Thursday, March 7th, 2024 Posted by Jim Thacker

Adobe open-sources its USD conversion plugins

Adobe Senior Director of Engineering Guido Quaroni’s talk from Open Source Days 2023. The section on Adobe’s USD file format conversion plugins starts at 08:50.

Adobe has begun open-sourcing its USD file format plugins for exchanging data between Pixar’s Universal Scene Description and common 3D file formats.

The plugins – usdfbx, usdgltf, usdobj, usdply and usdstl – make it possible to convert 3D models, materials and animations between USD and FBX, glTF, OBJ, PLY and STL formats.

The technology is already being used by Adobe in its own software, and is now available to other developers to integrate into their own applications.

The same file format conversion technology used in Adobe’s Substance 3D tools
Adobe’s current interoperability strategy for transferring data between its Substance 3D tools and other DCC applications is based around USD as an common format.

Developed as part of that work, the plugins provide USD representations of data stored in other file formats, in the same way as the official Alembic USD plugin.

The plugins are already used in Adobe’s software: for example, to convert 3D models from an internal USD representation to other file formats when exporting from Substance 3D Modeler.

As well as making the tech available to other developers, Adobe hopes that by open-sourcing the plugins it will “initiate a conversation” about the best way to handle the interchange process.

Transfer geometry, materials and/or animation data between USD and 3D file formats
All of the plugins can process data in USD (.usd, .usda and .usdz) format. Exactly what data can be exchanged depends on the file format it is being exchanged with.

All of the plugins can import and export polygonal geometry, on top of which, the OBJ plugin supports groups and material assignments, and the FBX and glTF plugins support cameras and animation, including skeletal animation.

Adobe is also developing a plugin to exchange material data with its own Substance 3D SBSAR material format, although at the time of writing, the source code has not been released.

License and system requirements
Adobe’s USD file format plugins can be compiled from source on Windows, Linux and macOS. You can find build instructions and a list of dependencies on Adobe’s GitHub repository.

The source code is available under an Apache 2.0 license.

Download the source code for Adobe’s USD file format plugins

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