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03 August 2009, 16:40

Sony Pictures Imageworks announces open source programme

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Sony Imageworks logo Sony Pictures Imageworks, the Academy Award winning visual effects and animation unit of Sony Pictures Digital Productions, has announced the launch of a new open source development programme. The programme will initially release five technologies into the open source community, allowing them to be used by large and small studios around the globe at no cost. "Some of the smartest and most dedicated engineers in computer graphics have put their experience and passion into the development of these tools," said Rob Bredlow, CTO of Sony Pictures Imageworks.

The five technologies are:

  • Field3D
  • Scala Migration
  • Open Shading Language
  • Pystring
  • Maya Reticle

Field3D is a voxel data storage library, that was initially created to replace three different in-house file formats.

Scala Migration is a database migration tool used to manage upgrades and rollbacks to database schemas that's based on Ruby on Rails Migrations.

Open Shading Language (OSL) is a small language, similar to C, for programmable shading, which includes a complete language specification, a compiler, an interpreter and an extensive shader function library.

Pystring is a collection of C++ functions that matches the interface and behaviour of python's string class methods, but doesn't require a python interpreter.

Maya Reticle is a Maya plug-in for camera masking that allows for various camera reference masks to be displayed when looking through the camera, including projection gate, film back and pan and scan attributes.

According to Imageworks, the aim of releasing these projects is "to build larger communities to adopt and further refine the code." Bredlow says in a post on the projects' website, "Open Source: It's always been a part of what makes Imageworks tick." To support the launch, Imageworks engineers will be attending this years SIGGRAPH, the international conference and exhibition on computer graphics to be held in New Orleans from the 3rd to the 8th of August. At SIGGRAPH on Thursday the 6th, a "Birds of a Feather" meeting will take place on the topic of voxel data storage.

More details about the launch can be found on the developer community website at and in the Imageworks Press Release. The projects are currently being hosted on Google Code and are released under the New BSD License.


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