NVIDIA just opened its Omniverse platform to 3D creators worldwide. The company deems it ready to start creating virtual worlds with an unprecedented level of collaboration and simulation. It is free to use for individuals.
If you’re not familiar with Omniverse, it is an NVIDIA platform built to solve one of the most challenging problems 3D creators face: the collaborative workflow. Its second objective is to allow realistic simulations within Omniverse virtual worlds.
Content can be created from various tools in as many file formats. Typically, each production team and its members must agree on a toolset, file format, and data import/export protocols to and from a centralized data store. It would be best to have some Technical Direction and engineering to make the workflow work. That is hard and (very) expensive to do.
Omniverse aims to take over this workflow (including rendering) by providing functionalities like the Nucleus Cloud, which acts as the data orchestrator for all participants. Omniverse connectors built by companies such as Adobe or Autodesk handle the data flow to and from Omniverse before being rendered on screen.
In theory, Creators can work without engineers or technical directors, but code customization via plugins is entirely possible if needed.
The bi-directionality of the flow is very powerful and means that data created within Omniverse could be exported back to a creation app such as 3DS Max. For example, NVIDIA’s Audio2Face Omniverse app uses AI to automatically makes facial “blend shapes” required for facial animation. That’s usually tedious work a designer does. These blend shapes could, in theory, be re-exported to 3DS Max for use there.
As Omniverse grows and more companies participate, additional connectors will be created with the ultimate goal of giving Creators the ability to use any tool to collaborate within Omniverse. It’s not quite there yet, but today’s foundation opens this real possibility.
Creators’ data is imported into virtual scenes to be visualized by the Omniverse runtime. The runtime is the equivalent of a 3D engine for the layperson. In Omniverse, the whole creative team can look at a unified world in which every modification from any creator is immediately visible to everyone.
Omniverse can render using various techniques, including ray-tracing, and it’s possible to use realistic physics in the scenes, which opens the door to true-to-life simulations in virtual worlds. Virtual construction planning is one of the popular ways to use Omniverse in the Enterprise space.
Omniverse stands on the shoulder of giants. One of the foundational elements is the Pixar Universal Scene Description (USD) format that is now open source and at the heart of Omniverse. The USD mechanism allows 3D data to be created, merged, and manipulated with ease and reliability. USD is the result of decades of development and experience at Pixar.
On top of USD, NVIDIA coalesces decades’ worth of its own engineering in Rendering, Physics, and AI. I know people who have spent decades working on “lighting” or “collisions,” and they’re still actively trying to solve problems related to these topics. Creators can now benefit from all of it in one place."CREATING CONTENT AND ORCHESTRATING IT IS AS DAUNTING AS RENDERING IT. OMNIVERSE TAKES CARE OF IT ALL"
Anyone who has worked in the 3D industry would tell you that the problems addressed by NVIDIA’s Omniverse are extremely challenging to solve, and for the first time, there might be a real solution at hand. Creating content and orchestrating it is as daunting as rendering it. Omniverse takes care of it all.
Omniverse has many moving parts, but I hope that this short overview gives you a sense of what it does and how important it could be as a platform. 3D Creators can download Omniverse, but keep in mind that you need an NVIDIA RTX GPU and the NVIDIA Studio drivers. I highly recommend watching the Omniverse tutorial videos.
To see Omniverse in action, you can watch the NVIDIA virtual CES event below: