changes include Claire, a new AI model based on a Chinese female character, supplementing Mark, the existing AI model, which is for a white male character.
Users can switch between the two from a new AI Models panel.
In addition, the software now generates blendshapes for the tongue, as well as the rest of a character’s face; and emotion keyframes can now be exported in JSON format.
Price and system requirements
The Omniverse apps are compatible with Windows 10+ and CentOS 7/Ubuntu 20.04+ Linux. Most require a Nvidia GeForce RTX 3070 GPU or better. Find detailed system requirements here.