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Multiverse | USD

Production-grade native USD solution for all Maya versions, with a non-destructive workflow that is fully rendering agnostic. The inter-op hub between Maya ⇆ DCCs in your pipeline.

Designed with ease of use in mind, enables anyone to non-destructively author, layout and lookdev any scene with layered USD assets, compositions, overrides. Hydra-based viewport for previews & playback. Inter-op between Maya, Houdini or other DCC apps or game engines. Unified procedural rendering workflow with low TTFP for all major render engines.

Maya plug-in

Maya 2018, 2019, 2020
O/S Win, Linux, macOS

Supported Renderers

Arnold 5.2+, 5.3+, 5.4+, 6.0+, 6.1+, 6.2+
3DelightNSI 2.0+, Cloud
Redshift 3.0.45+
Renderman 23.2+ 24.0+
VRay 4.30.01+, 5.00.20+

USD DCC Interoperability

Houdini (via Solaris) 18+
Vicon Shogun 1.3+
Blender 2.82+
Clarisse 5.0+
Katana (via plug-in) 3.5+
Unreal (via plug-in) 4.24+
Unity (via plug-in) 2019.3+
Nuke 12.2+
3dsmax 2022

Relevant Library Versions

USD
v20.08
Alembic
v1.10.0

Multiverse

Powered by a new end-to-end multi-threaded architecture, from scene construction to final rendering. Designed to deliver an easy and logical workflow to artists under tight work deadlines and budgets. Featuring UI and UX that are clear, well thought and pleasant. Ready for deployment in production environments of any scale, with a new Python API that is straightforward to use and integrate, abstracting the vastness of the USD APIs.

Multiverse | USD v6.6

  • Completely new, end-to-end, massively multi-threaded architecture which delivers up to 100x* faster performance in authoring, reading, drawing, manipulating, playback and rendering time-to-first-pixel.
  • Fully compliant with USD v20.08.
  • Non-destructive authoring workflow for layout, lookdev, layering and composition.
  • Unified rendering workflow: easily work with multiple rendering engines while keeping exactly the same artist workflow.
  • Ability to easily author USD hierarchies for assets and compositions, straight from the Maya outliner.
  • Write USD assets, compositions and overrides with support for USD proxies & guides.
  • Read USD and Alembic files, whether static or animated, as a single file or as a sequence via USD clips, with ability to easily generate USD clips.
  • Complete read/write support of USD point instancing. Maya duplicate as instance, instancer, particle instancer and MASH. Houdini packed/point instancing and duplicates.
  • Ability to explore and override USD assets with a pleasing, logical and extremely fast UI.
  • Selectively override transforms with full animation support, including parents and hierarchical inheritance.
  • Complete workflow for authoring hierarchical and attribute USD Variants, working both from Maya data or from USD data on Compounds.
  • Selectively override materials, generic & render attributes, visibility and variant selection with complete hierarchical inheritance.
  • Complete support for authoring Maya-typed and USD-typed custom attributes on either Maya data or USD data.
  • Ability to write skeleton data to USD, as well as read it. Unique ability yo "bind" skeleton animation to skeleton roots in a fully USD way. This opens up for interesting inter-op workflows with Vicon Shogun.
  • Ability to write Maya blends shapes to USD.
  • Ability to encode Stingray shading network as USD Preview Materials.
  • Realtime high-FPS playback and manipulation streamed to the viewport with OpenGL (Win/Linux) and Metal (macOS), using multiple visualization modes.
  • Interactive path tracing streamed to the viewport with 3DelightNSI. This works with unlimited threads and does not require a separate installation of 3Delight.
  • Procedural and parallelized rendering streamed with minimal TTFP to Arnold, 3DelightNSI (including 3DelightNSI Cloud), Redshift, Renderman and VRay.
  • Linear, velocity, acceleration, curved and deformation 3D motion blur.
  • Inter-op between Autodesk® Maya® and other USD-ready DCC applications, in particular with SideFX® Houdini Solaris.
  • Generate 3D USDZ assets for Augmented Reality (AR) in iOS and macOS with full lookdev and animation support.
  • Pipeline automation with the new, easy to use, Multiverse Python API.
  • Full support for USD Asset resolution: file-based, ArDefaultResolver or custom resolver.
  • MUSE, the Multiverse Usd Standalone Editor application, which allows for USD files visualization, playback, non-destructive multi-parameter editing, authoring of overrides and compositions via references and much more to come.
  • (*) According to both client and internal testing in comparison with other software tools.

