After A Year Of Industry Adoption, Lucasfilm And Sony Pictures Imageworks Release Alembic 1.1

ALEMBIC is an open source exchange format that is becoming the industry standard for exchanging animated computer graphics between content creation software packages.

LOS ANGELES, CA., August 5, 2012 - Alembic 1.1, the open source project jointly developed by Sony Pictures Imageworks (SPI) and Lucasfilm Ltd. released its newest improvements and updates at this year's ACM SIGGRAPH Conference.

Joint development of Alembic was first announced at SIGGRAPH 2010 and Alembic 1.0 was released to the public at the 2011 ACM SIGGRAPH Conference in Vancouver. The software focuses on efficiently storing and sharing animation and visual effects scenes across multiple software applications. Since the software's debut last year both companies have integrated the technology into their production pipelines. ILM notably using the software for their work on the 2012 blockbuster The Avengers and Sony Pictures Imageworks on the 2012 worldwide hits Men in Black 3 and The Amazing Spider-Man in addition to the upcoming animated feature Hotel Transylvania, scheduled for release September 28, 2012.

Alembic 1.1's updates include Python API bindings, support for Lights, Materials, and Collections, as well as core performance improvements and bug fixes. Feature updates to the Maya plug-in will also be included. The code base for Alembic is available for download on the project's Google Code site and more information can be found online at:

"We've been very grateful to see Alembic broadly adopted across the VFX and Animation industries application providers and studios around the world. This new release continues to add requested features while maintaining the speed and compatibility the industry has come to expect," says Rob Bredow, Chief Technology Officer, Sony Pictures Imageworks.

Since Alembic's 1.0 release, solution providers such as Autodesk, The Foundry, Solid Angle, Side Effects and Luxology have added Alembic support in their product lines. Software plugin provider, Exocortex, has also introduced a suite of Alembic based plugins for all of Autodesk's major content creation tools.

Dave Story, CTO, Lucasfilm says,"Lucasfilm has continued to build its visual effects and animation pipelines around Alembic and it has helped us to greatly increase our interoperability. Support of Alembic by our third-party software providers is critical to Alembic's success. We're gratified to see the pace of adoption in the last year and will continue to invest ourselves as we forge relationships with third party solution providers."

Also of note, Sony Pictures Imageworks and Lucasfilm have begun collaborating more closely with Autodesk on continued Alembic support within Autodesk's products, initially focused on Autodesk Maya software. Maya 2013 took steps to integrate Alembic at a base level with the addition of Alembic-based GPU file caching.

Marc Petit, Sr. Vice President of Media and Entertainment at Autodesk says, "Autodesk is committed to Alembic, as you can already see from the integration into Maya 2013. We're taking steps so that our developers can more directly collaborate with the Alembic team on future integration and also continue to contribute to the open source project. Alembic is gathering momentum and we think it is solving a real problem for our customers."

Here's what some of the other leading solution providers are also saying about Alembic:

"Over the last year Alembic support has broadened across The Foundry's own product lines as well as spreading in a wave across the industry. Getting data exchange right is hugely important, and rapid Alembic adoption has become a breath of fresh air for software vendors and their customers."
- Simon Robinson, Chief Scientist, The Foundry

"It is not an overstatement to say that there is an Alembic revolution happening in the VFX and game industries. Exocortex and our clients, though the "Exocortex Crate" suite of Alembic tools for 3DS Max, Softimage, Maya and Arnold, are proud to be on the front lines of this transformation. This transformation would not be possible if it weren't for the leadership of Lucasfilm and Sony, the strong design of the core Alembic library and the first class support from Alembic's developers."
- Ben Houston, CTO, Exocortex

"We are pleased to bring the Alembic-Arnold integration up-to-date with Arnold 4.0. Alembic's fast, compact format and data de-duplication are a natural fit for Arnold procedurals and instancing. We are excited to see increasing industry adoption of Alembic in conjunction with Arnold. Solid Angle stands firmly behind Alembic and will continue to contribute to its development."
- Marcos Fajardo, CEO/Software Architect, Solid Angle

The Alembic team is hosting a SIGGRAPH Birds of a Feather talk, Practical Application of Alembic, Tuesday August 7th at 3PM at the Los Angeles Convention Center, Room 410. There, Lucasfilm and Sony Pictures Imageworks will review their own integration experience and discuss general Q&A.

More information can be found online at:

Pictured below, the Alembic logo:

Sony Pictures Imageworks is the Academy Award® winning visual effects and animation unit of Sony Pictures Digital Productions known for live-action visual effects and dynamic creature and character animation, all-CG animation, and stereoscopic 3D imagery. The company, which is celebrating its 20th anniversary this year, is currently in production on Oz the Great and Powerful, animated features Hotel Transylvania (3D) and Cloudy 2: Revenge of the Leftovers (3D) and the hybrid live-action/animation film The Smurfs 2. Other recent credits include The Amazing Spider-Man, Men in Black 3 (3D), The Smurfs (3D), Alice in Wonderland (3D) and Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs (3D).

Lucasfilm Ltd. is one of the world's leading film and entertainment companies. Founded by George Lucas in 1971, it is a privately held, fully-integrated entertainment company. In addition to its motion-picture and television production operations, the company's global activities include Industrial Light & Magic and Skywalker Sound, serving the digital needs of the entertainment industry for visual-effects and audio post-production; LucasArts, a leading developer and publisher of interactive entertainment software worldwide; Lucas Licensing, which manages the global merchandising activities for Lucasfilm's entertainment properties; Lucasfilm Animation, which is currently producing content for film and television, including Star Wars: The Clone Wars, a CG-animated half-hour television series; and Lucas Online creates Internet-based content for Lucasfilm's entertainment properties and businesses. Additionally, Lucasfilm Singapore, produces digital animated content for film and television, as well as visual effects for feature films and multi-platform games. Lucasfilm's motion-picture productions include three of the 20 biggest box-office hits of all time and have received 19 Oscars and more than 60 Academy Award nominations. Lucasfilm's television projects have won 12 Emmy Awards. Lucasfilm Ltd. is headquartered in San Francisco, Calif.

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