Originated at Lucasfilm in 2012, MaterialX has been accepted by the Academy Software Foundation’s Technical Advisory Council (TAC) as the seventh Foundation-hosted project.
MaterialX Library v1.38.1 was released exactly one month ago, on June 21, 2021. This version adds support for shared library builds on Windows, 16-bit unsigned integer images in MaterialXRender, and compound nodegraphs with user interfaces is shader and UI generation. It also includes headers for the newly proposed MaterialX closures in OSL, improved memory efficiency for texture baking, improved compatibility of generated MDL code with Omniverse, and other improvements.
Today, the Academy Software Foundation (ASWF), the preeminent foundation for open source software development in the motion picture and media industries, announced that MaterialX has been accepted by the Academy Software Foundation. The decision from the Technical Advisory Council (TAC) turns MaterialX into the seventh Foundation-hosted project. The Foundation announced that it will maintain and further develop MaterialX moving forward.
MaterialX originated at Lucasfilm in 2012, and it has grown into the central format for material description at Industrial Light & Magic (ILM) since the production of Star Wars: The Force Awakens. The project was released as open source in 2017, with companies including Sony Pictures Imageworks, Pixar, Autodesk, Adobe, and SideFX contributing to its ongoing development. In recent years, MaterialX has been incorporated into widely-used applications and standards including Maya, 3ds Max, Substance Designer, Arnold, Renderman, Autodesk Standard Surface, and Universal Scene Description.
Developed to solve a need at Lucasfilm and ILM
“We initially developed MaterialX to solve a need we had across Lucasfilm and Industrial Light & Magic to have truly portable assets, with look-development information that could be shared across applications, both for real-time and offline, but it’s been even more exciting to see how it’s been embraced by software vendors and pipeline developers alike. With MaterialX becoming an official ASWF project, we look forward to seeing that momentum continue to grow and help solve one of our biggest industry challenges,” said Francois Chardavoine, VP of Technology at Lucasfilm and ILM.
“Integration into the Academy Software Foundation marks an important step forward for the MaterialX project, broadening the lines of communication with closely-related standards such as OpenColorIO and Open Shading Language, and providing a strong platform for new studios, companies, and teams to contribute to MaterialX in the future,” said Jonathan Stone, Senior Software Engineer at Lucasfilm’s Advanced Development Group and the lead developer of MaterialX.
“MaterialX is a crucial piece of technology as it addresses an industry pain point of smoothing the transfer of look development information between various applications and renderers. MaterialX solves the need for a common, open standard in this space and represents an enormous value to end-users within animation studios, visual effects studios, and third-party vendors,” said David Morin, Executive Director of the Academy Software Foundation. “With the support of the broader Academy Software Foundation community, we hope the ecosystem that supports MaterialX will grow, further validating the open standard within the industry.”
Open Source Days on August 5
MaterialX is a key technology in the representation of materials in content pipelines for computer graphics. Its capabilities for expressing physically based shading models and generating shading code have strong synergy with the ASWF’s Open Shading Language, and its interpretation of color spaces is closely aligned with the approach in OpenColorIO and ACES.
The Academy Software Foundation will maintain and further develop MaterialX with oversight provided by a Technical Steering Committee, including members from Lucasfilm, Pixar, Sony, Autodesk, Adobe, Foundry, SideFX, NVIDIA, and Epic Games. All newly accepted projects start in incubation while they work to meet the high standards of the Academy Software Foundation and later graduate to full adoption. This allows the Academy Software Foundation to consider and support projects at different levels of maturity and industry adoption, as long as they align with the Foundation’s mission to increase the quality and quantity of contributions to the content creation industry’s open source software base.
Hear about MaterialX at the Academy Software Foundation’s Open Source Days, on Aug 5 at 12:50 pm PT. Open Source Days is a free, virtual event where attendees will get the latest updates on Academy Software Foundation projects and other popular open source projects used for visual effects, animation, and image creation.
About the Academy Software Foundation
Developed in partnership by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences and the Linux Foundation, the Academy Software Foundation was created to provide a world-class home for open source software developers in the motion picture and broader media industries to share resources and collaborate on technologies for image creation, visual effects, animation and sound. The Academy Software Foundation is home to OpenVDB, OpenColorIO, OpenEXR, OpenCue, OpenTimelineIO, and Open Shading Language. For more information about the Academy Software Foundation, visit https://www.aswf.io/.