Since 2015, Multiverse is being used worldwide by an increasing number of customers working on high-profile content such as Hollywood feature film productions, Original TV Series by Netflix, Amazon, HBO, Apple, elaborate TV commercials and much more:

Feature Highlights

WRITE MAYA DATA TO USD

Multiverse allows to quickly and easily write static or animated Maya data as USD "assets" to be later read in Maya by Multiverse or for inter-op with Houdini / Solaris and other DCC Apps that support native USD. Write a large variety of Maya primitives such as poly mesh, subdivisions with support for subdiv creases, blend shapes, texture references, transforms, curves, particles, skeletons, cameras, lights, hierarchies, properties, proxies & guides (via the Multiverse Set node), instances and point instancing. It is also possible to write custom attribute, both Maya-typed and USD-types, with full support for animation.

READ USD (and ABC) IN MAYA

Static or animated USD data is instantly read into Maya via the highly optimized "Multiverse Compounds" nodes (Alembic files are read through the USD API). Polygon meshes, subdivision surfaces, points/particles, curves (fur/hair/paintfx/nurbs), skeletons are all supported. Additionally file-per-frame sequences of USD (and ABC) are supported via USD Clips. Data is always interpolated between frames, with re-timing and looping controls.

USD DATA IMPORTER

Multiverse allows for importing USD data as Maya data from a loaded Compound: importer functionalities are available in the MEOW interface and support polygon meshes, transforms and cameras. Imported data is fed from a Multiverse compound preserving animation and changes to the resulting Maya objects can be written back to USD as sparse overrides. Additionally sparse overrides written from an imported objects can be automatically added as a new layer into the original Compound node allowing for a full data "round trip" from Maya (or other DCC) to USD, back to Maya, and back again to USD.

WRITE USD COMPOSITIONS

With Multiverse you can organize static or animated USD data into new hierarchies made of Multiverse Compound nodes and Maya transform nodes (groups). These can be written out as a single USD file, called a USD "composition". Compositions can be further re-organized and rewritten over and over with their content being (lazily) referenced. This guarantees a completely non-destructive pipeline: users can update individual USD files in parallel while they are used: simply refresh a Multiverse Compound to update.

EXPLORE & OVERRIDE USD WITH MEOW

Explore & override the content of Multiverse Compound assets and compositions via the MEOW UI, a high performance hierarchical tree graph matching the structure of any USD file, such as the ones written by Multiverse Write Asset/Composition, Solaris USD_ROP. MEOW can instantly display very complex hierarchies of items, and allow to override at any point material assignment, transformations, attributes, variants and visibility. Overrides are inherited to children items (if not further overridden).

MUSE (Alpha)

MUSE is the "Multiverse Usd Standalone Editor", a brand new software application that allows users to open and interactively visualize any USD assets and compositions without the need for a DCC application. The aim of MUSE is to provide a fast and non-destructive multi-editing of attributes in a USD file, adding references to other USD files, write USD overrides and write USD compositions with overrides. To know more read the MUSE FAQ.

WRITE OVERRIDES TO USD

Static or animated overrides set in MEOW can be either saved in the current Maya scene, or written out by Multiverse as USD "override". Overrides can be then "layered" on their respective Compound, with the option of automatically sync a Compound by creating a new layer for the overrides that were written. Layers can also be consolidated directly from the Compound UI. Finally USD attributes and USD variants can be authored also on Compounds via MEOW.

USD LAYERING

Just like you can stack 2D pixel layers in Photoshop, you can layer 3D USD data in Multiverse Compounds nodes. When layering you will override sparse changes as primitives and properties in a top-down fashion. Layering grants an efficient pipeline where departments can work on separate data and re-composed at please. Typical layering examples are: add/update UVs to a geometry, override a T-pose model topology with animated points, add material assignments (layering does not break pre-existing material assignments, and you can layer further material assignments), add/update geometry to an existing hierarchy, add/update normals etc. Overrides can also be synced on writing, and Compounds can be consolidated directly from their UI.

