What is Universal Scene Description?
Universal Scene Description (USD) is an easily extensible, open-source 3D scene description and file format developed by Pixar for content creation and interchange among different tools. As a result of its power and versatility, it’s being widely adopted, not only in the visual effects community, but also in architecture, design, robotics, manufacturing, and other disciplines.
Learn about USD at NVIDIA.
USD is the foundation for NVIDIA Omniverse™, a live collaborative platform that connects a wide variety of content creation tools to each other and to our real-time NVIDIA RTX™ ray tracing technology.
NVIDIA has expanded upon USD by developing new tools, integrating technologies and providing samples and tutorials.
Explore USD pre-built libraries and tools.
Try USDView from the Omniverse Launcher.
USDView, developed by Pixar, is a useful tool for loading, visualizing and introspecting USD files. It is one of the best ways to start exploring Universal Scene Description. NVIDIA provides USDView pre-built and configured so that you can get started right away. Download USDView from the Omniverse Launcher and consult the USDView documentation to learn more.
Download USD pre-built libraries and tools.
The USD libraries are only available in source form from Pixar and building USD can be quite an adventure. We’re offering pre-built libraries as well as the accompanying USD Toolset for download. This package will help you get started developing tools that take advantage of USD.
Download usd-core Python package on PyPI.
The usd-core package is also available if you want to experiment with the USD Python API or if you only need the core USD features for reading and writing USD stages and layers. USD comes pre-built and it's just a "pip install" away.
Try the Activision USD Shell Extension.
Activision has released a powerful Windows Shell Extension for the Pixar USD file format. It adds a Hydra realtime preview, thumbnail support, context menus and metadata properties in Windows Explorer as well as metadata search in Windows Search
USD 22.05b, Python 3.7 for Linux
USD 21.05, Python 3.6 for Windows
USD 21.05, Python 3.6 for Linux
USD 21.02, Python 3.6 for Windows
USD 21.02, Python 3.6 for Linux
USD 20.11, Python 3.6 for Windows
USD 20.11, Python 3.6 for Linux
USD 20.11, Python 2.7 for Windows
USD 20.11, Python 2.7 for Linux
USD 20.08, Python 3.6 for Windows
USD 20.08, Python 3.6 for Linux
USD 20.08, Python 2.7 for Windows
USD 20.08, Python 2.7 for Linux
USD 20.05, Python 3.6 for Windows
USD 20.05, Python 3.6 for Linux
USD 20.05, Python 3.7 for OSX
USD 20.05, Python 2.7 for Windows
USD 20.05, Python 2.7 for Linux
USD 20.05, Python 2.7 for OSX
Watch the tutorials.
Getting started with USD for collaborative 3D workflows.
In this self-paced course, participants will learn how to generate a scene using human-readable Universal Scene Description ASCII (.USDA) files. Upon completion, participants will be able to create their own scenes within the USD framework and will have a strong foundation to use it in Omniverse and applications such as Maya, Unity, and Unreal Engine.
The training includes two sections:
- USD Fundamentals: An introduction to the basics of USD, no programming knowledge required.
- Advanced USD: A demonstration of how to use Python to generate USD files.
Try the course
Watch the latest USD tutorials.
Download USD sample assets.
NVIDIA USD Attic Sample
This work is licensed under a
Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.
Review and accept Pixar’s license agreement before downloading the file.
Download from PIXAR
The USD ALab dataset is the Animal Logic interpretation and implementation of real-world production and pipeline concepts. There are three downloads available, including textures and baked procedurals.Download from Animal Logic
Create with Material Definition Language in USD.
USD is agnostic about the way material properties are represented. NVIDIA is working to let artists be able to author materials for cinema-quality rendering using an automated process that produces simpler but still high-quality shaders in real time.
To achieve this, NVIDIA has developed an open-source, GPU-friendly Material Definition Language (MDL) with an associated distiller that simplifies shaders for preview and virtual reality (VR) applications. The NVIDIA MDL SDK has been adopted by many application developers, including Adobe®, Allegorithmic, and Epic’s Unreal Studio.
To advance its use, we’ve created a specification for referencing MDL in USD and have developed Omniverse plug-ins to facilitate MDL-based workflows. MDL enjoys wide and increasing adoption in the design, visual effects, and gaming industries, among others.
Learn about USD Physics.
Find additional resources.
USD and Hydra Resources
- Pixar's USD
- USD training content on NVIDIA On-Demand
- NVIDIA USD documentation
- NVIDIA Omniverse
- NVIDIA Omniverse developer platform
- NVIDIA MDL
- NVIDIA MDL SDK
- NVIDIA MDL SDK documentation (online)
- USD Python API notes page
- USD tutorials page