DreamWorks Animation SKG Inc., has recently made the decision that their software used to create some of their animations, which includes the upcoming “Rise of the Guardians” will be given away as open source.
The software DreamWorks is being given away as an open source license is called OpenVDB. DreamWorks states at their download site,
The OpenVDB library comprises a hierarchical data structure and a suite of tools for the efficient manipulation of sparse, possibly time-varying, volumetric data discretized on a three-dimensional grid. It is based on VDB, which was developed by Ken Museth at DreamWorks Animation, and it offers an effectively infinite 3D index space, compact storage (both in memory and on disk), fast data access (both random and sequential), and a collection of algorithms specifically optimized for the data structure for common tasks such as filtering, CSG, compositing, numerical simulation, sampling, and voxelization from other geometric representations.
A November 22 on-line issue of the Wall Street Journal quotes a Mr. David Prescott who worked as a visual-effects supervisor for the "Guardians” animation after some were curious why DreamWorks would give away free software. Prescott stated that a release of the software was done in hopes that it would be adopted as an industry standard and possibly get adapted in other software company tool kit features, which would in turn benefit DreamWorks. The article goes on to state that open source releases of special animation software isn’t unique to DreamWorks and noted that Lucasfilm Ltd. and Sony Pictures both have released their own software as well.
To learn more about the free software download, you can check out the DreamWorks site here and learn more about it.