USD VARIANTS

With Multiverse you have at your disposal a novel, comprehensive and production-ready, support for USD Variants in Maya. This allows users to easily and efficiently author, edit, write, select, override and render both hierarchy-based & attribute-based variations (with support for animated attributes), whether originating from Maya data or from USD data encapsulated in Multiverse Compounds. Read more about it on the relative Variants Documentation.

INSTANCING & POINT INSTANCING

Multiverse offers complete write & read abilities of USD point instancing as well as regular instancing. Maya "duplicate as instance" are written as instances, while Maya instancer, particle instancer and MASH instancer are written as the efficient USD point instances. Additionally any type of Houdini instancing can be read: USD packed instancing, packed instancing and duplicates.

DISPLAY COLOR, MATERIAL ASSIGNMENT & OVERRIDE

Multiverse offers a complete, intuitive and extremely fast look-development workflow. Viewport display color and rendering material assignment can be written to USD independently, and read back later. Layering combined with namespace selection allows for fast switch between different render engines and/or different looks. MEOW offers ultimate, fine-grained, material assignment and namespace attribute overrides on selective hierarchy items, with inheritance support. Everything is resolved procedurally at render-time.

HYDRA VIEWPORT RENDERING

Everything is streamed into Hydra-powered viewports, delivering high FPS for drawing, manipulation and playback. Multiverse provides the Storm Hydra OpenGL viewport and the Hydra NSI path traced viewport. The user can also strategically "hot-swap" various viewport drawing modes to scale scene complexity beyond physical memory limits: this keeps Maya scenes light-weight, faster to open & render.

NATIVE APPLE METAL HYDRA VIEWPORT

Exclusively on macOS, Multiverse leverages on Metal, the low-level, low-overhead, streamlined hardware-accelerated 3D graphic API by Apple. This enables Multiverse's Hydra-powered "Storm" viewport to deliver even higher performance, FPS for drawing, interactive manipulation and playback on macOS devices.

HYDRA VIEWPORT: STORM

Stream all Multiverse Compounds into the viewport using the customized Multiverse Storm Hydra viewport render delegate. Any other Maya geometry will co-exist in the viewport and will be rendered by Maya VP2. Storm relies on modern rasterizaton, consolidation and culling techniques using OpenGL (Windows/Linux) and Apple Metal (macOS) GPU acceleration and provides very fast, high FPS playback, thumbling and in general very high performance in the viewport.

HYDRA VIEWPORT: NSI

Stream all Multiverse Compounds into the viewport using the 3DelightNSI Hydra viewport render delegate. Any other Maya geometry will co-exist in the viewport and will be rendered by Maya VP2. NSI relies on state of the art path tracing using the 3Delight offline rendering library and provides very fast, progressive path tracing in the viewport. It is in general slower at playback than Storm, but it can scale to nearly unlimited scene complexity thanks to the benefits of path tracing over rasterization.

INTER-OPERATE WITH HOUDINI & SOLARIS

Inter-operate meshes, subdivisions, curves, points, cameras and attributes between Maya and Houdini / Solaris bi-directionally. Modeling & animation data can be efficiently written from Maya® and read in Houdini for simulations. Fractures, liquid, particle simulations, instancing, variations can be written out from Houdini as single-file or file-per-frame and then brought back into Maya for final layout look-development, lighting and rendering with topology-varying velocity and acceleration motion blur in both 3DelightNSI, Arnold, Redshift, Renderman and VRay.

PROCEDURAL RENDERING WITH 3DELIGHT NSI

Multiverse constructs the scene and streams it to the 3DelightNSI offline path tracer in a multi-threaded and procedural fashion. This enables Maya to talk directly with 3DelightNSI minimizing time to first pixel. Assignments and overrides are hierarchical and thus inherited, as well as procedurally resolved at render-time. Full supports for velocity, acceleration, linear, curved and deformation 3D motion blur.

