NVIDIA Omniverse Hands-On Review

It seems like every single major 3D application are getting behind Pixar’s USD format and NVIDIA have released Omniverse as an interconnect between all of these programs. The USD or Universal Scene Description is an open source standardized interchange format, described succinctly enough as:

Universal Scene Description (USD) is an efficient, scalable system for authoring, reading, and streaming time-sampled scene description for interchange between graphics applications.

In a nutshell, it’s a data format that contains a ton of information, enabling you to move from application to application without data loss. In theory this means you could create a game level in one two, export it to a game engine, then export it back for more editing without losing any data. By no means is USD the first format to try this, that was the idea behind COLLADA, although USD seems to be easier to work with and better adopted.

NVIDIA Omniverse can be thought of as the interconnective tissue between your applications, data and game engines. At the very core of NVIDIA Omniverse are Nucleus servers, basically networked file servers where Omniverse data is stored and enables the collaborative functionalityd. You need one or more Nucleus servers to use Omniverse.

The next part of Omniverse are the connectors. This is the glue that ties your applications together, acting as bridges between your data and your applications. There are app connectors for several major applications and game engines, such as Max, Maya and Unreal Engine, with connectors for Blender and Unity in the works. These connectors enable you to access data from Nucleus servers as if working with the local filesystem, with two way communication, and optionally live sync.

The final part of Omniverse are the applications built on top of it all. There are several applications such as Create which allows you to edit USD files in Omnverse, View a photorealistic collaborative renderer, and Machinima a tool for creating movies using game assets.

All taken together, NVIDIA Omniverse acts as an ecosystem to tie all of our content creation tools together. The most impressive part is, it works. Right now they are running a contest Create with Marbles, where you can win a GPU for creating the best game level using Create and their provided assets. On thing to be aware of however if you choose to check out Omniverse, it does not uninstall cleanly. If you remove Omniverse, be sure to run the uninstall tool after (why this isn’t part of the uninstall now I simply cannot fathom). You can learn more about NVIDIA Omniverse and see it in action working with Unreal Engine in the video below.

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