The Academy Software Foundation – the motion picture industry’s premier organization for advancing open source software development across image creation, visual effects, animation, and sound technologies – today announces the Digital Production Example Library (DPEL) as its newest hosted project.
The DPEL project grew out of the industry’s long-standing need for production-grade sample content in order to thoroughly test hardware and software in development and ensure that it can scale to the demands of the film and TV content creation process. Such content is normally locked inside each studio, with legal, copyright and policy barriers that make it difficult to distribute to developers, researchers and educators. The goals of DPEL are to encourage, curate, and publish production-grade sample assets that will be of value to the broader community. Providing a vendor-neutral platform along with a uniform license agreement will help make it easier for studios to contribute content.
One of DPEL’s first hosted assets is the American Society of Cinematographer’s Standard Evaluation Material II (StEM2), which comprises an entire 17-minute short film, The Mission, carefully designed to stress-test modern image processing and exhibition systems, including high dynamic range and high frame rates.
Additional assets hosted by DPEL at launch include:
- Animal Logic’s ALab Phase 2: A full production scene with over 300 production quality assets, two animated characters, and baked procedural fur and fabric all provided as a part of the first open-sourced USD scene and shot context from a studio.
- Intel’s Volumetric Clouds Library: A collection of 30 VDB cloud assets, including both dense and sparse clouds, at resolutions ranging from quite small (< 1 MB) to quite large (> 8 GB).
- Noa character from Amazon Web Services (AWS): A complete animatable main character, with rig, geometry, textures, and hair groom, represented in Maya. Noa is the hero of the short film Spanner, created by AWS’s in-house production team FuzzyPixel.
“When production assets are made available to the community, everyone benefits: software and hardware developers can better test and demonstrate their products, researchers can validate their ideas and be inspired, and so in turn, filmmakers get better and more robust tools to use,” explained Eric Enderton, Director of Film Rendering Technology at NVIDIA and the chair of DPEL’s Technical Steering Committee. “When Disney released the Moana Island dataset, it generated a lot of excitement. We want to encourage more of these generous donations, and broaden what’s available.”
DPEL started as the Assets Repository Working Group within the Academy Software Foundation, as members worked to establish the ASWF Digital Assets License, a uniform license agreement that balances the intellectual property concerns of the asset donors with the needs of the users. For developers, it eliminates the hurdle of getting legal approval for each new piece of content while also making it easier for studios to contribute production-grade content to the broader community through DPEL. The ASWF Digital Assets License was formally adopted in January 2022 and is used for all DPEL assets.
“Establishing a vendor-neutral repository of production-class assets is a huge milestone for our industry: it will enable more robust software development for studios and software vendors and will help end users better understand the scale of real-world production,” said David Morin, Executive Director of the Academy Software Foundation. “The Digital Production Example Library is one of the first projects to come out of our Foundation Working Groups, and I am very much looking forward to seeing DPEL expand and diversify into all types of production content.”
Future development of DPEL will be guided by its Technical Steering Committee. Developers, artists and others interested in learning more or contributing to the DPEL project can get involved here.
Companies interested in supporting the mission of the Academy Software Foundation can learn more and join at aswf.io/join.