3DELIGHT NSI CLOUD

Multiverse seamlessly works with 3DelightNSI Cloud: now users are enabled to interactively — and directly from the Maya UI — render images using thousands of cores and animation using millions of cores! Be ready for a new era in rendering performance where processing is unlikely to be the limiting factor to obtain quick renders: it will be simply your internet connection.

PROCEDURAL RENDERING WITH ARNOLD

Multiverse constructs the scene and streams it to the Arnold offline path tracer in a multi-threaded and procedural fashion. This enables Maya to talk directly with Arnold minimizing time to first pixel. Assignments and overrides are hierarchical and thus inherited, as well as procedurally resolved at render-time. Full supports for velocity, acceleration, linear, curved and deformation 3D motion blur.

PROCEDURAL RENDERING WITH REDSHIFT

Multiverse constructs the scene and streams it to the Redshift GPU renderer in a multi-threaded and procedural fashion. This enables Maya to talk directly with Redshift minimizing time to first pixel. Assignments and overrides are hierarchical and thus inherited, as well as procedurally resolved at render-time. Full supports for velocity, acceleration, linear, curved and deformation 3D motion blur.

PROCEDURAL RENDERING WITH RENDERMAN

Multiverse constructs the scene and streams it to the Renderman offline path tracer in a multi-threaded and procedural fashion. This enables Maya to talk directly with Renderman minimizing time to first pixel. Assignments and overrides are hierarchical and thus inherited, as well as procedurally resolved at render-time. Full supports for velocity, acceleration, linear, curved and deformation 3D motion blur.

PROCEDURAL RENDERING WITH VRAY

Multiverse constructs the scene and streams it to the VRay offline path tracer in a multi-threaded and procedural fashion. This enables Maya to talk directly with VRay minimizing time to first pixel. Assignments and overrides are hierarchical and thus inherited, as well as procedurally resolved at render-time. Full supports for velocity, acceleration, linear, curved and deformation 3D motion blur.

COMMAND LINE RENDERING

Thanks to Multiverse multi-threaded scene construction and procedural rendering architecture, generating renderer-specific formats, such as Arnold .ass, 3DelightNSI .nsi (including 3DelightNSI Cloud), Renderman .rib and VRay .vrscene, is incredibly fast and results in extremely light-weight files per frame. This allows to completely avoid rendering via Maya Batch, and instead exploit the full potential of command line rendering. Thanks to Multiverse, you can measure an average of 10X faster time-to-first-pixel, depending on how many threads your CPUs supports.

MULTIVERSE PYTHON API

Multiverse ships with a Python API that is straightforward to use and integrate, abstracting the complexity and vastness of the USD APIs. Every operation that you can do from the GUI can be done with the Python API: this allows for easy pipeline automation for any artist because it does not require to learn the vast set of USD APIs and their inherent complexities. Read more on the development documentation.

ASSET RESOLVER

Multiverse fully support USD asset resolution: this feature is useful for users and organizations which rely on a more structured pipeline. Along with the legacy file-based approach, you can choose to have Multiverse resolve asset paths using the `ArDefaultResolver` plug-in or provide your own custom resolver. See the asset resolution documentation for more details.

SKELETON WORKFLOW FOR MOCAP & CROWDS
Skel Icon

With Multiverse you can "bind" USD skeleton animation to compatible USD skinned static assets in an artist-friendly manner, directly from MEOW. Skeleton animation USD data can come from 3rd party Mo-Cap applications such as Vicon Shogun, or can be generated with Multiverse, for example by loading FBX data from Mixamo in Maya and Multiverse Write as USD data. The resulting USD compositions can be exchanged with Houdini Solaris for crowd workflows, as well as output to USDZ to preview in macOS and IOS, facilitating preview work in production. The Multiverse Python API provides a skel utility module to facilitate these tasks.

OUTPUT USDZ AR 3D ASSETS (IOS / MACOS)
AR Icon

Multiverse allows to generate USDZ 3D asset files directly out from Maya for Augmented Reality (AR) purposes. It supports polygon meshes, subdivisions, animated transformations together with PBR textures to define the look of objects in a realistic manner. Setup your lookdev in Maya using the "Stingray PBS" material and use Multiverse to write USDZ assets. You will be able to obtain matching look straight in a compatible Apple device with iOS and macOS. To know more follow our documentation.