usd - Universal Scene DescriptionCompiled by Paul Bourke
Pipelines capable of producing computer graphics films and games typically generate, store, and transmit great quantities of 3D data, which we call "scene description". Each of many cooperating applications in the pipeline (modeling, shading, animation, lighting, fx, rendering) typically has its own special form of scene description tailored to the specific needs and workflows of the application, and neither readable nor editable by any other application. Universal Scene Description (USD) is the first publicly available software that addresses the need to robustly and scalably interchange and augment arbitrary 3D scenes that may be composed from many elemental assets.
USD provides for interchange of elemental assets (e.g. models) or animations. But unlike other interchange packages, USD also enables assembly and organization of any number of assets into virtual sets, scenes, and shots, transmit them from application to application, and non-destructively edit them (as overrides), with a single, consistent API, in a single scenegraph. USD provides a rich toolset for reading, writing, editing, and rapidly previewing 3D geometry and shading. In addition, because USD's core scenegraph and "composition engine" are agnostic of 3D, USD can be extended in a maintainable way to encode and compose data in other domains.
Concretely, USD is an OpenSource project released under a modified Apache license.
USD is the fouth incantation of a 3D scene language developed at PIXAR. It consists of a set of C++ libraries with Python bindings. In theory any file frmat can be supported, as it comes there is an ascii and binary file format called "usda" and "usdc" (crate) respectively.