Universal Scene Description: An Emerging Standard for Scalable Digital Human Creation


Universal Scene Description: An Emerging Standard for Scalable Digital Human Creation

Universal Scene Description (USD) has rapidly emerged as a pivotal 3D interchange format technology for the creation of performant and scalable digital human representations targeting next-generation immersive pipelines.

Crafting believable virtual human surrogates with lifelike appearance and motion requires synergy between a multitude of state-of-art tools for 3D modeling, simulation, animation, rigging along with rising AI-driven behavioral and graphics techniques. USD provides a robust interoperability bridge between such heterogeneous technologies through an extensible file framework that facilitates both high-fidelity scene representation as well as complex digital human definition encapsulating geometry, materials, articulation logic, shading networks and more.

For instance, USD schemas can encode intricate OpenSubdiv meshes with associated skeletons and blend shapes using UsdSkel to support runtime deformation and articulation. Such character assets can integrate with advanced material definition through UsdShade to manifest physically-based shading parameters for photo-realistic skin, eye and hair shading informed by real-world measurement data. The animation pipeline significantly benefits from USD’s capability to natively ingest character motion capture files while retaining the ability to sculpt expressive actor performances through layers of override directives referencing elemental animation clips. This facilitates iterative refinement and allows extending motion libraries for interactive character experiences.

The composition engine and layering model at the foundation of USD proves immensely valuable for constructing elaborate ensembles of digital human assets and embedding them within expansive virtual environs while retaining real-time visualization capabilities. For example, studios can effortlessly orchestrate large cast shoots for films involving digital doubles leveraging USD’s efficient instancing and working set management features to maximize content iteration speed. Such flexibility enables radical virtual production innovations. Similarly, USD facilitated pipelines streamline crafting intricate metaverse environments inhabited by customizable avatars created by blending compatible character ingredients.

Critically, adopting USD as a standard asset packaging format aids deep integration of AI-based tools into the asset generation process, from using deep neural representations to inform texture synthesis to leveraging large digital human model datasets for training segmentation and geometry inference networks. USD-based digital content platforms like NVIDIA Omniverse allow connecting such leading-edge capabilities for artists to amplify their productivity. The format’s anticipated evolution to encompass more augmented reality, simulation and human-aware navigation capabilities will cement its status as the substrate for interweaving virtual human technologies across industries.

In closing, Universal Scene Description empowers constructing true-to-life virtual personas by unshackling 3D content creators from proprietary representations and brings within reach the next era of services powered by scalable, customizable and dynamically-updating human surrogates.